Obituary of Doreen K. Irwin
Doreen Kay Irwin of Elverta, California, passed away on June 19, 2023 at the age of 83. She peacefully departed in the comfort of her own home, surrounded by loving family and friends, after a long, courageous fight with a brain tumor. Doreen was born in Rugby, North Dakota on November 21, 1939 to the late Joseph and Kathleen Voeller. Her family moved to Vancouver, Washington, when she and her siblings, the late Dennis and Donald Voeller, were young. She spent her childhood exploring and honing her talents for what would become her lifelong loves- music, art, and horses.
Doreen’s musical involvement that drove her professional career began as a small child with talent on the piano. After many years spent practicing and performing, she eventually went on to receive a scholarship to the University of Portland in Oregon and earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music education. Doreen worked at Oakmont High School in Roseville, CA, where she taught music and led the choir for many years before becoming the choral director at Sacramento City College (SCC). Before retiring in 2013, she was able to tour and perform with her choir in 17 different countries and perform at Carnegie Hall in New York City.
Upon retiring, Doreen was able to give more specialized time and attention to another one of her lifelong interests- artistic painting and drawing. Much of her artwork has been individually showcased throughout Northern California and selected to be in various prestigious art shows. Many of Doreen’s masterpieces can be viewed at doreenirwin.com.
Doreen’s interests and talents didn’t stop with music and art. Her love for horses began when she was only 9 years old, after a friendly bet between her and her father landed her with her very first horse. She used her artistic talents, even as a teen, to sell drawings that would fund her equestrian lifestyle. After moving to Sacramento, CA as a young adult, Doreen worked tirelessly to turn her 40-acre property into what is now known as Shandoni Ranch. She has spent the last 40 years riding, boarding, giving lessons, judging competitive horse shows, and hosting hunter-jumper schooling shows.
Doreen is survived by her three children- daughter, Marcelle Irwin; daughter Rachelle Benner and son-in-law, Jeffrey Benner; and son, Kenneth Irwin. She is also survived by nine grandchildren; Tricia, Casey, Jenee, Caitlin, Kellie, Katie, Keldon, Caleb, and Scott; five great-grandchildren, Janessa, Logan, Kolbie, Carter, and Bren; life partner, Jens “Jay” Pedersen; and countless friends embraced as family.
A viewing and rosary will be held on Sunday, July 2, 2023, from 1:00 PM- 5:00 PM at Sacramento Memorial Lawn on 6100 Stockton Boulevard. A Catholic Mass will be conducted on Monday, July 3, 2023, from 10:30 AM- 11:30 AM at St. Maria Goretti on 8700 Bradshaw Road in Elk Grove. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that remembrances be made in the form of contributions to the Performing Arts department at Oakmont High School, in Roseville, CA (rjuhsd.us/oakmont), or the National Brain Tumor Society (brain tumor.org).
If you are interested in leaving a tribute in honor of Doreen Irwin (note, story, picture, video) or adding your name to a long term communication list for any future events or celebrations, please visit the Doreen Irwin Memory Page here: https://www.forevermissed.com/doreen-irwin.
Shelley BennerTo send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Doreen Irwin, please visit Tribute Store