Irene Johanna (Theede) Trom, 95, was called to heaven on April 30, 2020, following a short illness, surrounded by her loving family in her home.

A private family funeral and Christian burial will be held at St. Philips Church. A Celebration of Her Life will be held later in the year when the health and safety of guests are not jeopardized. Memorials should be directed to CHI Health at Home, 1110 Hwy 75 N, Suite A, Breckinridge, MN 56520; Hankinson Senior Citizen’s Center, 111 3rd St. SW, Hankinson, ND 58041 or Hankinson Ambulance, 102 Main Ave N., Hankinson, ND 58041.

Irene was born October 8, 1924 in rural Fairmount, North Dakota.  The ninth of 10 children of Alton and Elizabeth Theede, Irene was born and raised on the same farm she later lived on as a farm wife for most of her life before retiring to Hankinson, North Dakota. 

Irene attended St. Francis Academy in Hankinson, North Dakota, living with her sisters during the school week in town. She graduated from high school in 1942.  After high school graduation, Irene attended Moorhead State College, Minnesota, for a summer and a year studying elementary teacher education, although she only taught for one year (not her cup of tea). Irene found other things more interesting like working as a welder in the shipyards of Sausalito, California, in WWII, serving as a radio operator for the Florida Airlines, working as a discharge agent at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and other government office work in St. Louis and California.

Irene and Allen F. Trom were married at St. Phillips Church in Hankinson, North Dakota on Sept. 14, 1948, settling on a dairy farm in rural Fairmount, North Dakota.  From this union, six children, 15 grandchildren, and 34 great-grandchildren were born. Irene had the gift of making each child and grandchild feel they were Grandma’s favorite (and they were).  Irene made a wonderful home for her husband and children. She was a great cook, farm helper, card player, dancer, bowler, gardener, canner, and homemaker with a boundless heart and a zest for life she passed on to her family.

Irene and Allen loved to travel and right after their marriage they went to California. Upon retirement, they enjoyed fishing, meeting new people, traveling in their motorhomes across North and Central America, and enjoying life. After Allen’s passing, Irene, along with her sisters, went on cruises to Alaska and the Caribbean, toured various European countries, and traveled across the country.  With her children, Irene also traveled to new parts of the US, visiting her sons in Missouri and Arizona, touring New Zealand, Australia, Italy, Mexico, Canada, England, and Ireland. Her favorite times were fishing with her sons on the rivers and at her lake home in Minnesota.

A woman of faith, Irene faced life’s challenges with a positive attitude. Her generous spirit was shown through her prayers for others; the baby blankets she made for family, friends, and strangers; her leadership with the hospital auxiliary and the senior center; her hospitality for anyone who happened to stop at her home; and doting on her family. She took great pride that she could cook a holiday dinner for her whole family and work at the church thrift store in her 90’s, calculating better than a calculator in her head.

Irene passed on advice to her family through her example and many words of wisdom to accept and deal with life as it comes such as: "It is what it is"; "This too shall pass"; "Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!" (coupled with a whack over the head with a fly swatter); and "it’s just Geld for the Coo."

Irene was preceded in death by her husband, Allen, daughter Susan, granddaughter Julie Reetz, eight siblings and her parents.  She is survived by her children: Jeffrey (Barb) Trom (Fairmount, North Dakota), Linda (Gordon) Reetz (Vermillion, South Dakota), Paul (Marsha) Trom (Fairmount, North Dakota), Pam (Gene) Mailander (Fulda, Minnesota), and Michael (Leigh) Trom (Lake Ozark, Missouri), 14 grandchildren, 34 great-grandchildren, and one sister (Dorothy Cossette, Fargo, North Dakota).

Frank Family Funeral Home is entrusted with arrangements.

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