Santa Fe Living Treasures – Elder Stories

If there is any meeting in the area that is considering something that will affect the future of Santa Fe, Irene will be there.  She showed up for one meeting three hours after she had left the hospital following double hip replacement surgery.  One of her friends described her as having “six or eight heads of steam going at the same time.”  She doesn’t attend meetings to be viewed as “involved” and doesn’t feel comfortable just coming out against something unless she has an alternative to offer.  Many of her suggestions have been incorporated into the Community Plan and endorsed by the City Council such as Escarpment Ordinances and Mountain District Ordinances which lead to protection for the hills surrounding the city.

Irene was given a New Mexico Heritage Preservation Award in 1997.  She received many accolades from friends nominating her as a Living Treasure:

“In spite of all her achievements, Irene remains very self-effacing, playing down her own role in projects and giving generous credit to others.  I do not know anyone who so embodies the spirit of Santa Fe and whose love of the city has had such a profound effect on all of our lives.”

“I have never known anyone as dedicated to public service as Irene.”

The headline for an article written about Irene in 1999 pretty much sums up who she is, “Defender of Small-town Charm.”

Irene Von Horvath was born November 23, 1918 and died in Santa Fe, New Mexico, September 6, 2007

Photo © 1998 by Steven Northup