ESCANABA - Irene Elizabeth Johnsen, 93, of 6968 M.5 Lane (Soo Hill), Escanaba, passed away on Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2012, at the Christian Park Village surrounded by her loving family. She was born on Oct. 26, 1918, in Escanaba to Carl and Josephine (Thomma) Mattson, the second oldest of 11 children. Irene was a lifelong resident of Soo Hill.
On Nov. 7, 1936, the former Irene Elizabeth Mattson married Emil Johnsen in Escanaba and he preceded her in death in 1968.
Irene had a very special love for her family, especially her grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren. She was active in their growing years attending every activity to show her support and proudness.
Irene Elizabeth Johnsen
From 1973 1998, Irene was employed by the Escanaba Area Schools as a noon hour supervisor at the Soo Hill School. She took great pride in working with the children at Soo Hill School for over 30 years volunteering with the Foster Grandparent Program until the age of 90.
Irene enjoyed her gardening and especially liked giving advice when asked. She loved to pass her knowledge down through the generations. Her favorite annual Norwegian cookie "Fattigmand" baking was always a highlight each year. She made her Fattigmand cookies for over 70 years.
Irene also liked to sit and listen to school sports on the radio, as well as politics on television.
She was a member of Immanuel Lutheran Church, one of the first members of the Foster Grandparent Program, Rebecka Lodge, past Noble Grand, and Vasa Club.
Irene is survived by her daughter, Sue (Tom) Standing of Escanaba; the loving grandmother to six grandchildren, Randy (Debbie) Johnsen of Escanaba, Pam (Dan) Weddig of Gladstone, David (Geraldine) Johnsen of Wilson, Ward (Jill) Johnsen of Escanaba, Wendy (Dave) Gabriel of Rockford, Mich., Kristin (Greg) Bowen of Monument, Colo.; 15 great-grandchildren, two great-great-grandchildren; sisters, Violet (Peter) Collegnon of Mayville, Wis. Victoria Whitney of Superior, Wis., Helen Noel of Soo Hill; brother, Matthew (Mary) Mattson of Mayville, Wis.; sisters-in-law, Inez Mattson of Soo Hill, Leona Mattson of Mayville, Wis.; and several nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Emil in 1968; son and daughter-in-law, Tom and Carolyn Johnsen; and son and daughter-in-law, Dick and Marge Johnsen; sisters and brothers-in-law, Lillian (Clarence) Carlson, Virginia (Kenneth) Swanson, Lavina (Norman) Swanson, Isabel (Marvin) Anderson; brothers, Carl and Willard Mattson; and brothers-in-law, Tom Whitney and Ron Noel.
A visitation will be held from noon 2 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 10, at the Anderson Funeral Home in Escanaba. Funeral services celebrating the life of Irene Elizabeth Johnsen will follow at 2 p.m. in the Anderson Funeral Home Chapel with Rev. Judy Kincaid of Immanuel Lutheran Church officiating. Burial will take place in the Gardens of Rest Cemetery. A luncheon will be served at the completion of the services in the Immanuel Lutheran Church fellowship hall.
Those wishing to offer a memorial in Irene's honor are kindly asked to consider the Foster Grandparent Program or Immanuel Lutheran Church. Expressions of sympathy and online condolences may be directed to the Johnsen family at www.andersonfuneralhomes.net.