EDINA, MN – 1928-2019. With sorrow, and with joy, we announce the peaceful death of our beloved mother Irene on March 16, 2019, in Edina, Minnesota. Irene’s Family Tree DNA showed her to be 99% Finnish, so it was fitting that she passed away on St. Urho’s Day.
Irene was predeceased by her husband Bernie in 2014.
She is survived by her four children: Lauren (John predeceased) Vary, Cindy (Juan predeceased) Herakovic, William Kallio and Karen (Mark) Baril. Irene has nine grandchildren: Jason (Karen) Vary, Neil (Janet Greene) Vary, Beth Vary, Chloe Herakovic, Gina Herakovic, Kassandra Kallio (Roger), Luke Baril (fiancee Molly), Tess Baril (fiance Patrick) and Jackson Baril. And five great-grandchildren: Hayley, Abigail Violet and William Beaudoin; Claire and Owen Vary. Irene is survived by one brother, Richard (Eva) Perkins, and several nieces and nephews in Oregon and Michigan. Irene is also survived by her brother-in-law Bill (Molly) Kallio and sister-in-law Cheryl Perkins.
She was predeceased by her sister Helen Perkins, brothers Emil Perkins and Donald Perkins.
Irene Violet Hautaluoma was born August 20, 1928 in Ishpeming, Michigan to Aili Hautaluoma and Yrjo Kuusiniemi. She lived her first two years in Chatham, Michigan, then moved with her mother and step-father, Emil Perkins, to Hibbing, Minnesota. Irene attended grade schools in Hibbing. In 1942, during her freshman year of high school, the family moved to rural Brownsmead outside of Astoria, Oregon. Irene attended high school in Oregon. She worked every summer from the age of 14. Her first job was as a chambermaid, cleaning tourist cabins in Cannon Beach, Oregon. For several summers, she worked as a cannery worker at fish canning plants in Astoria. The month she turned 16, Irene joined the Fisherman’s Union as a Cannery Worker, cleaning, cutting and canning fish. Good students, which Irene was, got time off school to work in the canneries when certain salmon were running.
In her senior year, Irene was sent to Chatham, Michigan to live with her Grandma Hilma as she was widowed for a second time. Her mother Aili decided that Hilma (59) was too old to live alone. Irene and Bernie met in school and were quickly an item. Irene graduated in 1946 from Eben High School as the top student but was not officially the valedictorian as she had not attended that school for four years. In the summer of 1949, Irene returned to Oregon by train and worked as a check-out person at a grocery store. She made enough money to purchase her beautiful satin wedding gown in Portland. She and Bernie married on November 12, 1949 in Chatham. The family moved to Lake Linden, Michigan in 1955. Bernie logged and Irene raised four children.
Irene was a lifelong, avid reader and an excellent seamstress. She learned to sew her clothes in high school, and later made dresses and pajamas for her daughters. Irene valued education, kindness and good manners, instilling those values in her children as well as a love for dogs and cats. In their later years together, Bernie acknowledged an appreciation of Irene’s childrearing skills. She had a passion for golf, crossword puzzles and horse racing. Irene was an independent insurance agent for 25 years at the Kallio Insurance Agency in Lake Linden, along with Bernie and later on with son Bill.
Sincere thanks to Irene’s caring and kind physicians: Internist Dr Andrew Hamp and Pulmonologist Dr Jeffrey Johnson at the Park Nicollet Health Care System. Park Nicollet Home Hospice was invaluable in Irene’s last weeks. Heartfelt thanks to Yorkshire of Edina’s Chaplain, Carol Wachter, for her love and guidance.
Irene has donated her body to the University of Minnesota Medical School to support research and education.
A memorial service will be held at a later date, with burial in the Pine Grove Cemetery in Chatham, Michigan. Irene will be with Bernie and her beloved mother-in-law Mildred Kallio and her grandmother Hilma Lehto.