Irene Pickens

July 24, 1929 ‒ January 25, 2021

Sanford, Florida
Formerly of Mansfield, Ohio

MANSFIELD:  Irene Pickens delighted in the goodness of God’s creation, and like her favored hummingbirds, exuded beauty and joy. Irene passed into the Lord’s care Monday, January 25, 2021, from Central Florida Regional Hospital in Sanford, FL. She was 91.

Born Myrtle Irene Sipes July 24, 1929, in Martin County, Indiana, to parents Ray and Inez (Melton) Sipes, Irene worked at Crane Naval Ammunition Depot, Crane, IN, during WWII, where she met Gene Edward Pickens, Sr., the love of her life. Married on May 27, 1946, they were blessed with five children. In addition to raising her family, Irene worked as toy department and stock room manager at the former WT Grant Co. in the Appleseed Center and served as a local Avon lady to her friends and neighbors.

Irene was a member of Berean Baptist Church where she sang in the choir, helped serve funeral dinners, and was active with the Cornerstone Sunday school class and Berean Gold. She formerly attended First Church of God in Ontario where she taught Sunday school, serving as Sunday school superintendent. She was more recently a member of Central Baptist Church in Sanford, FL.

As a member of the “Pickens Trio” – a Gospel group with sisters-in-law Peggy Ludwig and Faith Ann Pickens – Irene sang second soprano.

An avid reader – especially inspirational fiction – she enjoyed crafting, quilting and sewing, flower gardening, and journaling. Every spring while she was able, Irene set off into the woods near her Possum Run Valley home and hunted for mushrooms with her family, always competing to find the first, biggest, or most morels along the way.

She will be remembered for her generous spirit – she was so kind and loving – and for her laugh that was really more of a giggle. A wonderful mother and grandmother, Irene poured love into her famous blueberry pies and enjoyed playing Phase 10 and dominoes with friends and family – though she could be quite merciless!

Irene is survived by her children Linda (Bob) Miller of Sanford, FL, Ed (Deb) Pickens of Mansfield, Dennis (Barbara) Pickens of Green Valley, AZ, Mary Moore of Crestline, and Bob (Adriana) Pickens of Aurora, IL; 13 grandchildren; 18 great-grandchildren and one on the way; eight great-great-grandchildren; half-brother Wendell (Beverly) Sellers of Columbus, IN, half-sisters Pauline Enkoff of Marshall, IL, Kathie (Mick) Flood of Mount Carmel, IL, and Mary (Kerry) Veach of Bartlesville, OK; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Her husband Gene Edward Pickens, Sr., preceded her in death on November 11, 2002. Also deceased are her brother Leon Sipes, a sister Rosemarie Sipes; half-brothers John Sellers and Thomas Sellers; a son-in-law, Arthur Moore; and a grandson, Mickey Moore.

Irene’s funeral service will be live-streamed on the Lexington Avenue Snyder Funeral Home Facebook page and all are encouraged to attend in this way. The Pickens family will hold a service for family on Saturday, February 6, 2021, with socially distanced fellowship from 10 to 11 a.m. at Berean Baptist Church, 2145 Middle Bellville Road, Mansfield. Her funeral service will immediately follow at 11 a.m. in the chapel with Pastor Bill Heaton officiating. Face coverings are required. Burial will follow in Lexington Cemetery.

Click here to watch Irene’s funeral service live on Facebook Saturday morning.  Note: please click “interested” or “going” to receive a notification when we are live. 


Contributions in her memory to either Faith Sunday School Class of Central Baptist Church, Sanford, FL or the Deacon Fund of Berean Baptist Church, Mansfield, OH, may be made through the funeral home – Snyder Funeral Home, P.O. BOX 3085, Mansfield, OH 44904.

Snyder Funeral Home is honored to serve the Pickens family. Share a memory – and word of support – with them, and watch Irene’s tribute video online at:

  • To all the Pickens family,
    Irene was a good neighbor for many years and a good friend on Facebook. She will be missed…
    Ginny Muntan

  • What a wonderful person Aunt Irene was. She will be greatly missed. We are praying for the family and Although I will not be able to attend the service in person please know you all will be in my prayers.

  • I loved playing Mexican Train Dominoes to hear her laughter at Wendell’s and Beverly’s in Indiana.

    • Aunt Mary,
      Oh how I remember that trip! We had such a good time and mom loved to go out and visit with her sisters and brothers.

  • I feel very honored to have known Irene these past several years. One of the kindest, gentlest, most wonderful women I’ve ever met. She could always make me smile. Her great-grandson, Samuel, adored her. And I never beat her at Phase 10 no matter how hard I tried.
    Demrie “DD” Alonzo

    • Thanks Demrie!

      Mom was so surprised when Sam showed up at her 90th birthday party in FL.
      We will all have to carry on The Phase 10 card playing❤

  • Mary, Ed, Dennis, Linda, Bob and all of your families. You certainly have my deepest sympathy. Your Mom was a special lady. Always so loving and kind. You will be in my thoughts and prayers.

