Obituary for Irene Eva Brown Lane (Hebert)
In Honor of Irene Brown Lane
Born Irene Eva Hebert
Her name was Irene which means peace. She was a creative spirit and skilled artisan who delighted in being surrounded by vibrant colors, varieties of yarn and her needlework.
Irene was a born in Chicago, Illinois to Ollie and Evie Hebert on September 4, 1929. She graduated in 1947 from Lucy Flower Technical High School in Chicago. From there she attended the University of Illinois in Urbana for two years where she pledged the Delta Sigma Theta sorority. She completed her education at Roosevelt University in Chicago where she graduated with honors with a degree in Sociology and an Education Minor.
Growing up in Chicago, she attended Woodlawn African Methodist Episcopal Church every Sunday with her family. In her younger years, she joined a club at the local YMCA organized by her older sister Mae Rose (Pat) called the Gay Misses. It was here that she learned tap dancing and was introduced to the wonderful world of knitting, which continued to be her lifelong passion. She participated in the Little Women cotillions and became a debutante.
In her teen years, Irene worked as a secretary for Bluebird Phonograph, founded and owned by her father. She also worked at Montgomery Ward and Carson Pirie Scott Department store doing sales, sewing alterations, packing and shipping, doing sales and sewing alterations, packing and shipping. While attending high school, she entered the world of pageants. By the time she was 20 she was crowned Miss Bronze Chicago.
In the 1960’s, she expanded her artistic talents into the world of weaving, even purchasing a loom while continuing to pursue needlework and knitting with the addition of crocheting and sewing. Her creations included blankets, Rya rugs, stoles, scarves, and sweaters. She and several friends opened Fabyar, a fabric and yarn store located in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago. In the 1970’s, she entered the arena of photography, taking classes at the New School in New York City’s Greenwich Village. She turned her kitchen into a darkroom, entranced by the magic of seeing images form in the darkroom fluid. She created poignant photographs, using family and friends as her models.
Irene worked as a caseworker for Child Protective Services of the Cook County Department of Public Aid in the 1950s, rescuing neglected children. In 1968, she and husband Hugh relocated their family to Hartsdale, New York. Here she continued in the social work field at the Hale House. Under the leadership of founder and director Clara Hale, she worked with infants born addicted to heroin. She later worked as a realtor, and finally as a secretary for the Greenburgh Central 7 School District from which she retired in 1995. More recently Irene lived in East Lansing, Michigan.
Irene was a longtime member of Union Baptist Church in Greenburgh, New York where she was baptized and loved listening to their gospel choir. In her retirement years she enjoyed traveling worldwide, including China, Egypt, South Africa, and Hawaii. She also loved attending Broadway plays and playing bridge with friends. Irene was at home wherever there was laughter, and her distinctive laugh stood out above the rest. As long as she had her knitting needles, her t.v. shows, a can of Planter’s mixed nuts, and something to satisfy her sweet tooth, she was a happy camper. As she would say, “When I die, at least I’ll die happy!”
From Irene’s marriages to Oscar Brown Jr., Hugh Webb Lane, and Jack Calhoun Jr., she is survived by her sons Napoleon Brown and Byron P. Lane; her daughters Donna S. Kane, Karen P. Hunt and Norma J. James; her three sons-in-law Mickey Kane, Nathan L. James and Nathan Hunt; her daughter-in-law A. Michelle Lane; step sons Randy Calhoune and Eric Calhoune; 11 grandchildren, and 8 great grandchildren.
The Entire Staff of Lee's Funeral Home, LLC respects that the family of Irene Lane entrusted the care of their loved one to us, and that they value the level of service & attention our funeral home provides. We are honored, in turn, to provide comfort, assistance and service to the family of Irene Lane during their time of bereavement.
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority
University Of Illinois
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