Irene Maria Olberz – Obituary

Irene Maria Olberz

Irene Maria Olberz was born in Frankfurt, Germany, December 17, 1933 and passed away in her sleep due to a heart condition Monday, August 11, 2020. Irene was married to Norbert Olberz for over 51 years, also born in Germany.
Irene was well known in La Cañada for her 20+ years of competitive running. She formed a running Club in La Cañada called Runners in Motion. She ran mostly 5K’s, 10K’s, half-marathons and multiple full marathons. Her highlight came in 1992 when she broke the National Road Running Record for the age of 58 at the Long Beach Marathon with a time of 3:27 which we were all proud of. Running brought her to many interesting places including Hawaii and Germany. Once she was on a cruise ship in the Mediterranean and had to run hours of laps in preparation for an upcoming race on the top deck!
Running was not her first sport or passion. She was very active in ballet, tennis, skiing and hiking among so many other interests. So logical, since she and her husband, Norbert, purchased the Sport Chalet store in La Cañada in 1959 and with the help of thousands of hard-working people and friends grew the company to 55 stores until they decided to sell the company years ago.
Irene began working at the bank in La Cañada in 1959 to help supplement the income for the new business and eventually became a full-time assistant in running Sport Chalet. She then became a homemaker and supporter of the business with the birth of her son Eric.
Irene was an avid reader. She had a wide range of interests from Philosophy and Space discoveries to health research and crime novels. Reading also served as an escape during WW2 in Germany while being bombed by airplanes. She became very passionate during the 1950’s about ballroom dancing and at one point wanted to become a professional dancer.
Everyone found her kind hearted with a good sense of humor. Loved by so many, she will be missed.
Irene is survived by her son Eric Olberz married to Maryam Olberz, grandsons Karl and Markus Olberz and her brothers still living in Germany, Manfred and Hermann Kitz. A private service will be scheduled for her.

Leave a Reply