Irene Elizabeth (Vandenheuvel) Erickson, age 85 of Cannon Falls, died on Sunday morning, January 29, 2017. She was born April 1, 1931 at home in Stanton Township to Edward and Estella (Fletcher) Vandenheuvel.
Irene attended a one-room school house in Stanton Township through the 8th grade. On Easter Sunday, March 25, 1951 Irene married Wayne Erickson, the love of her life at First English Lutheran Church in Cannon Falls.
Irene's first job was a telephone operator in Northfield. She worked at The Modern Cleaners in Cannon Falls for a number of years and also the High Quality Bakery for years. She drove the school van for children with special needs at the end of her career. During these years, Wayne and Irene also farmed full time until the early 1970's.
Irene was very active in the Church Ladies Aid, Bible Study and as a Sunday School Teacher at First English Church. Irene was also active in 4-H while her children were members. She was the baking leader for the Cloverdale 4-H Club and loved baking with the younger generation. Irene loved to spend time in the kitchen with Wayne or anyone who wanted to learn to cook and bake. They loved to share that knowledge and their recipes with others. She was a special lady who will be remembered for her strong hands and warm cinnamon rolls ready when her children got off the school bus.
Irene loved to spend her time with older people. She was a very caring lady who enjoyed visiting and playing cards with her older friends. She regularly went to the nursing home to help with crafts and just visit with the residents. She was always willing to lend a helping hand and help in any way she could, she rarely used the word no. She had a heart of gold.
Wayne and Irene were avid travelers. They often took trips together and with their friends. They always took the time to journal their adventures together and liked sharing these memories with family and friends. In their younger years, Wayne and Irene were members of a card club and loved music and dancing with friends. Wayne and Irene celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary on March 25, 2016.
We will always remember Mom and Grandma for her grateful heart filled with love for her husband, family and friends.
In keeping with Irene's loving and generous spirit, it was her decision to donate life so that others may live.
She is survived by her three children, Bill (Vicki) Erickson, Doug (Suzan) Erickson and Cindy (Mark) Sjoquist, all of Cannon Falls; 10 grandchildren, Corey (Stacey) Sjoquist, Shawn (Megan) Erickson, Kelly (Chris) Koppmann, Kathy (Travis) Haefs, Monica (Jacob) Dinauer, Peter (Brook) Erickson, Joe Erickson (Mickey Severtson, friend), William (Beth) Erickson, Molly (Ryan) Olson, Maggie (Brock) Wilson; and 26 great-grandchildren. She is also survived by her sister, Gladys (David) Lohman of Zumbrota, and many nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Wayne on March 29, 2016, 10 months to the day; her parents, Edward and Estella Vandenheuvel; sisters, Florence Woodward and Helen Sharp; brothers, Lloyd and Paul Vandenheuvel; and great-granddaughter, Kylie Jo Erickson.
Visitation will be held on Thursday, Feb. 2 from 4-7 p.m. at Lundberg Funeral Home in Cannon Falls. A memorial service will be on Friday, Feb. 3 at 11:00 a.m., with visitation from 10-11 a.m., at First English Lutheran Church in Cannon Falls. Inurnment will follow at the Cannon Falls Cemetery. Active urn bearers will be grandsons, Corey Sjoquist, Shawn Erickson, Peter Erickson, Joe Erickson, and William Erickson.
Memorials are preferred in Irene's memory to First English Lutheran Church, Cannon Falls.