Irene Kinsler Phelps: 1929 – 2008

Life has taken another turn as we are coping with the sudden and unexpected loss of my beloved Mom, soul mate, best friend and inspiration. Known well by many of our friends, Renie has traveled with us to many shows, Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event, Young Horse Championships, Dressage at Devon, even Wiesbaden, Germany. She was healthy and vibrant up until a sudden heart attack quickly took her life Saturday, April 19th. Plans were well underway for a big time surprise 80th birthday bash. We have peace in knowing she had the greatest last day! She worked in the church thrift shop, went out to lunch with friends, saw everyone from church at a visitation for a 96 year old church member, Elizabeth Porter. Then, she went to a dress rehearsal for a community “Dancing with the Stars” where my sister, Nancy was a contestant to scope out the best seats for the competition Saturday night.

We spoke earlier that day and she was so happy. The Kentucky weather was beautiful, the redbuds and dogwoods in bloom, and she was on her deck enjoying the day. We told each other “I love you” several times, and planned for dinner as soon as we arrived home on Sunday. I felt her come through me at the time she died, (we had a deal she would try to do that) and it was a very peaceful happy feeling and helped me to sleep. I could even hear her say, “get some sleep honey, you are going to need your rest.”

She was so excited about the competition my sister was in, and about JJ and me returning to Kentucky from Florida the next day, as well as the new driving pony we had just purchased. We made plans for her to join us at the upcoming The Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event, an annual tradition. She told my sister's dance partner "Tomorrow is going to be the greatest day of my life" and I truly believe it was.

My mother had dedicated her life to service and to her church. As the word has trickled out to our friends they are asking what can they do. We have established two very special funds in her name. Our church needs a new piano (Mom was in the choir) and she was on the board of the Lake Cumberland Children’s Advocacy Center, which services several counties in south central Kentucky. My sister Nancy and I hope to carry on the work at this very special place and continue the funding my mother was so passionate about.

Donations in her name can be sent to the
Holy Spirit Catholic Church Music Fund
406 North Main Street,
Jamestown, Kentucky 42629;
and the
Lake Cumberland Children’s Advocacy Center
PO Box 4, Jamestown, Kentucky 42629

I want to thank our wonderful staff, Tracey, Christy, Astrid, Penny, Lynndee, Claudia, Marylou, and Elizabeth for keeping everything moving seamlessly in our absence. And to all our friends, I can't find the words right now, for your support and sympathy. A special thank you to the folks at Longfield Stables at Palmetto Bluff who were so kind and compassionate when we got the news.
DressageDaily's Mary Phelps-Hathaway

Renie's Obituary

Irene (Renie) Kinsler Phelps, 79, died in the early morning Saturday, April 19. A Jamestown resident since 1989, she was married to Russell County native, Dr. M.D. Phelps, Jr. who predeceased her in 1999. Born in Philadelphia, Pa., February 27, 1929, she is survived by five children: Mary Phelps-Hathaway, Columbia, Ky.; Mark Douglas Phelps, Basking Ridge, N.J.; Nancy Jane Phelps, Jamestown, Ky.; John Kinsler Phelps, Shady Side, Md.; Matthew William Lucas Phelps, Groton, Mass., and five grandchildren. Mrs. Phelps, a registered nurse, had worked at Milton Academy, in Milton Massachussetts, as well as several years in the visitng nurse program. She lived in Europe and traveled the world, having fulfilled a lifelong dream by visiting the Holy Land in recent years; and vacationing in the Caymen Islands this spring with her two daughters, Mary and Nancy. She was well known as an active member of the Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Jamestown, where she sang in the choir. She also volunteered at the church thrift shop, and had served many years at God's Food Pantry. Renie was also an active member of the Red Hat Society.

Daughter Nancy wrote: “Her loving, fun spirit will live on in so many people whose lives she touched. She truly was a selfless woman who cared so greatly for others and lived her entire life of service. Her love for her children, grandchildren and many friends was unconditional in every way.”

Visitation will be Tuesday, April 22 at the Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Jamestown from 5 pm to 8 pm. Funeral services will be conducted at the church Wednesday, April 23, at 11 am, with burial to follow at the Phelps Family Cemetery, and as Renie requested a party at her home. Donations in her name can be sent to the Holy Spirit Catholic Church Music Fund – 406 North Main Street, Jamestown, Kentucky 42629; and the Lake Cumberland Children’s Advocacy Center – PO Box 4, Jamestown, Kentucky 42629 where she was a member of the board of directors.