Irene Sylvia (Hassel) Lovly was born December 20, 1924, to Edion and Selma (Erickson) Hassel on the family farm near Rindahl, Minnesota, Bear Park Township, Norman County. She was welcomed by two older brothers, Sigvard and Milo. On February 15, 1925, she and her family traveled by horse and cutter to Norman Lutheran Church where she was baptized by Reverend K. P. Carlson. Her family grew to include another brother, Lloyd. In 1938 she was confirmed in the Christian Faith.
At age 14 Irene moved to Goodridge where her family owned Ed's Caf. Her early occupations were child care and working on nearby farms as a milkmaid. This included not only the milking but also filling and capping the milk bottles before they were brought into town. At her family's caf, Irene cooked, baked, and waitressed. It was here that a young man named Palmer, who drove a Ford coupe, met Irene. On February 15, 1941, they walked from the caf, across the railroad tracks, and were married at the church parsonage. In the early years Palmer's parents, Peter and Caroline, were their mentors as they worked side by side to establish the farmstead and raise their children. Irene once commented that she and Caroline did everything together, but she didn't think she would ever learn to bake bread. Those of us who enjoyed her homemade sweet buns know she mastered that task!
Palmer and Irene defined the term "soul mates." Together they persevered through the tough times and gave thanks for the good and simple things. She loved that he always brought her coffee, told her he liked what she wore, and made sure she got to Homemakers and Quilting! In her writings she noted, "He was so good to me. We had 66 good and happy years together."
Irene respected what others had done before her and in 1998 along with Palmer was recognized for her contributions toward preserving the history of Pennington County. In 2002 Irene was further recognized by being selected as one of her county's Outstanding Senior Citizens. Irene served Ekelund Lutheran for 70 years volunteering with the Ladies' Aid, Sunday School, Vacation Bible School, building committee, quilting, church council, and release-time. Her community work centered around 4-H, the Goodridge Historical Society, Homemakers, and anyone who needed a helping hand. Irene was truly dedicated to her faith, her family, and her many friends. In June 2015, after 74 years on the family farm, she decided to move to Valley Home Assisted Living in Thief River Falls.
Survivors include her three children: Carol Iverson, Bemidji, MN, Diane (Richard) Saurdiff, Warroad, MN, and John (Carol) Lovly, Goodridge, MN. Nine grandchildren: Linda (Jim) Autrey, Robert (Tammy) Iverson, Caroline Saurdiff (Tim Halstensgard), Corwin Saurdiff, Jenny Jacobson (Jason Woods), Michael (Audra) Lovly, Jessie Nelson (Shane Brandt), David Lovly (Kensie Haugen), and Jake Nelson (Kasey Nordby). Twelve great-grandchildren: Matthew (Amy) Petersen, Ryan Petersen (Amy Peick), Paige Saurdiff, Griffin Herr, Tucker Iverson, Caitlyn, Sawyer, and Shay Jacobson, Hannah, Haileigh Jo, and Austin Lovly, and Presley Brandt. Two great-great-grandchildren: Rose and Will Petersen. She is also survived by several nieces and nephews that were special to her as they kept in touch over the years.
Irene is preceded in death by her husband, parents, brothers, sister-in-laws, and son-in-law Iver Iverson.
Funeral service will be held at 10:00 AM on Saturday, September 16, 2017 at Ekelund Lutheran Church near Goodridge, MN with Rev. Kristin Ostercamp officiating. Burial will follow at the Ekelund Church Cemetery. Visitation will be held from 5:00 PM until 8:00 PM with a 7:00 PM prayer service on Friday, September 15, 2017 at Johnson Funeral Service in Thief River Falls, MN. Visitation also one hour prior to the funeral on Saturday at Ekelund Lutheran Church.
In her final days Irene talked about going to be with her Lord and joining Palmer in Heaven. Our Gracious God provided her that peace September 6, 2017, at the age of 92 years, eight months, and 17 days.
Condolences may be sent at www.johnsonfuneralservice.com