Irene Emde taught 3rd and 4th grade in the Pierre School District for more than 20 years. Her students remember her as the teacher who taught them reading, and inspired them to learn. She had a long teaching career of 60 years beginning in 1927 at the age of 17 in Stringtown, Arkansas; where her father had also started teaching. She went on to teach at many schools throughout the Midwest, teaching more than 3,000 students during her 60 years of teaching. After her retirement from the Pierre School District in 1975, she continued teaching by substituting both in the Pierre School District and at the Pierre Indian School until 1987 when at the age of 78, she entirely retired.
A scholarship has been established in her and her husband Herbert’s honor to help graduating high school students whose goal is to become teachers. The hope of the scholarship is that Irene Emde’s legacy of teaching will be continued. Former students, friends, and those wishing to support a scholarship for future teachers may send a tax-deductable donation to the Irene L. and Herbert C. Emde Scholarship Fund, Pierre Educational Foundation, PO Box 94, Pierre, SD 57501.