Irene Grace Walz

Irene Grace Walz was born October 12, 1923 on the family farm in Springbrook Township, Kittson County, the ninth of ten children, to Albert and Anna (Schmidt) Walz, and now brings to a sorrowful close the earthly presence of her generation of Walz family.  She attended a country school there and was a 1942 graduate of Karlstad High School, being the first in her siblings to graduate.  She was employed in the Chicago area following high school during WWII and then returned to Minnesota.  Irene was united in marriage to Swen O. Carlson in September 1944 and he passed away in 1977.  She completed nurses’ aid training in 1962 and received a Licensed Practical Nurse degree in 1972 from Thief River Falls Vocation School.  She farmed with her husband, Swen, in Nelson Park Township while raising their family.  She also worked in the potato harvest for area farmers, Warren Hospital, Good Samaritan Nursing Home, and Karlstad Health Care Center.  Irene worked for TriValley Opportunity Council organizing and setting up senior citizen centers in Marshal County in the 1960’s. She married Paul E. Paulson in March 1979 and he passed away January 2008. Irene was a Senior Companion as recent as December 2010.  She had co-owned and operated Karlstad Floral with her sister, Eleanor .
    Irene was baptized into the Lutheran faith and was a charter and current member of Resurrection Church in Karlstad where she was responsible for altar duties for 20 years.   While on the farm, she was a Sunday School superintendent and teacher, a 4-H leader, Nelson Park Homemaker Club member, and Karlstad Hospital Auxiliary member.  She was currently a member of Karlstad American Legion Auxiliary #2011 of which she had held an office.  Irene took pride in her retirement to be a census taker and an election judge.
She was an avid flower and vegetable gardener,  canned, an excellent seamstress, quilter, and embroider.  Irene was known for her strong work ethic and could fix anything, including electrical, plumbing, and mechanical.  She could stretch a dollar farther than most of us could imagine.  She had the pleasure of traveling and visiting her ancestral   home community of Eichstetten, Germany and meeting relatives living there.  She enjoyed when her family came to visit her and would cook some favorite dishes including venison, potato salad, and desserts.  She had a deeply spiritual heart, fully understanding that today is a gift not to be squandered but lived to its fullest.
Irene will be sadly missed by her children, Bryon Carlson of Lake Bronson; Sandi and Les Jensen of Cordes Lakes, Arizona; Daniel Carlson of Louisville, Kentucky; and Sonja and Daniel Simonson of Eveleth, Minnesota; grandchildren: Tatum Carlson and fiancé Aaron Chochrane of Lake Bronson; Tracy Jensen and partner Curtis Johnson of Salt Lake City, Utah; Tanya and Shig Yoneda of Laguna Niguel, California; Clint Carlson of Louisville; Dana Simonson and husband, Jon Lahti, of St. Paul; and Tina Simonson and husband, Mike Elam of Woodbury.  Great grandchildren:  Adrian Carlson, Dahlia Carlson, Kiku Yoneda, Ben Yoneda, Sven Lahti, Stieg Lahti, and Owen Elam, many nieces and nephews, other relatives and friends survive Irene.
She was preceded in death by husbands, Swen and Paul; parents; brothers, Walter, Otto, Albert Jr., Bennie, Leonard, and Harold; sisters, Lorraine Hord, Eleanor Johnson, and Edna Field Nesteby.
Irene had been a resident of Karlstad Health Care Center since February 2011.  She was unfortunately and unexpectedly called away from the only community she had ever known on November 18th, 2014.
“Saying ‘Goodbye’ is difficult; we never learn to be good at it”
   Funeral services are scheduled for Saturday, November 22, 2014 at 2:00 p.m. in Resurrection Community Church at Karlstad.  Interment will be in the Karlstad City Cemetery.  Visitation will be held at the church for one hour prior to the funeral service.  Rev. Gary Halverson, presiding; Bev Heppner, organist; Everett and Kathy Englund, special music.  Casket bearers will be Irene’s family. The Austin Funeral Home of Hallock is in charge of arrangements.

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