Irene Ecker Van Heusen, 95, passed away peacefully on January 28th, 2014, at the Scottsdale Nursing and Rehabilitation facility in Scottsdale, Arizona. She was born Sep. 8, 1918, in the town of Charleston, New York on the farm of her parents, Mildred Chase Ecker and Floyd J. Ecker.
Irene was active in the 4-H Club and graduated third in her class from Fultonville High School in 1936. She enrolled in Gloversville Business School, soon to become a very proficient stenographer, working in Schenectady for the General Electric Company, American Locomotive, and the law firm of Peters, Wemple, Daley, and Pritchard, and the Schenectady Board of Education. She ranked first in the state on the NYS Civil Service exam for legal stenographer in the 1960s, and went on to become secretary for the editor of the NYS Conservationist Magazine, and later for the Dean of the School of Education at SUNY Albany. She was active in cross-country skiing, golf, swimming, and hiking in the Catskills. She also studied piano early in life through a program out of the Sherwood School of Music in Chicago. To broaden her perspective on the world, she took courses such as philosophy, psychology, and sociology at Union College and Schenectady Community College. She was a member of Tabernacle Baptist Church (ABC) in Schenectady, the Eastern Star, the VFW Auxiliary, the YWCA, and the Adirondack Mountain Club.
She was the much beloved mother of Dr. Lawrence Van Heusen of Buffalo, NY, whom she raised alone while working, and was aunt to fourteen nieces and nephews. Her two sisters, Dorothy and Ethel; and her four brothers, Edwin, Kenneth, Milton, and Roy, all predeceased her. Her wartime marriage in 1941 to the late Lewis John Van Heusen of Gloversville, New York was annulled in 1949.
The deceased will be cremated and a very small portion of her ashes will be scattered by her son from a boat on the Ganges River in Varanasi, India on the evening of March 18th, during the "aarti" prayer service conducted by five local priests. Her remaining ashes will be blessed in a Christian service in early May at the Samaritan Funeral Home, 1505 East McDowell Road, Phoenix AZ. Call the home at 602-716-5600 after March 1st, for details. Her remains will then be taken to the Ferndale Cemetery in Johnstown, NY for burial near her family of origin on August 15th, during the Ecker Reunion. Donations in her loving memory may be made to The School of Music, Schenectady County Community College, 78 Washington Avenue, Schenectady, New York 12305.