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.