Irene J. (Pritchard) Weltman, age 96, of Anaheim, California, formerly of the El Dorado Springs area, passed away at her home on Sunday, April 20, 2014. Irene was born July 15, 1917, to Vesta and Guy Pritchard in rural St. Clair County near Roscoe, Mo. She grew up on the family farm on the Sac River and attended Riverview School before graduating from El Dorado Springs High School. She lived in town during the school year owing to the poor condition of the roads. She loved riding horses with her cousins Opal and Wanda Venter who grew up on the adjoining Venter farm. She and Opal showed an early interest in business affairs by cutting down Christmas trees on the farm and selling them in Kansas City with the assistance of her cousin, Ernest Venter. She was active in her church for the duration of her life and maintained an active interest in the local Riverview Church located near the farm.
She moved to Kansas City, MO, where she met and married Victor Weltman in 1939. They lived in Kansas City until moving to Anaheim, California, in 1954. She worked for Boeing Corporation for the rest of her career and garnered many awards while there. She and Vic returned often to the Sac River farm, making the 1,600 mile trip by car until they were well into their 80's. She was a very successful businesswoman and retained an active interest in the management of the family farm into her 90's when declining health issues intervened. She maintained an active interest in animal welfare and had a special interest in birds, writing an instruction pamphlet on how to teach a parakeet to talk. The parrot that you see pictured was an important member of their family for 25 years. She and Vic were close friends with their neighbors, Bill and Sandi Southam, who helped care for her as her health began to decline following Vic's death in 2002.
Irene is survived by Ernest Venter of Rogersville, Mo., Wanda Venter Decker of El Dorado Springs, Mo., Linda Venter Birk of El Dorado Springs, Mo., Dr. John Venter of Joplin, Mo., Linda Pritchard Leonard of Springfield, Mo, and Marty Weltman of Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Funeral services for Irene Weltman will be Saturday, May 3, 2014, at 11:00 a.m. at Bland-Hackleman Funeral Home. The family will receive friends from 10:00 a.m. until service time. Rev. Brent Bland will officiate and JoAnne Alexander will provide music. Burial will follow in Love Cemetery under the direction of Bland-Hackleman Funeral Home.