Irene Dean

Obituary of Irene Dean

May 20, 1925 – Toronto, Ontario

May 22, 2023 - Calgary, Alberta


Irene Dean, of Calgary, AB, passed away on Monday, May 22, 2023, at the age of 98 years.


Irene was born in Toronto, ON, on May 20, 1925, and always loved the city. It was “home” where she was surrounded by friends and extended family and always felt valued and loved. Fate, however, had different plans, and with a health crisis upon her, she moved to Calgary, AB, in 2016, to be with her two daughters, her grandchildren and her great-grandchildren. 


Irene graduated from Toronto Normal School with a First-Class Diploma. Her first school was in Stoney Creek, ON, where, as a 21-year-old first-year teacher, she had a class of 54 students. She returned to Toronto after one year and taught at Howard Public School.


Irene married Wes Mitchell in 1949 and they had two daughters, Anne and Janet. As was the custom at the time, she became a stay-at-home mother and in her new role, continued to be as fun and creative as she had been in the classroom. When her daughters were nine and seven, Irene returned to teaching as one of the original staff members of Princess Margaret Public School in Islington.  As a teacher, Irene received many letters of commendation for the way she organized her classroom, how she enriched curriculum, and how, before it was an accepted practice, she strove to meet the individual needs of her students.


Irene was particularly interested in guidance counselling and the possibility of it beginning in early elementary school. She believed that if potential problems could be addressed early, the outcomes for children at risk could be improved. She took several university courses and qualified in early guidance.


Irene and Wes were married for 30 years before they parted. For several years, Irene lived in her own condo in Mississauga where she demonstrated remarkable talent for interior decorating. Then, in 1985, she met Wilfrid Charles Dean, and they were married in 1986. They were together, happily travelling in their camper van whenever possible, and spending time with friends and family for almost 25 years, until Charles’ death.


Irene was a life-long member of the United Church of Canada, beginning as a teen with First United Church in Port Credit, and joining St. James-Islington United Church in 1960 where she was a member until her death. 


Irene loved golf and, as recently as last year, was on the course. She was a member of a ladies’ golf league - The Swingers, in Mississauga and remained friends with her partners even after she moved west.


Irene is survived by her daughters: Anne  MacQuarrie (Steff Stephansson) and Janet Mackidd (David), all of Calgary; sons of her heart, Douglas Dean of Ottawa, and Monte Dean of Toronto; her grandchildren: Kyle MacQuarrie (Sonya), Kate MacQuarrie, Stuart MacQuarrie, Stephen Mackidd (Kathleen Phelan), Krista Mackidd Pardoe (Thom), all of Calgary;  Jessica Thomson (Andrew) and Hannah Dean of Ottawa; and her great-grandchildren: Megan, Emma, Josianne, James, Bronwyn, Rhys, Sophie, Ollie, Elliott, Ruby, Avery, Che and Atticus, and Lukas and Lorelei. Irene is also survived by her nieces and nephews: Vicki Campbell (Doug), Elizabeth Jay (Brian), Ian Peck (Stephanie), Darren Owens (Sandra); her great-nephews and great-nieces: Natalie and Alaina, Johnathan and Alex, Jason and Jenna; her cousin Donalda Cunningham and her children: Barbara (Kirby) Julian, David (Pam) Cunningham, Nancy (Denis) Ouellette, and Bob (Cindy) Cunningham; and Donald (Lesley) and Peter (Debbie) Karges.


Irene was predeceased by her loving husband Charles Dean, sister Marion Peck, brother Jack Owens, son-in-law David MacQuarrie, and dear daughter of her heart Donna Dean.


A Celebration of Irene’s life will be held on Saturday, June 17, 2023, at 2:00 pm, at Fish Creek United Church (77 Deerpoint Road SE, Calgary, AB T2J 6W5)


Condolences, memories, and photos may be shared and viewed at


In living memory of Irene Dean, a tree will be planted in the Ann & Sandy Cross Conservation Area by McInnis & Holloway Funeral Homes, Deerfoot South, 12281 – 40th Street SE, Calgary, AB T2Z 4E6, Telephone: 403-203-0525.



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