July 24, 1944 ~ November 19, 2019

Born in: Denver, Colorado
Resided in: Lakewood, Colorado

Irena surprised her family and friends by making an unexpected departure from this life to the next.

She was born to Robert and Thelma Miles in Denver, Colorado.  She attended Blessed Sacrament Grade School and Machebeuf High School.  Her college and graduate education was at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska.  Physics and math were her forte and she taught them with skill and love to high school students in the Midwest.  After retiring, she came back to her family in the Denver area and enjoyed being semi-retired and tutoring college level math.

Irena left three sisters: Carol Heinrichs (Larry), Marilyn Sonnkalb (Stephen) and Kathleen Clark (Gregory), and many nieces and nephews.

A Memorial Service will be held at Horan & McConaty Funeral Home located at 3101 South Wadsworth Boulevard, Lakewood, Colorado.

Please share memories and condolences with Irena’s family by signing the guestbook below.


Memorial Service: December 15, 2019 1:00 pm

Horan & McConaty - SW Denver/Lakewood
3101 S. Wadsworth Blvd.
Lakewood, CO 80227

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  1. My sincere sympathy for your loss. I have not seen Irena for a long time but remember our teaching years together at Round Lake so many years ago with fondness and fun. Hard to believe it’s almost 50 years since we were there. Life flies along. My thoughts are with you all. Marcia Linssen Worthington MN

    • Marcia, Irena so enjoyed teaching at Round Lake–not only because of the students, but because of the staff. Thanks for sharing with us. Carol/Marilyn/Kathleen

  2. She taught in Round Lake, MN and I had her for my senior year in 1972-73. I really enjoyed having her teach math and we got along very well. Sorry she had to transition so early in life.

    • Randy, Thank you for sharing your experience with Irena. We know she would appreciate your word, “enjoy.” It was always her intent that her students had fun while learning. Carol/Marilyn/Kathleen

  3. My sympathy to the family. I was a student in Round Lake, MN when Irena taught there. She was a great teacher and made us think outside the box at times. To this day “Ms Miles” -isms still come to mind.We were very fortunate to have her teach here . Ida Reimer Class of 1978-

    • Ida, you are so right about “thinking outside the box.” Irena did that in many areas of her life. You say you were fortunate to have her, and she was just as fortunate to have you and your fellow students. She loved teaching there. Carol/Marilyn/Kathleen

  4. Ms Miles had such a passion for teaching. Her classroom in Round Lake was full of so many things to make learning fun. She put Physics concepts into action in her classroom.
    Our condolences to her family.

    • Irena definitely was passionate about teaching–and making it a fun experience for her students! Thank you for those comments and sending us your condolences. Carol/Marilyn/Kathleen

  5. Miss Irene Mills was an amazing teacher. When I read that she had died so many wonderful memories came to mind. Her ability to make learning fun and memorable was great. She was a woman ahead of her time. She coached the first dance line and at the end we flipped our skirts and spelled out THUNDERBIRDS of course back then she got in trouble ! Remembering sex-Ed class!!! Of course her science classes had many dramatic movements made us laugh-but she made her point memorable.
    Rest In Peace !!’

    • Joan, we really relate to your comment that “she was a woman ahead of her time.” Thanks for sharing your memories–they make us smile. We think she is definitely resting in peace. Carol/Marilyn/Kathleen

  6. Miss. Miles taught my computer class at the Round Lake High School and started me on my path to become a Graphic Designer and technology teacher myself. As a teacher, we sometimes never know the impact we make on others. I hope she knew. She believed in me and supported me when she knew I needed it most, and she will never be forgotten. Deepest sympathy to her family.

    • Irena always hoped she would have a positive impact on her students, and would share with us when she heard of their accomplishments. Thank you for sharing the influence she had on you. Very special. Carol/Marilyn/Kathleen

  7. “Save early, save often!” – even teaching us 9th graders to code in the 80’s – she was spot-on.


    Oh, it breaks my heart to hear of her passing. Ms. Miles was a pillar of knowledge and grew so many of us kids into modern-day Internet, coding, AI, science, and gaming professionals. She was demanding, fair, fun… and she respected us.

    Her voice and advice still ring in my head. We students are the proof that she lead a full life… so many parts of her live on on us.

