Winifred Irene Boler……
……was the second daughter and fourth child born to the late Wardell Russell and Florence Lee Boler on Monday, June 3, 1957 at the Portsmouth Naval Hospital, Portsmouth, Virginia.
She was educated in the Portsmouth Public School System. Upon leaving school, she joined the Job Corps in Lancaster, Pennsylvania where she trained as a cosmetologist and also earned her GED. After graduating from the Job Corps, Irene spent some time traveling across the United States, landing in Las Vegas, Nevada, where she met Mr. Bill Cosby (she said he was a perfect gentleman) and a few other celebrities. It was in Vegas where her resemblance to Aretha Franklin was first noticed. Around January 1980, she decided to head back to Pennsylvania and made Reading her home.
The reason for the sun rising, the stars in the sky, the earth spinning on its axis was the birth of her daughter on Sunday, February 23, 1997. Zoie Alexis meant “Life and Love” and Irene was intent on seeing that she had it all.
Irene decided to move back to Virginia so that she and her child could be closer to family. Even with her mounting health issues, she was bound and determined to see at least one grandchild and her desire was fulfilled when Elizabeth Ayria Barrett was born on November 19, 2020. It was love at first glance and Elizabeth returned the compliment.
Irene was the much loved, fun aunt and her favorite expression for everything….BINGO! Oh how she loved her nieces and nephews. If you wanted to do something and have it kept from your parents….she was the one to talk too. They knew she would never tell on them and they wouldn’t tell on her. She remembered all birthdays and would call to see what they were planning and to arrange a pick-up to the party.
The scripture says to train up a child in the right way and the knowledge will stay with them. As a child, she was first taught at home about God’s love and as an adult, she would still recite the things she had learned. Irene attended and was baptized at New First Baptist Church Taylorsville in Portsmouth. She recently rededicated her life to Christ with the assurance she would be welcomed home and to that we say BINGO!
In addition to her parents, she was predeceased by her two older brothers, Wardell Jr., and Willie Earl and brother-in-law, Jerome Bullock.
She leaves to cherish her precious memory, daughter, Zoie Boler Barrett (Marquis), granddaughter, Elizabeth Ariya, siblings; Wanda Anderson (John), Warren Boler, W. Rene Robinson (John) and Wendy Bullock; sister-in-law, Norma Castellano; mother-in-law, Jonita Hodges; aunt and uncle, Rachel and Herbert Winn; eighteen nieces, eight nephews, thirty great nieces/nephews, sister cousins; Monica Hadley and Stefanie Johnson; bonus daughters, LaCorria Ray and Mary Ebony and a host of cousins and friends