October 5, 1940 ~ January 23, 2022

Born in: Hillsboro, Texas
Resided in: Bryan, Texas

Irene Buentello, a trailblazing woman, passed away Sunday January 23, 2022. She was dearly loved, and she loved her family and her extended family unfailingly. Irene made lifelong friends–from Bryan to Washington, DC to embassies overseas–and cherished those friendships. She loved life and didn’t shy away from challenges – raising 4 children as a single mom, working in congress, embassies in Tbilisi, Warsaw, Santo Domingo, and Madrid, and at the National Security Council at the White House. She loved travel and did so often during her State Department assignments.  She was an ardent liberal policy supporter and we often joked about her addiction to MSNBC. She showed us how hard/smart work, dedication, and commitment could lead to great things in life. She loved Bryan, TX and found every opportunity to return home. Irene was the first Ladies Auxiliary President of LULAC and her activism led to her a position with Congressman Phil Gramm in Washington. Among her many awards was a Hispanic Forum Lifetime Achievement Award. She was an ardent Aggie and Cowboy fan and adopted the embassy Marine Security Detachment at every embassy where she was assigned (often one of the last to leave their Marine happy hours). She survived multiple bouts of cancer with courage and strength and overcame them all except the latest round. Now she has returned to our Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and many family and friends in Heaven, and this reunion must have been a joyous, Latin music and dance-filled occasion. She will be terribly missed.

Irene is survived by her sisters, Dr. Mary Cantu Custer ’69 (first known Hispanic woman graduate from Texas A&M) and her husband Carl Custer ‘69; Teresa Ramirez, Brazos County Clerk’s Office and her husband Paul Ramirez; her children, John Dockery ’85 and his wife Rebecca; Tony Dockery ’86, and his wife Barbara; Donna Dockery, of Bryan, TX; and Raquel Buentello, of Katy, TX; eight grandchildren – Jennifer, Jonathan, Valerie, Camille, Emily, David, Aniyah and Annika; and five great grandchildren – Mackenzie, Nathan, Brooklyn, Sailor and Khloe Jane. She is preceded in death by her parents, Charlie and Cecil Cantu of Bryan and sister Sara Ruiz of Bryan.

Funeral services will be held on Saturday, January 29, 2022, at 10 am in the Chapel of Callaway-Jones Funeral Center in Bryan with Pastor Joe Walker.  Interment will follow at Bryan City Cemetery.



Funeral Service: January 29, 2022 10:00 am

Callaway-Jones Funeral Home & Cremation Center
3001 S College Ave
Bryan, TX 77801


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  1. She was a very special lady. She leaves behind evidence of all the right ways to raise children. She also left us with a great example of what a great American should be. One who cares for all and was active and involved in making our country a great place to live. We love you Aunt Irene!

  2. I remember Grammy Irene always taking so much pride in her grandchildren and great grandchildren. She loved being around kids even when I was young and kids were always drawn to her. When I was younger she always made me feel as part of the family and it always made me feel special when she called me “mija”. I love how proud she was of her family, especially her children, as she was always representing Texas A&M with pride and always spoke so highly of everyone. I remember watching her with David when he was a baby and how much she adored him. One of my favorite memories of Irene was when I realized that one of her nick names was “wiener” and I thought she was going to be upset by Uncle Tony calling her that, but she wasn’t- we always giggled about it. I remember whenever Irene came to Virginia she was always cold, no matter the temperature outside, she always needed a sweater. I love how she always knew how to have a good time and enjoyed going out with the girls for margaritas and fun. I feel as though her success in her career was motivation for her children and grandchildren and will continue on for generations to come. Irene will be missed greatly and will forever be in my heart.

  3. Irene was an amazing lady and all her family will terribly miss her and our sincerest and deepest sympathy to all the family and may she rest in pease and let perpetual light shine upon her

  4. May Mrs. Irene be in peace. I have wonderful memories with her during our trip to Madrid. We had an awesome time cause of her. I’m sure my mom is happy to have her friend with her in heaven dancing on the streets of gold. Prayers for her family and friends. RIP!!

  5. Lo siento mucho. Mi pésame para todos sus hijos, en especial para Raquel y sus niñas a las que conocí en su visita a España. Me da mucha tristeza que se haya ido una persona tan amable y generosa. Te llevaré siempre en el corazón. Muchos besos al cielo. Descansa en paz Irene.

  6. Tengo un maravilloso recuerdo de Irene. La conocí durante su estancia en Madrid. Como Office Manager del Embajador Aguirre, Irene demostraba cada día lo gran profesional que era. Pero, más importante, fue una cariñosa y buena compañera. Cuando invitaba en su casa, era una excelente anfitrina, aún recuerdo la preciosa vajilla que se compró en Varsovia. Si salíamos a comer o a tomar una cerveza, se divertía y nos hacía reir. Tenía siempre presente en sus conversaciones a su querida familia. Querida Irene, vuela libre y descansa en paz.

  7. Irene was so sweet and always happy! She and my mother, Rebecca, always had a great time together. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family. She will be dearly missed.
    The Jensen/Aylor Families

  8. Your mother was an amazing woman of great strength and courage. I was blessed to be part of her caregiving team. Heaven is one angel richer…and from her memorials, sounds like going to be one amazing party up there now!

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