Irene Katherine (Purviance) Cordes, 93, of Centerville, passed away Saturday, June 15, 2013 at the Continental at St. Joseph’s in Centerville.
She was born April 26, 1920 in Springdale, the daughter of James Thornton Purviance and Jennie Catherine (Foresman) Purviance. Irene was the third of seven children, growing up on a farm near Tipton. She graduated from Tipton High School in 1937.
The family moved to Harris, after her graduation in 1937, where her father had an implement and then a feed and farm supply store. Irene worked in Sioux City to help the family.
Life was not all work; she loved to dance, winning a Jitterbug Dance Contest at the Roof Garden in Arnolds Park. In 1941 she met her future husband, Stanley Anton Cordes, at a dance in Sioux Valley, Minn. Stanley was already enlisted in the military and shortly after they met, September of 1941, he was sent to Alaska. He was on duty in the Aleutian Islands when Pearl Harbor was attacked, and the courtship was one of letters. After Stanley was stationed in Texas, he was able to come home on leave. They were married on Oct. 18, 1944 in Harris. When Stanley was discharged from the army, the couple lived briefly in Omaha, Neb. and Rock Island, Ill. where they worked at Martin Bomber and the Rock Island Arsenal.
After the war they moved to Sioux Falls, S.D. to work. It was there that Catherine Ellen Cordes was born on April 1, 1952. Irene always wanted to be a teacher and attended Sioux Falls College, graduating in 1957. She started teaching in her home town of Harris, and taught third grade for 19 years. Irene and Stanley moved to Sioux Falls, S.D. in 1988, and lived there until he died in 2005. Irene then moved to Centerville.
Irene was active in the Harris United Methodist Church and a member of Delta Kappa Gamma. To her, the most important activities involved family. She enjoyed helping her parents, going fishing with parents, siblings and kids, picnics, and playing cards and board games with her family and friends. She loved her daughter and grandchildren and made encouraging and supporting education a priority.