    She spoke of Colorado often… thank you to her family there for sharing her with Sioux Valley – Round Lake – Brewster! <3

    • Thankyou, Jeni, for the wonderful tribute to Irena! We especially relate to your words “so many parts of her live on in us.” Carol/Marilyn/Kathleen

    • Sherry, thanks for leaving a note. We so appreciate knowing how many people were influenced by Irena. Carol/Marilyn/Kathleen

    • Corey, It is so nice to hear the reasons you liked Irena as a teacher. All these things you mentioned were definitely her goals for herself. Thank you for sharing with us. Carol/Marilyn/Kathleen

  8. Sad to hear! – Ms. Miles knew how to make learning fun and exciting!
    Whether it was blowing the biggest bubbles, learning wavelengths, flying paper airplanes, or making sin cos tan understandable – she had an impact on my life. I am glad God planted you at SV-RL-B in the 90’s Ms. Miles!!
    Sympathies to the family. Praying that grief may turn to joy of memories!

    • Thank you, Andrew, for your kind words. We are hearing over and over that Irena accomplished her goals of making “learning fun and exciting!” We are so glad she “had an impact” on your life and the lives of so many– including us three sisters. Carol/Marilyn/Kathleen

  9. I also was a student of Ms. Miles at SVRLB (90). She had a large and positive impact on everyone in her class. A true educator dedicated to her craft and profession. She’ll be fondly remembered, respected and appreciated for a very long time.

    • Lance, you are so right in saying Irena was “dedicated to her craft and profession.” She loved teaching, and she loved her students. Thank you for sharing your thoughts about Irena. Carol/Marilyn/Kathleen

  10. Ms. Miles was one of my absolute favorite teachers. Round Lake was so blessed to have her. A thinker way ahead of her time. My hope would be that her family finds some comfort knowing she was so well loved.

    Kim (Stone) Casavan. Class of 1980.

    • Oh my goodness, Kim. We are indeed finding so much comfort in hearing so many stories about Irena and all the reasons she will be remembered. Thank you so much for writing to us! Carol/Marilyn/Kathleen

  11. My sincere sympathy to Irena’s family. I taught at SVRLB with her for many years. She was an awesome colleague. She was also a great teacher for my daughters. She will be truly missed. Cherish the memories.

    • Paula, We so appreciate your words. Thank you. Yes, Irena is already truly missed and we are cherishing your (and a multitude of others’) memories. Carol/Marilyn/Kathleen

  12. May Irena rest in peace. I have not been in touch with her for many years although she is still in my mind and my heart. We were classmates from kindergarten through high school. Irena was chosen in kindergarten to crown the statue of the Blessed Mother during the May procession and many of us were jealous. She was a very good student and an artist. She won a prize for representing a piece of music in art form when we were in grade school. We frequently walked home from school together and I remember the rest of her family well. I think she was the highest ranking student in our graduating class. She was a delightful person in so many ways. Condolences to her family.

    • Thanks, Mary Fran, for your kind words and sharing some memories. When she talked about her grade school and high school days, you were always in the conversation. She enjoyed your friendship and doing things together. You and Mary Kay Hickey always come to mind when I think about Irena’s classmates. Hope you are doing well. Carol/Marilyn/Kathleen

  13. I was a rookie teacher in 1998 and Irena took the time to help me in one of the programming classes I was teaching. She was extremely passionate about her work and very patient with me. Everyone on staff knew she was an amazing instructor. She was the type of person anyone could look up to as an example of doing things the right way with a great attitude and a persistent excellence! So sorry for your loss.

    • I had miss miles in the 90’s computer class. Such a great person. She always was so kind an positive. Thanks for all your dedication at SVRLB. Rest In Peace, Miss miles.

      • Thanks, Shelli, for sharing your feelings about Irena to us. It is comforting knowing that she made a big impact on so many people. We believe she is indeed “resting in peace.” Carol/Marilyn/Kathleen

    • John, your experience with Irena is heart-warming. And your description of her attributes affirms why she was so loved and respected. Thank you! We appreciate your sharing. Carol/Marilyn/Kathleen

  14. So sorry for your loss. I taught with Irena for 7 years at SV-RL-B. She was a true inspiration for all of us. She will never be forgotten.

