Irene Braaten passed away at the age of 93 the morning of Friday, August 2, 2019, at Palouse Country Assisted Living, Fairfield, Washington, a farming town South of Spokane. Irene was the widow of Howard Braaten, a WWII veteran who died in 1964.
Born to Anton and Anna Abraham at New Ulm, Minnesota, on July 4, 1926, Irene grew up and worked on the family farm located near the town of Gaylord, Minnesota. She was baptized and confirmed into the Lutheran faith at Emmanuel Lutheran in Gaylord. She moved with her family to McCone County in eastern Montana, in 1944. Irene worked hard doing chores and filling in while her older brother, Ray, served in the Army.
Irene married Howard Markus Braaten on March 15, 1947. She and Howard purchased a farm 10 miles northwest of Kalispell in 1956, where Irene continued to raise her children after the death of her husband in 1964. She was happy to be a mother and homemaker and to live life on the farm. When the children were grown, she sold the farm and moved into the town of Kalispell, where she enjoyed new activities and friends until moving to Spokane in her elderly years.
Irene is survived by four daughters and one son: Linda (David) Dybwad of Tacoma, WA, Anita (Larry) Day of Chelan, WA, Connie (Ron) Price of Spokane, WA, and Renee (Terry) Best of Spokane, WA, and James (Becky) Braaten, who recently moved to Wenatchee, WA. She is also survived by 12 grandchildren—Michael Braaten, Cindy Carrigan, Kim Kazmark, Amy Courtney, Matthew Dybwad, Joe Day, Jamie Sagastume, Carly Tu, Markus Burns, Cody Braaten, Jennifer Braaten, and Katherine Williams, plus 23 great grandchildren and 2 great-great grandchildren.
Irene was preceded in death by her husband, Howard (age 46) in 1964, her brother, Ray, in 1997, and by three children—daughters, Darlene, age 13 months in 1948, Carol, age 46 in 1995, and recently by her son, Reuben, age 73, in June, 2019.
Howard and Irene were members of Trinity Lutheran Church in Wolf Point and joined Trinity Lutheran Church when they moved to Kalispell. Irene remained a member of Trinity and raised her family faithfully attending church. Her faith in God was important to her and sustained her through many challenges. Gardening, sewing, and baking bread were a big part of Irene’s activities as she did her best to raise her children on the farm. After her children were grown, she enjoyed serving with the Trinity Quilters, where her sewing skills contributed to thousands of quilts sent all over the globe through Lutheran World Relief. She contributed for many years organizing luncheons for church and was a member of the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League. Irene was an avid reader and enjoyed crossword puzzles. Being of German descent, a highlight of her life was a trip to Germany in 1978, seeing the sights from the life of Martin Luther with a church tour group. Irene loved spending time with her children and grandchildren and made many contributions to their lives over the years. We will miss her dearly, but we are so happy to think about her now with Jesus and her Heavenly Father, joining all her family and friends in heaven that have gone before her.
Family and friends are welcome to celebrate the life of Irene Braaten on Saturday, August 17, 2019. There will be a Committal Service beginning at 11:00 am at Trinity Lutheran Cemetery (Whitefish Stage Road and Rose Crossing), followed by a memorial service at Trinity Lutheran Church at 12:30 pm. Those attending are invited to a luncheon after the service. A viewing and visiting time for family and friends is scheduled from 4 – 6pm on Friday, August 16, at Johnson-Gloschat Funeral Home. Memorial donations may be made to Trinity Lutheran Church Mission Fund, 400 W. California St., Kalispell, MT 59901.