Irene Willer

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Irene Louise Willer, 79, of Lawton, passed away Sunday, Jan. 1 2017, at a local care facility.

Services were held at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, January 4 at Lawton Community Presbyterian Church, with the Revs. Jim Wilson and Cyndy Ripperger officiating. Burial was in Banner Township Cemetery.

Arrangements are under the direction of Morningside Chapel, Christy-Smith Funeral Home in Sioux City. Online condolences can be made to the family at www.christysmith.com.

Irene was born on July 30, 1937, in Sioux City, the daughter of John and P. Eileen (Larsen) Johnson.

Irene would often reminisce about the times that she spent with her father. At the age of nine, her father passed away. She would cherish his memory from that day on.

Irene grew up in the Lawton area and attended Lawton schools.

Irene married James “Jim” Willer on Oct. 9, 1953 in Elk Point, S.D. They lived their entire married life outside of Lawton on the Willer family farms.

Many times, she would mention how thankful she was to have married into a loving family. She was a farmer’s wife and was so happy to live a country life. She made a loving home with her husband and their four children, Connie, Kevin, Becky, and Scott.

Irene enjoyed cooking and baking. During the summer months, she spent her time in her yard, filled with flowers and tending to her garden. At the end of the season, she was busy canning and freezing produce that had been grown.

Irene was a member of Lawton Community Presbyterian Church. She helped with church harvest suppers and donated time and food for church funerals.

She was active with the Lawton-Bronson PTA. For a short time, she was a member of the Lawton Fan Club.

In her later years, she enjoyed reading and working on puzzles. And once grandchildren entered the picture, she was filled with pure joy.

At the age of 65, Irene was diagnosed with dementia. She was able to stay on the farm with her husband for a few years. She moved to Char-Mac Assisted Living for a year, where she was met with love, care, and understanding.

From there she moved to Sunrise Health Center. Also at Sunrise, she found a dedicated, hands on staff. Their first and only priority was the care and continued dignity for their residents. For this, we express our heartfelt thanks and gratitude.

We are thankful that our mom was able to find her smile and twinkle in her eyes again. She seemed to be content and at peace with her new surroundings — finding new ways to live and new friends, who were dealing with their own health issues. She handled her last years with grace.

Irene is survived by two daughters, Connie (Mike) Salviola of Sioux City, and Becky (Jerry) Holbrook of Dakota Dunes; one son, Scott (Kay) Willer of Phillipsburg Kan.

She was blessed to have 10 grandchildren, Jennifer Cosgrove, Courtney Pottebaum, Christopher Cosgrove, Jillian Werder, Casey Willer, Katie Haak, Karlee Lund, Erik Willer, Thaine Willer, and Bradley Willer; nine great-grandchildren, Connor, Liam, and Reilly Stawicki, Trinity and Tenley Pottebaum, Hannah and Avery Willer, Emmaline Werder, and Grayson Haak; sisters-in-law, Carlene Davis and Barbara Willer; and many nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her husband; son, Kevin; her parents; sisters and brothers-in-law, Helen (John) Cross, and Doris (Gerald) Uhl; brother, Daniel Johnson; and great-grandsons, Peyton and Tayden Pottebaum.

Memorials can be directed to Lawton Community Presbyterian Church and Hospice of Siouxland.

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