A photo of Irene E. Ableman

Irene E. Ableman

February 28, 1929 - May 15, 2020

Irene E. Ableman, age 91, of Newark, DE and formerly of New Castle, passed away at Manor Care Health Services in Newark, DE on Friday, May 15, 2020.

The oldest of 3 children, Irene was born at her parent’s home, built by her father and uncles, in a small town called Zollbruck, Germany, Pommen.  When she was old enough, she was responsible for digging up potatoes and other homegrown vegetables on their land. During the war, that was an important chore because food was scarce and her mom used to stretch the food by making potato soup frequently for the family. Irene and her siblings, Wolfgang and Eleanor, also enjoyed picking wild blueberries along their several mile walk through the woods on their way to school and church.

When Irene was 13, she became the main caregiver for her mother who was dying of cancer. When she turned 15, she was sent away to a hospital in eastern Germany to receive training to become a nurse. She received room and board with a family who also had a daughter who was working at the same hospital. Irene continued working in the hospital helping injured soldiers until the war ended. 

After the war, it took 3 years for Red Cross to locate all the children and reunite them with their father, Willy Horn, then living in a town in southern Germany called Landsberg.

At that time, Irene met an American soldier named, Paul Ableman, who was stationed in Landsberg during the recovery era.  They fell in love and Irene moved to America where they married and lived with Paul’s parents until 1954, at which time, they bought a house in Chelsea Estates in New Castle where they raised two children.   

Irene worked several jobs in order to supplement the family’s income. While working at the New Castle Farmer’s Market for 35 years, she became friends with regular customers who she kept in touch with throughout her life.  

Irene especially enjoyed her trips to the Dollar Stores where she bought flowers to use in her beautiful flower arrangements. After her son died in 2017, she made it a point to make arrangements to place on his grave for his birthdays and holidays.

Irene is predeceased by her husband, Paul Ellis Ableman (died 1974) of New Castle, DE; her son, David Ableman (died 2017) of Newark, DE; her mother, Elisabeth Daute Horn of Germany; her father, Willy Horn of Germany; her sister, Eleanor Horn of Germany; and her brother, Wolfgang Horn of Lancaster, PA.

She is survived by her daughter, Betty Ableman and her husband, Tom Anderson of Newark, DE; her sister, Gertrud (Horn) Bohlemann and her husband, Jochen of Germany; her sisters-in-law,  Charlotte Horn, Marie Ableman Rose, Arlene Ableman, and Peggy Ableman Reeve; and many nieces and nephews from both the Horn and Ableman families.

Irene’s Service and Burial will be private. 

In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made in Irene’s name to Meals-on-Wheels at the Newark Senior Center, 200 White Chapel Drive, Newark, DE 19713.  

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2 Guestbook messages for Irene E. Ableman

  • Irene and I have the same birthday…separated only by a few decades. We met when I began to deliver meals on wheels. And in the 5 years since, we became good friends. She was a strong woman who often expressed to me her sadness at no longer being able to do the many things she had always done. She worked very hard all her life and now, in her 90’s she was often in pain and no longer had the strength. Nevertheless her home was always immaculate and she always exerted the energy necessary to keep going. Through the years I was privileged to visit her, we shared many stories and she was always ready to laugh and see the positive aspects of things. I will miss Irene and pray that she may finally rest in comfort and peace. Ellen

  • My sincere condolences for your loss