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Irene May (Brown) Wiesjhan, 96, of Owatonna, Minnesota, died Wednesday, February 8, 2017 at Prairie Manor Care Center in Blooming Prairie, Minnesota.

Irene was born May 18, 1920 in Somerset Township, Steele County, Minnesota the daughter of Frank and Olga (Johnson) Brown.  She was baptized by Rev. O.G. Dahlager, June 20, 1920 at the parsonage in Lemond Township and confirmed at First Lutheran Church of Hope by G.J. Bretheim on October 21, 1934.  Irene attended all eight grades at District #12 and graduated from Owatonna High School in 1938.  Irene worked as a waitress at Mac’s Café, Owatonna Hotel, Arnold House, Enterprise Laundry and Jostens doing defense work during WWII.  On September 4, 1944, she was united in marriage to George Wiesjhan at the First Lutheran Church of Hope by Rev. C.T. Olson.  In 1951, they moved to a farm by Hope.  She also was a bookkeeper at the Speltz Elevator and Hope COOP Creamery.

Irene’s strong faith and dedication to First Lutheran Church was shown through her church work; serving as Sunday School teacher, President of Women of the ELCA, member of the Ruth Circle, quilting group, Altar Guild, Church Treasurer and Kitchen Custodian.  

Baking was Irene’s pride and joy.  She shared many of her favorite recipes with her family and friends including her special popcorn balls, brownies and her many angel food cakes.  She also enjoyed her garden and the plentiful harvest every year.  She received Grand Champion for her canned beef and received Champion awards for her pickles and peach sauce at the Steele County and Mower County Fair.  Irene loved her family and getting together for family gatherings.  She enjoyed traveling and visiting her son and family in Texas, Illinois, Ohio and Wisconsin.  In 2007, her son moved next door and those distant trips soon turned to daily visits with shared coffee, desserts, and reminiscing about the old days.  Irene enjoyed her “Scrap Booking”, a project her husband, George, started many years ago and she proudly continued.  She would spend hours and days collecting and updating her scrap books with newspaper articles with a collection of news, family histories and changing events throughout Steele County.  In other books, she had a collection of history from the area towns, all of which she gladly shared.

Irene is survived by her son, Glenn and Linda (Bates) Wiesjhan of Owatonna; grandson, Gregory and Bobbie Jo (Miller) Wiesjhan of Madison Lake; granddaughter, Kimberly and Robert Finley of Rochester; great grandchildren, Nicolas, Mitchell and Riley Ann Wiesjhan and Morghyn May Finley; nephew, David Vaith of Owatonna; great niece, Penny (Ptacek) Humpal of Columbia, TN;  and many nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Frank and Olga (Johnson) Brown; husband, George (July 31, 1999); grandson, Darrin Robert Wiesjhan; daughter-in-law, Sharon (Schultz) Wiesjhan; sister, Irma Vaith; brother-in-law, Frank Vaith and niece, June (Vaith) Ptacek.

Visitation will be at First Lutheran Church of Hope, Minnesota on Saturday, February 11th from 9:30 AM to 11:00 AM.  Funeral services will be held on Saturday, February 11th at 11:00 AM at First Lutheran Church of Hope with Pastor Sandy Miller and Pastor Dick Hegal officiating.  Interment will be in the Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Lemond Township.  Memorials are preferred to Zion Cemetery Association Ellendale, MN, First Lutheran Church of Hope or donor’s choice.  Michaelson Funeral Home is handling arrangements.


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