Irene Larson, mother, grandmother, wife, sister, friend and former teacher, television cooking personality, cherry pie baking award winner, community volunteer, and Lambeau Field bartender passed away Jan 26, 2022, surrounded by family and flowers from Irene’s recent 80th birthday celebration.
Irene was born Jan 23, 1942, on the farm in Longwood, Clark County, Wisconsin to Agnes and Claire Christman, growing up with siblings Don, Cecil, Charles, Laurabelle, Clara, and Martha. Irene spent her childhood throughout the Longwood area. Following the death of her mother, her family relocated to Birmingham, Alabama. Shortly after, her father fell ill and couldn’t care for his family, and Irene and her family returned to Wisconsin to be raised by aunts and older sisters and forming a close bond with her sister Martha. Irene graduated from Owen High School in 1960 and UW Stout with a degree in Home Economics Education in 1964.
While at Martha’s wedding to Ed Jensen, she met Lars Larson and they were married June 26, 1965, at Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Owen, WI. Besides being family, the couples became close friends, sharing many memories of Octoberfests, Wisconsin Dells, bowling, camping, and Packer games, becoming godparents to each other’s children. Lars unexpectedly passed away in May of 1994, weeks after the graduations of each of their 3 children, Lance, Laren, and Linda. Irene’s strength and compassion through those next tough years was exceptional and carried this warmth and love onto her grandchildren Paris, Chloe, Ally, Tate, Owen, and Lara.
Irene taught High School Home Economics at multiple schools in the Wausau and Madison area, along with many years substitute teaching in the Green Bay area. In addition to teaching at the high school level, Irene shared her joy of cooking with instructing at NWTC, along with many Prange’s Department Store cooking demos, and even trailblazed microwave cooking with segments on local TV channels. But most of all, she shared this joy and endless patience with her children and grandchildren, who will fondly remember tending to the giant gardens, many holiday meals, birthday cakes, neighborhood corn roasts, party-mixes, campfire cookouts, and chocolate pizza.
Irene thrived in her community work with the Green Bay Exchange Club, where she developed close and countless friendships through the years raising funds through Rib Fests, Galas, and Lambeau Field Beer booths. She worked tirelessly to raise awareness and support the Exchange’s Clubs’ mission to help prevent child abuse, recognize outstanding youth, encourage patriotism, and assist other worthwhile community projects.
Irene is survived by her children, Laren (Sherry) Larson, Green Bay, Lance (Nicole) Larson, Green Bay, and Linda (Dan Kloepping) Larson, Middleton; her 6 grandchildren, Paris Larson, Chloe Larson, Ally Larson, Tate Kloepping, Owen Kloepping, and Lara Kloepping; a brother, Donald Christman; sisters, Martha (Ed) Jensen and Clara Raya; nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Lars Larson; her parents; her sister, Laura (Paul) Francel; her brothers, Charles (Janice) Christman and Cecil (Christine) Christman; a sister-in-law, Mary Christman; and a brother-in-law, Joseph Raya.
Friends may call at Proko-Wall Funeral Home, 1630 E. Mason Street, on Sunday from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. A Memorial Service will be held at 7:00 p.m. Sunday at the funeral home with the Rev. David Hatch officiating. Burial will be in Riverside Cemetery, Withee, WI. On-line condolences may be given at www.prokowall.com.
She will be remembered for her bravery in battling pancreatic cancer. Her kindness and dedication to community will not be forgotten. Heartfelt thanks to the nurses and team at Unity Hospice for the care and compassion in Irene’s final days.