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Irene Franzen

irene franzen
Irene M. Franzen age 90 of St. Lucas, IA, died Friday, June 5, 2020, at her home surrounded by all her children. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, June 10, 2020, at St. Luke's Catholic Church, St. Lucas, with Rev. Nick Radloff celebrating the Mass. Interment will be in the church cemetery. Due to COVID restrictions, a luncheon will not take place. Friends may greet the family from 4:00 - 7:00 p.m. Tuesday, June 9, 2020, at St. Lukes Catholic Church, St. Lucas, with a 7:00 p.m. parish scripture service with Deacon Jim Zajicek presiding. Visitation continues an hour prior to the Mass at the church on Wednesday. All are invited to attend respectfully asking that social distancing practices be observed. Hugeback-Johnson Funeral Home & Crematory is in charge of arrangements. Irene M. Franzen was born on January 24, 1930, on the Croatt family farm near St. Lucas, IA. She was the daughter of Jacob and Josephine (Untz) Croatt. She and her four sisters — they also had a brother — grew up on the farm, and Irene was born with a work ethic. She helped her dad truck cattle to Oelwein, New Hampton, and Jackson Junction and did any other chores that needed to be done. She was always a farm girl at heart. She walked 1 1/2 miles to and from St. Lukes Catholic School in St. Lucas through the eighth grade, all the while helping her parents on their farm. On August 20, 1952, at St. Luke’s Catholic Church, St. Lucas, she married Albert Franzen, who made it home from the service right before the wedding. The couple was blessed with six children, and Irene worked alongside her husband on their farm. She milked the cows, she picked rock, she dragged the alfalfa and oats fields and she did it all while cooking up a lot of great meals. Irene and Albert appreciated that when things really got busy, her brother James would help bale hay and chop silage. In many ways, Irene was a teacher. She didn’t teach from a textbook; she taught her four daughters and two sons about life. They learned compassion from their mother as she cared for a sick barn cat or an orphaned raccoon named Chester. They learned how to share and a sense of fairness when she had one child “cut-up” the candy bars or divide the soda pop before the rest of the kids got first dibs at the treats. She taught them the importance of forgiveness, and the Franzen children still remember getting in trouble, their mother giving them heck and telling them “you wait until your father gets home” or “do this or else,” and they really didn’t want to find out what “else” was. Irene believed in hard work and teamwork; she and Albert were true partners in all areas of their lives, including the farm, and she passed down the importance of work ethic and working together to her children. At the age of 85, she was still hauling round bales to the yard. She believed in volunteer and charity, and she was always willing to give her time and talents to her family, friends, and community. Irene loved playing cards with her girlfriends, and she “ran” the games, and she had a special affinity for Christmas, one that she passed on to all of her children. Even late in life, as her family grew to some 65 members, she was insistent that she would pick out each gift for each of her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. She was an active member of St. Lukes Catholic Church, the Rosary Society, and the St. Lucas Auxiliary. Years ago, Irene and her friend, Alma Ameling, were reading the obituaries in a local paper and wondered, “We’re just farm wives, what are they going to write about us?” Here’s what they’ll say: Irene was the best teacher, best volunteer, hardest worker, best friend to others, and the best mom there ever was. She will be dearly missed by all who loved her, but her family takes comfort that she is now reunited with her beloved husband Albert. Her six children will tell you that Irene taught them “so many things, and one of them was caring. We were so glad to be able to take care of her and will never regret the time spent these last couple of months doing that. It was our gift to her.” Survivors include six children, Judy (Mike) Roach of West Union, Janice (Steve) Kuboushek of Conover, IA, Diane (Tom) Pippert of Reinbeck, IA, Bonnie (Daryl) Kuehner of Lawler, Jim (Laura) Franzen of Waucoma, Bob (Julie) Franzen of Hawkeye; 15 grandchildren; 19 great-grandchildren; sisters, Evelyn "Sis" Wurzer of Hawkeye, Rosemary (LaVerne) Franzen of St. Lucas; sisters-in-law, Diane Franzen of St. Lucas, Helen Franzen of West Union and Verena Croatt of West Union; brother-in-law, Florian (Pat) Franzen of Hawkeye. She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Albert Franzen on November 9, 2006; sisters, Mildred Dietzenbach and Louise Dietzenbach; brother, James Croatt; numerous brothers and sisters-in-law.

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  1. God bless the Franzen family at the loss of Irene. Our prayers go out to all family members. Marge and Dave Mayo Nashville North Carolina

  2. terribly she was a really great friend. I have known her for so many years. Rest in Peace Irene. Your friend and hairdresser Lori

  3. We want to wish all her family our deepest sympathy. I will miss her so much. She was like a mother to me. Rest in peace Irene

  4. I remember attending a Franzen family wedding many years ago, and since practically everybody seemed to be involved with the wedding somehow, I ended up sitting by myself before the ceremony. Until, Irene showed up. She spied me sitting there, came and sat with me the entire time, and I must say, we had a blast. She was indeed, a kind and caring person. My sympathy to her family.

  5. We were both on a bus trip to the Cranberry Festival in Warren, Wisconsin about 20 years ago. The last ones on the bus were two of her daughters, who wanted to get a bag of caramel corn. We all had so much fun.


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