Still Going Strong

January 29 was quite a day for Irene Pichon. 


That’s when the staff at The Oaks assisted living facility in Flower Mound helped her celebrate her 102nd birthday. When she turned 100 two years ago, she was honored by then Flower Mound Mayor Steve Dixon with Irene Bichon Day. 


Both were milestones few people in town and nobody elsewhere she resides can match and continued a long and fruitful journey. 


While her family originally was from Port Jervis, New York, she actually was born and grew up in Peru where her father Thomas Taylor was an engineer in the oil production industry. Her grandfather George Thomas Taylor initially moved the family there to help construct railroads. 


It was in that country she learned to speak Spanish and met her husband Allen Pichon Sr. who was stationed there as a U.S. Air Force aerial photographer. After moving to places like Florida, North Carolina, Colorado, Illinois, Spain, and Nebraska, they settled in Denver after Allen retired from the military until he died in 2002. 


Irene remained in Denver until 2012 when her son Allen Jr. and his wife Sharon moved her to Windermere, Florida, where Allen Jr. was on the town council. They came to Texas in 2017 at the insistence of his son, a Southwest Airlines captain, to be near her three youngest great-grandchildren. 


After living in another facility when they first came to Flower Mound, she’s been a resident of The Oaks since 2019. 


“I love it. Everyone here is so nice and friendly,” Irene said. “It’s been wonderful.”


She has been surrounded by a family of Air Force veterans. Allen Sr. served for 21 years, Allen Jr. for 32, and Allen Jr. and Sharon’s son and daughter for a number of years. 


“It’s like a big family,” Irene said of the Air Force. “Everybody gets along.” 


Allen Jr. retired from the Air Force in 1992 and for many years was vice president of operations for an aviation services business. At first, he was reluctant to move to Texas but quickly came to like it here including serving on the Flower Mound Parks Committee.


“It was a blessing because we got her in here before the pandemic,” he said. “God was looking after her. 


“The things that are important in our lives – faith, family, integrity, honesty, and hard workers – are what Texas is all about. We just feel like we are so blessed to be here, especially at this time with all the challenges going on. And having Mom here – when people have the same kind of appreciation – makes our life better and also helps her. Texas has been the most incredible thing ever.”


Irene was a stay-at-home mother for most of her life raising Allen Jr., daughter Patricia, and son Tom. They have blessed her with eight grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.


She spent some of her time making her children’s clothes and preparing family meals. 


“My mom died when I was a little girl and to keep us out of trouble we did a lot of cooking,” Irene said. 


Besides knitting, crocheting, and needlepoint, she often played bridge and golfed nearly every day. Her love of golf rubbed off on Patricia, who earned a scholarship to play at Stanford University and was once ranked among the nation’s top 100 amateurs. Irene also was into painting and sculpting and she and Allen Sr. were known to be very good dancers. 


While physical limitations keep her from her past hobbies, she spends much of her time at The Oaks talking to people and sometimes plays cards. Before Covid would walk a mile or two each day and before that as many as five miles, today she uses a cane primarily to protect herself from stumbles. 


“Or unless somebody gets smart,” she said. “That sounds better.”

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