LACONIA — Irene Barninger, 101, passed away quietly in her sleep on Jan. 30, 2020, at the Ledgeview Taylor Home.
Irene was born Irena Lutz in Hyde Park, Massachusetts, on May 18, 1918, to Catherine and Wilhelm Lutz. She was the sibling of a younger sister, Sue Knowles, and brother B. Frank Lutz, as well as the half-sister of Jan, Mickey, and Henry Majcher, from a first marriage.
Irene lived in Norwood for many years with her family and graduated from Norwood High School. After high school, she went to Gillis School of Business for a year. Upon completion, she worked for Mass Eye and Ear as a cashier and was later promoted to head cashier.
In 1942, she met her husband, Charles Barninger Jr., who was a handsome sailor, and they were married in 1944. Soon after, they both moved to Laconia, and were subsequently followed by her sisters, Sue, Jan and their mother. Irene was known to her family as Lu or “auntie” Lu ever since the sisters gave each other nicknames from a radio show they all listened to.
Charles and “Lu” owned a home for many years in Laconia on Gillette Street, and also had land on Lake Waukewan where they set up a very livable camp-like space. For many years, many gatherings for family and friends took place at this lakeside “camp”. The family fondly recalls wonderful experiences boating, swimming, fishing, games, singing, barbecues, and very happy times in her company.
Irene was a career woman, working much of her pre-retirement life as a bookkeeper for many well-known businesses and local firms, including a brief time at Laconia Shoe and part-time for Pepi Herrmann Crystal.
Irene loved and appreciated all of the arts. She was quite a talented artist herself, and produced many canvases using a variety of media. She was a singer with the Sweet Adelines for many years, and participated in ballroom dancing as well. She also enjoyed reading, tennis, and swimming, and was a great cook.
Irene moved to the Taylor Community in 1999, a few years after the passing of her husband. She lived there for 20 years. While living there, she continued to be very active. She was the chair of the Resident Council, served as a volunteer librarian, was an “ambassador” for Taylor guests, and was on the Spelling Bee team which represented Taylor Community in one of the first Lakes Region Scholarship Spelling Bees. She was an avid game-player, and especially loved Rummy Cube.
Irene was fortunate to live for a quite few years in the same “community complex” as both of her sisters, where they all lived into and beyond their 100th year!
She was a great friend to many and was greatly loved in return.
She is survived by her sister, Sue Knowles (who just 5 days previous to Irene’s passing celebrated her 100th birthday, with Irene being present), and is survived by many nieces and nephews, great-nieces and -nephews, and great-great-nieces and -nephews.
There will be a graveside service in the spring at the Sacred Heart Cemetery in Laconia.
For those who wish, contributions in Irene’s name may be made to the Taylor Community Sunshine Fund, 435 Union Avenue, Laconia, NH 03246.
Wilkinson-Beane-Simoneau-Paquette Funeral Home & Cremation Services, 164 Pleasant St., Laconia, is assisting the family with the arrangements. For more information and to view an online memorial, go to www.wilkinsonbeane.com.