Irene Samaras Panos Conkling
Irene Samaras Panos Conkling
  • December 12, 1930 - September 14, 2017
  • Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Share This Obituary

Irene Samaras Panos Conkling fell asleep in the Lord on September 14, 2017. Irene was born in Clarksburg, West Virginia on December 23, 1930. She was the second child of Greek immigrant parents Evangelos Samaras, of Cesme (Smyrna), the Ottoman Empire and Kalliope (Kate) Karmiris, of Chios, Greece, who had immigrated to America to escape hardship at home, and experience the American dream. The family returned to Greece in 1933, and were in Athens when Italy invaded the tiny Balkan country in Oct 1940. They were trapped in Greece during the cataclysmic days of WWII and the German occupation. In 1947 they returned to the USA to make their life permanently in Oklahoma City. Persevering despite the adversity of another transition, Irene graduated from Classen High School in 1948, and attended Oklahoma City University before marrying Uly Nick Panos in 1950. She gave birth to daughter Joyce in 1953, and then Kathleen in 1956. Living near her family -- sister Mary Soter and Panos in-laws, and with her mother in the home, the marriage and child-rearing years spent on Robin Ridge Road in Quail Creek were idyllic.
Irene lost the love of her life Nick in Oct 1982, and was then widowed for 13 years. She spent those years, first as one of the founding owners and partners at Tres Chic Boutique from 1981--1986, realizing her dream of working in the fashion industry; then later as a 'Boutique Lady' at Steinmart. Most enjoyable to her though, was spending time with her daughters, Joyce and family in Kingfisher, OK, and traveling in the USA and Europe to visit daughter Kathy and family who were serving in the military.
In 1995 Irene met and married Dr. Bill Conkling. Making their home in OKC, they enjoyed their twilight years together as active members of their Orthodox Church community, and spending time with their family and friends; as well as traveling throughout the United States and abroad, visiting family in Texas, Kingfisher, Italy, and Greece, and hosting long visits from the grandchildren. Irene was a faithful member of St George Greek Orthodox Church for all her adult life where she served as the pastry committee chairperson for the annual 'Greekfest,' and on the Church Board. Irene is survived by her children Joyce and Barry Bollenbach, and Kathleen and Colonel (Army Ret) Paul Calbos; grandchildren Tammy (Michael) Sammons, Major (USAR) Kurt (Brooke) Bollenbach, Captain (USAR) Nickolas Calbos, Christina Calbos; and three great grandchildren: Brittan, Barron, and Brooks Bollenbach; and her beloved sister Mary Soter, and steadfast friend, Brother-in-Law George Soter. She was preceded in death by her granddaughter Melissa Nickole Bollenbach. Also dear to her heart was her Godson Christopher Thomas, and her many nieces and nephews, and grand nieces and nephews.

Irene's narrative can best be summed up as devoted daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother, amazing Gardner, and gracious hostess with a deep appreciation of fashion and style. Irene faced her health challenge with dignity for four years, and at the end, departed peacefully this life aware of those who surrounded her. May Her Memory be Eternal.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Saint George Greek Orthodox Church of Oklahoma City; or The Sacred Christian Orthodox Monastery of Saint Nina's, 9002 Clemsonville Road, Union Bridge, MD, 21791.

A Trisagion Service will be held Thursday, September 21st at 7:00 p.m. at St. George Greek Orthodox Church. The Funeral Service will be held Friday, September 22nd at 10:00 a.m. at St. George Greek Orthodox Church. Interment will follow at Rose Hill Burial Park.