Dr. Bilsborrow reports the arrival of a baby girl at the home of Mr. and Mrs. W, B. McNichols, September 5. -Yuma Pioneer.
This baby girl was given the name of Bethel Irene by her parents William Bert (Bert) and Agnes Rhoades MeNichois. She joined four sisters, Vera, Margaret, Nellie and Bertha. Later Wilbert, Albert, Robert, Delbert, and Charlotte joined the family.
Irene, as she was known by family and friends, spent the majority of her growing up years and school years in Yuma County, either in Yuma or Wray. There were short periods that were spent at Benkelman, Nebraska, and Tribune, Kansas.
The family was living in Wray when Irene met Fred H. Oestman at a dance at the Wauneta Hall north of Wray. Irene and Pearl Oestman, Fred’s sister, were friends who went to the dance together. These dances were the main entertainment for the farmers and others around the area.
Irene and Fred were married on January 18, 1936, at the Christian Church parsonage by Reverend Clark Bower with Elmer E. Oestman and Margaret Dorrance as attendants.
Fred and Irene set up housekeeping on the farm just north of the Wauneta Hall. Fred farmed for himself and others while Irene was a homemaker and raised the seven children that were born to this marriage, Larry, Jerry, Bethel, Patricia, Judy, Bob, and Don.
Fred and Irene raised the majority of their food. There was always a big garden, cows and pigs, and of course raising and processing chickens. Since corn was the main crop Fred raised, corn on the cob was another addition to meals during the season.
Irene held all the offices at one time in the Wauneta Community Club and was a member of this club until it was disbanded. Most of the members had moved to Wray before the club was disbanded and these members continued meeting in Wray for several years.
She was also the Wauneta news correspondent for the Wray Gazette for a few years. Since she did not have a telephone in her home she would drive down to Dorthea and Elmer’s home just south and use their phone to gather the news every week.
The family now consisting of Fred, Irene, Bob and Don moved into Wray in the winter of 1964 and lived at 440 Cedar for many years. Before the move to Wray, Irene had started employment at Fanners Café and continued working as a waitress for Farmers and The El Patio for many years.
Irene was a member and officer of the 55 And Over Club and was in charge of the craft fair for many years. She was an avid quilter and made quilts for all her children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, and great- great grandchildren. Wednesdays was the day a group of ladies met at the center to quilt and made numerous quilts for people throughout the years. It was just in the last few years she had to give this up.

Irene’s journey on earth ended peacefully Tuesday evening, July 5th at Melissa Memorial Hospital in Holyoke.

Besides her parents, her siblings that preceded her in death were Vera Aagesen, William Arthur (as a child), Margaret Royal, Nellie Muirheid, Bertha Wages, Wilbert, Robert, and Delbert MeNichols, and baby girl and Buelah, both in infancy. Also preceding her in death was her oldest son, Larry in 1986, and husband, Fred in 2003.
Survivors include her six children: Jerry and wife LaVerne of Denver, Bethel Oestman and husband John Van Metre of Texas, Patricia Oestman of Wray, Judy Oestman of Denver, Bob Oestman of Wray, Don and wife Sharon of Wray, and Ida Oestnian, Larry’s widow, of Banning, California. She has two siblings surviving her who are Albert McNichols of Longmont and Charlotte Simmering of Billings, Montana. There are 15 surviving grandchildren, 22 great grandchildren, several great-great grandchildren, as well as numerous nieces, nephews, a few cousins, and many friends.
A Celebration Of Life will be held on Saturday, July  16th at the Wauneta Community Fire Hall starting at 4 p. a An evening meal will be served followed by a “Hand & Foot” tournament.

Contributions may be made to the Wauneta Fire Department. Cremation was requested. Spellman-Schmidt was in charge of arrangements.