    • So sorry to hear about the passing of Ms. Miles. She was an amazing teacher at SV-RL-B. The way she taught physics and math made all of us excited to see what would be next and what we would learn next. My condolences.

      • Thanks, Matt. We like your comments about the “way she taught physics and math.” She would be pleased to know that you appreciated her approach since she always wanted her students to be excited about her passions–physics and math. Carol/Marilyn/Kathleen

    • Sharon, We are grateful for your condolences. Thank you for sharing with us about Irena being an “inspiration” and that “she will never be forgotten.” Carol/Marilyn/Kathleen

  15. I worked with Irena at Round Lake during my first year of teaching. She was an amazing teacher and a great inspiration. She had a great impact on the students she taught. We were able to remain friends over the years. So sad to hear of her passing. My sympathy to her family.

    • Thanks, Ron. Irena loved working with you. She was so glad you remained friends. She often commented that you two had spoken and how she enjoyed the friendship. Carol/Marilyn/Kathleen

  16. My heartfelt sympathy to Irena’s family. I think I walked home from school with her and Mary Fran every day of eighth grade–a year when nothing matters more than a true friend. It is wonderful to see the many tributes from her former students–such a great way to be remembered.

    • Thanks, Mary Kay. I was just replying to Mary Fran’s message when I saw yours. You two were such special friends to Irena. Thank you for being there for her back then and for us now. Your message means a lot to us. Carol/Marilyn, Kathleen

  17. I had Ms. Miles for physics and computer programming. I still use a cheer she taught us to remember the second law of thermodynamics. “Chaos, chaos in our system always tries to maximize!” I also remember how hard she worked to help me program the Music Box Dancer as a project for her class. She had a huge impact and will be greatly missed.

    • Naomi, what fun comments about Irena! Thanks for sharing them with us. And, yes, she will be greatly missed. Carol/Marilyn/Kathleen

  18. I taught with Irena at Sioux Valley- Round Lake- Brewster. She was a great colleague, teacher, and friend. She often talked of her love of her family and Colorado. It was an honor teaching with her. My deepest sympathy.
    Cheryl Kidd

    • Cheryl, your words are so appreciated. Thank you. She so enjoyed her years there! So glad you were friends. Carol/Marilyn/Kathleen

  19. I just learned of Ms. Miles’ untimely passing. Like many others who have posted here, I was one of her Round Lake students in Math, Physics, Computer Science, and Human Development. She was an incredible teacher—she instilled in me a lifelong love of math and computers. I also consider her a friend, as we kept in touch for a number of years after I graduated in 1983; in recent years we had reconnected a bit on Facebook. Just a couple of weeks ago Irina came to mind, and I intended to write her a note soon—apparently it was the universe alerting me.

    My sympathy to her family, and thank you for sharing your wonderful sister with us—she was a huge influence on many hundreds of students. For that I am eternally grateful.

  20. Ms. Miles was an awesome math and human development teacher! I have very fond memories of her! My prayers are with all of the family! She will be greatly missed!

    • Allison, thank you for your lovely message to us. We know Irena is so happy that she instilled in you a love of math and computers! How nice that you kept in touch with her after you graduated. And how special that you thought of her about the time of her transition. Carol/Marilyn /Kathleen

  21. It is great to read how many of us she influenced with her teachings over the years! I too was one of her Sioux Valley- Round Lake students from 1984 in Math, Physics, Computer Science, and Human Development. One of the special things she also did for as long as I can remember was take pictures of the seniors throughout the year and put together an amazing slide show for graduation that allowed us to look back and reflect on our time together in high school.
    My sympathy to her family, she was a huge influence on hundreds and hundreds of students over the years.
    Scott Schuur

    • Such kind words, Scott. As so many of her students and fellow teachers have shared, Irena definitely influenced many, many people. Irena recently mentioned how she took pictures of the seniors and then created the slide shows–a treasured memory of hers ! Thanks for mentioning that! Carol/Marilyn/Kathleen

  22. Irena was a tutor at Red Rocks Community College for many years. She cared deeply about the students and was a joy to work with. Please accept my condolences.

    Randy Landis-Eigsti

    • Thanks, Randy. Doing some tutoring was so great for Irena after she retired from teaching full time. She loved the students–and so enjoyed learning about their backgrounds and discussing their goals. Carol/Marilyn/Kathleen

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