Irene Konkin

Obituary of Irene Agnes Konkin

Irene Agnes (Carss) Konkin August 16, 1923 to January 28, 2016 Irene was born in Kamsack, Saskatchewan to W.B. and Ethel Carss. Her childhood was full of family and friends, trips to Lumsden to spend time with grandparents and cousins, and summers at Madge Lake. Many friendships forged in childhood remained throughout her life. She is predeceased by her parents, her brother Bill, her husband Peter, and many of her lifelong friends. On graduation from high school lrene was awarded the Governor-General’s medal. She attended Queens University in Kingston, Ontario, graduating with a degree in chemistry. Although she was asked to enroll in medicine or to pursue a Masters degree in organic chemistry, she felt she needed to work as her father was overseas fighting in the war. She worked in Port Hope, Ontario for a year with Eldorado Mining & Refining Ltd where she was part of a team working to enrich Uranium 235 in support of the Manhattan Project. In 1946-47, Irene attended the University of Saskatchewan, completing the Certificate in Education program and winning the award for the highest standing. She taught sciences at the Kamsack High School from 1947-49. She married Peter Konkin in 1949. They had three children: Jill, Dan (Leslie Widdifield-Konkin) and Doug (Mary Donlevy-Konkin). She worked on the farm for the next 10 years, returning to teaching in 1958. In 1961, the Konkin family moved to Guelph, Ontario so Peter could study veterinary medicine. While in Guelph, Irene worked in the Chemistry Department of the Ontario Agriculture College. The family returned to Yorkton, Saskatchewan in 1964. Irene taught both in junior and senior high schools and was involved in the management of Peter’s veterinary clinic. Sports were always a part of Irene’s life. Tennis, softball, swimming, golf and curling were all high on the list, especially curling. She enjoyed regular club draws and had fun with her teammates on the bonspiel circuit. She curled into her 80s. Besides being an active curler, Irene became very involved in curling organizations. She served as the President of the Saskatchewan Ladies’ Curling Association, represented Saskatchewan on the Canadian Ladies Curling Association and served on the International Curling Federation as Canadian Ladies representative. She was inducted into the Canadian Curling Hall of Fame as a Builder and the Yorkton Sports Hall of Fame. Irene obtained a pilot’s license as a young adult and came back to flying again later in life. She and Peter piloted together a great deal, including trips to Central America with the Flying Farmers Association. There was lots of other travel: with Peter, with the International Curling Federation, with her children, grandchildren and her friends. This included taking each of her grandchildren (Taylor, Katie, Blaire, David and Colleen) on a trip as they graduated from high school. Irene was game for just about anything and even took up snorkelling in her 70s on a sailing trip in the Caribbean with Jill. Every place held interest for her but her favourite place in the whole world was Madge Lake. She lived there for many years, moving into Saskatoon for the winter about 8 years ago to be closer to Dan and Doug and their families. She continued to spend summers at Madge until this year. Irene was committed to family, friends and community. Her interests were broad. She was involved in Guides and Brownies, was an active member of the Order of the Eastern Star, held leadership positions in the Legion Auxiliary, sat on City Council in the Yorkton, ran for the provincial legislature, held leadership positions in several curling and golf organizations and served in many positions in the Westminster United Church in Kamsack. Our heartfelt thanks to the entire staff on Unit 6300 at the Royal University Hospital for your care and kindness, and to the neurosurgeons and residents for always treating Irene as an intelligent and capable woman. Special thanks also to her good friend Kathy Daniels for helping Irene stay independent.


Irene’s life will be celebrated at McClure United Church on Thursday, 4 February 2016 at 10:00. A memorial for Irene and her brother Bill will be held in Kamsack in the summer. In lieu of flowers, please contribute to your favourite charity.
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