  • Linda, Ed, Dennis, Mary and Bob. Wonderful childhood memories of your momma. Sending my love to you all. God Bless 🌹

  • I loved talking family history w/Irene and I loved her stuffed green peppers.
    Sisters Polly, Mary, me, our spouses and children savored a visit w/ her and Gene
    in the 80’s where much laughter, discussion and occasional hilarity rang out.
    These same precious moments happened as well when we were together at times
    w/Linda, Ed, Bob, Dennis, Mary, and Bob. She was so proud of her children and their families. What larks!

    • Kathie, thanks for all your kind thoughts! We did have some fun and good times, didn’t we? Love you guys.

    • Thanks Aunt Kathie, I’m so glad we were able to take those trips the last few years, she really enjoyed seeing everyone and of course playing games!

    • Thanks Kathy. When the tribute video comes available, I posted a picture of the whole group of us when we had Mom’s 75th birthday in Shoals at the hunting cabin. Great time.

  • Linda, Ed, Dennis, Mary, & Bob,
    I’m so very sorry for your loss. She was such a sweet lady!
    Such great memories of our families on Trease Rd! I always loved seeing your Mom at Church and our little chats. I will miss her yearly Christmas letters too! I always looked forward to that.
    RIP my dear friend!
    Deb Peterson Smith

  • Heartfelt condolences to the Pickens family ♥️ You all were so lucky to have such a wonderful lady in your lives for so many wonderful years. Will miss our connection on Facebook. It was great fun to share jokes and good times with her.

    • Thank you Becky And Pierre,
      Sometimes I would Have people laugh when they heard that my 91 year-old mother was on Facebook! She was on a lot more than I was and kept me informed ❤

    • Thanks Becky & Pierre! I hope that all is well with you and your families. It has been a while since we have chatted. I don’t do Facebook.

  • Marty and I send our deepest sympathy to the entire Pickens Family. We pray your fond memories will help console you through your grief.

  • Dear Pickens Families, Your momma was one of the great ones. Sincere sympathy and condolences. So wonderful that you have each other to lean on.

  • I worked with Irene at WT Grant Co.,along with Helene Baker. We got together several times through the years for lunch, before she moved to Fla. Helen passed away this year too. I will miss them both very much. I always enjoyed getting Christmas cards from Irene,along with her annual letters. Irene taught me the job of stockroom manager before she left and I will always hold her in my memories as one of the Grant Girls. She was a special lady.

  • Dear Pickens family: My condolences to you. I have quite a few fond memories of riding my bike all the way on Trease road to play with my friend Denny and your sibs! I remember your mom well- she was so sweet. Where did the years go?! Jack King

    • Wow, Jack. Good to hear from you! My, did time go by. We had some good times, didn’t we? Thanks for your condolence.

  • Ed, Linda, Dennis, Mary, Bob, and Families
    We are so very sorry to hear about your mom’s passing. It’s never easy to lose a parent, it always seems they will be around forever. We fondly remember her party at the ‘Great Fire Circle’ on top of the hill. It was special for us to see your family having so much fun celebrating her birthday. She was truly a gracious lady. Hopefully knowing your friends and family are keeping you close to their hearts is a comfort.
    With love,
    Stan and Diana Butts

    • Thank you! We surely had a wonderful time at the campfire and celebrating with her and all of the family❤

  • Irene was my big sister as she was the oldest sibling
    I LOVED and APPRECIATED her VERY MUCH. She certainly had love in her heart and was always willing to share that love.

  • I just watched the Memory video. It was awesome! How can you possibly portray all those who came and went during Irene’s long sojourn here on Earth. You kids did a great job in giving honor to a great lady.
    Love to you all!

    • Thanks Aunt Mary! I think of it as more of a celebration of her life. 91 Years is quite the accomplishment. Stay in contact. We love you toooooooo!

    • Mary,
      After we viewed the video, we remarked that we should have included this and that and that…..
      So many memories.

  • We just watched the video tribute and what a great life Aunt Irene lived filled with much love and laughter with family and friends. My dad was John Sellers Sr. That is the only picture I have seen of my grandmother (with Irene as a toddler). The video is a wonderful tribute to a very special lady and you have honored your mother very well.
    Our condolences to you all.

    John and Becky Sellers

  • Grandma,

    It is with a very heavy heart that I, your eldest grandchild, say farewell to you. Over the course of my life I was closer to you than to any of my other grandparents, largely because I spent so much more time with you. It was time I deeply treasure to this day, full of wonderful memories, words of wisdom, comfort and guidance, unconditional love, fun games, and lots of laughter. You were everything an exemplary grandma should be and more. Your love for family, caring kindness, selfless generosity, and graciousness of spirit were unsurpassed. I admired the strength and stability of your marriage of 56 years, your sharp mind, the mischievous competitiveness that emerged when you played your favorite games, and most of all the intimate bond you had with my mom. If anyone could point to a mother-daughter relationship that most closely resembled that of best friends, it would’ve been yours. You were a beautiful soul and I feel a deep sense of gratitude at all you’ve given me in my life, and I’m blessed to have shared time on earth with you for over a half century. Your passing leaves a hole in my heart and our family that will never be filled. In spite of my grief, I’m glad that you’re no longer suffering and are at peace. You will be profoundly missed. Much love forever!


    • Chris, I can attest that she sure loved you too. Also you did a great tribute to her at the service. Thank you very much, you summarized life very well

    • Chris,
      We are all proud of you and we appreciate your beautiful tribute to Mom (aka Grandma). She was special to a lot of people.