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Irene Rebecca Ford was born on January 14, 1933 in Hartley, Delaware to the late Annie Kilson Ford and William Ford formerly of South Carolina. Irene was the youngest of this blended family of 5 brothers and 1 sister. Irene’s father deceased when she was a youth of 8 years old so her older siblings stepped in to assist with raising and supporting her alongside their God-fearing and hard working mother. Irene’s brothers, particularly Lloyd and Floyd made enormous sacrifices with their own lives to ensure their baby sister’s social and educational needs were met. Their efforts paid off as Irene excelled academically and became a well-rounded and poised young woman with goals of raising a family and contributing to her community in a positive and kind hearted manner. All of Irene’s siblings preceded her in death.
As an older teen, Irene caught the attention of a fellow church-goer, the late Charles Leroy Minus Sr of Dover, DE who courted her before volunteering for a tour with the U.S. Marine Corps during the Korean War Era. When Corporal Minus returned home in 1954, he and Irene were joined in marriage on April 16, 1954 in Dover, Delaware. Irene, affectionately referred to as “Honey” by her husband was the absolute joy of his life. He would do anything in his power or ability to make Irene happy or satisfied. Although Leroy preferred the country life he gave into Irene’s desire to relocate to a more stylish or urban environment which they sought out to with a move to Philadelphia with their firstborn Charlene aka Cookie, who was laid to rest January 31, 2022.
During their early years of marriage Mr. & Mrs. Minus went on to conceive and parent 10 additional children; one son Christopher deceased after 3 weeks of birth. As a mother, Irene had a passion for education and reading in particular so the importance of parent as first teacher principle was fulfilled with a humble and quiet enthusiasm as was her disposition. She took great pride in the academic accomplishments of all her children from grade school to college and universities all over the country. As a stay-at-home mom for years Irene dedicated herself primarily to child and home care activities, but, Ms. Irene was also involved in community activities that impacted not only her children but her neighbors’ and she treasured being a block mom who often made room for others at her table or on family trips.
While in Philadelphia, Irene kept a busy schedule in addition to raising 10 children, she added to her duties active membership with Macedonia FW Baptist Church where she remained for over 60 years; serving under the stewardship of Pastor Gary Dunlap for over 20 years. Her ministry activities and roles included Usher, Deaconess, Program Chairwoman , Church Mother and all around sweet encourager. Church service and fellowship were intimately important to Mrs. Irene; who made certain that her children maintained regular church attendance and instilled the importance of trusting God and serving others. The seeds planted by mother have inspired her children to serve the body of Christ in the capacities of pastor, deacon, elder, minister, trustee, missionary and many other roles.
Mom Minus exemplified the essence of the Proverbs 31 Woman with her dedication to God, family and home, and her labor has not been in vain. Once her youngest children reached high school age Mrs. Minus expanded her work as a Public School Reading Aide and completed a 15 year career as a School District Home & School Coordinator. She managed several entrepreneurial ventures. Just a few past positions include: Restaurant Hostess, Clothing Sales, Jewelry Sales Rep, Seamstress and even the Water Ice Lady. Her dedication to education, self improvement and service to others has been inspiring for all her children and grands to excel in various university, military, government and technical careers all over the country and around the world.
During her fifty years of marriage Mrs. Minus continued along with her husband to guide and support her children and took joy in watching their family legacy expand to include 4 son’s in-law, 2 daughter’s in-law and upwards to some 60 grand and great grand children. Dubbed “Queen Irene the Serene” by us who witnessed, admired and esteemed her gentle, nurturing and loving manner. Our matriarch was a determined and strong servant who praised God in her last days —we celebrate her life and legacy and pray for her eternal rest with God.
Irene leaves behind to cherish her legacy are her children Charles, of Philadelphia, Patricia (Michael) of Newark, DE, Cynthia (Lorenzo) of Philadelphia, Floyd of Philadelphia, Donald (Tojuan) of Dayton Ohio, Bryan (Matt-Louise), of Allentown, Pa, Marianne (Donnell), of College Park, MD, Glenda (Floyd Russell) of Queens, NY, Sabrina of Philadelphia. Irene also leaves behind 27 grand children, 37 great grands and 2 great great grands, one brother - in-law Robert Lindale (Ann) of Illinois, many nieces, nephews, and cousins, and a host of special friends, former neighbors and church family.