Irene Robertson

June 11, 1922 - March 7, 2023

Burial Date

Obituaries » Irene Robertson

Irene Prescott Robertson

MONTPELIER – Irene Helen (Prescott) Robertson,100, passed away on Tuesday, March 7, 2023.

Irene was born on June 11, 1922, to Laurence and Mabel (Johnson) Prescott and was the youngest, and only girl, of their five children. She attended Montpelier elementary schools where her musical “career” began in kindergarten, playing a march while other students entered the auditorium. She performed the entire operetta “HMS Pinafore” in fourth grade, and at age 12 was called upon to fill in for a suddenly ill piano player with a 9-piece orchestra the night of the Policeman’s Ball at Montpelier City Hall. Irene enjoyed orchestra, chorus, and cheerleading at her brothers’ basketball games during her high school years, and by graduation was a sought- after musician.

Irene was a gifted pianist and shared her love of music with others in many ways. She played with several jazz groups and bands throughout Vermont and neighboring states, performing at many venues in Stowe, Burlington, and Central Vermont. She also played for several Governor’s Balls, as well as for legislative, political, and community events. She produced and directed “minstrel shows” held at Montpelier City Hall, taught music in the East Montpelier school district and Green Mountain School, and gave private lessons. For the past 40+ years, she and Dick Carpenter, while still playing individually and with other groups, teamed up. Together they played for hundreds of weddings, anniversaries, community events, and New Year’s Eve and private parties, and volunteered at area nursing homes. They also recorded two CDs with Jack von Behren and George Drew. Although she could read music, she rarely needed to and was referred to as “the lady who knew 1,000 songs.” In addition to her music career, Irene worked as a secretary to the Aeronautics Commissioner during WWII and as a foster care licensing technician for several years.

Irene had many interests. She was an avid reader, loved nature, enjoyed sports, followed current events, liked playing cribbage, and especially loved spending time with her family and friends. She enjoyed traveling and shared many trips with her children. Spending parts of each summer at Newfound Lake in Bristol, N.H. during her childhood, and later in life with her children and grandchildren, were very special times for her and her family. She enjoyed writing poetry and wrote her autobiography after retiring from the State in 1985.

She is survived by her children Faye Wilder, Joan Innes and husband Robert Illsley, John Bahnsen, Jeanne Lawrence and husband Harold; grandchildren Shawn Cliche and Bernadette Pierre, Scott Cliche and his wife Bethany, and Melany Morris; great grandchildren Caitlyn, Rachel, Mia, and Sylvie Cliche, and Jameson Morris. She is also survived by her brothers’ children and grandchildren, with whom she remained close throughout the years; Fran, Mike, Patricia, and others who thought of her as “Mom,” and many friends, especially Richard and Nancy Carpenter.

Irene was predeceased by her parents and brothers Earl, Russell, Glenn, and Edgar Prescott.

We all gathered together last June to celebrate her 100th birthday. This was a wonderful day for her and everyone in attendance. The highlight was when she sat at her keyboard, with Dick on sax and Jack on bass, and played music for her guests.

Irene’s family would like to thank Home Health and Hospice for their support, especially Jennie Humphries and Donna Fontana for their many years of wonderful care and friendship.

A celebration of Irene’s life will be held in the Spring, her favorite time of year. There will be no calling hours.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Central Vermont Home Health and Hospice, 600 Granger Road, Barre VT 05641.

She often said that her life was all about family and music—in that order! We will miss her terribly but are so grateful for the many years we shared with her and will treasure our memories always. We love you.

Arrangements are by Hooker Whitcomb Funeral Home, 7 Academy Street, Barre.  For a memorial guestbook, visit

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