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Desfossés was dancer, traveler

A Mass will be held Saturday at 11 a.m., at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Grass Valley for 20-year Grass Valley resident Irene Desfossés, who passed away June 22 at her home. A memorial service will follow at 1 p.m. at the Ponderosa Pines Club House in Grass Valley. She was 85 years old.

Mrs. Desfossés was born Jan. 8, 1922, to Rudolf and Mary Blouin in Manchester, N.H., where she was raised with her two brothers, Roger and Hertel.

Growing up in Manchester, Mrs. Desfossés led a simple life. When she was 20 years old, she met her husband, Ray Desfossés, at a family party, where she accidentally pushed him off a piano bench. Two days after the incident, the pair became engaged and by the third date they were married. One week later, Mr. Desfossés was deployed for World War II on the Queen Mary with 23,000 other soldiers, leaving the young Mrs. Desfossés alone.



During her husband’s tour, Mrs. Desfossés worked in a small flower shop at home. Soon, she realized she could not support herself on her small salary or her husband’s corporal’s pay, so she found a swing shift job in a parachute factory. Mrs. Desfossés soon became a supervisor and was content until the end of the war.

After a long 40 months without seeing her husband, when Mr. Desfossés returned, the faithful pair looked at each other as long-lost friends and simply said “Hello.” Soon afterward, the pair had a son Aug. 11, 1946 and named him Ron Desfossés.




In 1951, the couple and its 5-year-old son escaped the cold winters of New Hampshire by moving to California. Scrapping together a bit of money, in 1957 the Desfossés opened a flower shop in Oxnard. After 12 years in the flower business, Mrs. Desfossés decided to sell the store after a man approached her and said “I want to buy your flower shop.” He didn’t have time to close his mouth before Mrs. Desfossés shouted “Sold!”

After a short stint at home, Mrs. Desfossés told her husband, “You know Ray, you can only clean and dust the house so many times in a week, so I am going to get me a part-time job, if you don’t mind.”

Mrs. Desfossés also kept herself busy by square dancing with her husband. The couple traveled to Balboa Park in San Diego with 20,000 other dancers in 1955. Later, Mrs. Desfossés organized square-dancing events for teenagers. She developed a group called “The Romping Stompers” that traveled all around the state, dancing two to three times a week.

After her flirtation with square dancing, Mrs. Desfossés, never one to remain still for long, became a child advocate. Seeing a need, she enjoyed helping single mothers and their children by gathering various necessities like clothing.

Mrs. Desfossés passed away 23 days before celebrating her 65th wedding anniversary. The beloved wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother will be dearly missed. She is survived by her husband, Ray Desfossés of Grass Valley; her son Ron Desfossés of Powell, Wyo.; her granddaughter, Cher Desfossés of Palm Springs; and great-granddaughter, Nicole Desfossés of Palm Springs.


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