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Irene Vondrak

E. Irene Vondrak, 88, passed away peacefully on April 19, 2020 in her sleep at home with her husband of 68 years by her side.

Private Family Graveside Services were held 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, April 22, 2020 in Calvary Cemetery. Arrangements by Waterbury Funeral Service of Sioux City.

Irene Sands was born on May 13, 1931 at home in Anthon, Iowa to Robert and Minnie (Austin) Sands.

Irene had five brothers, one sister, and with her parents lived on different farms in the Moville and Anthon areas.

Irene attended various country schools and graduated from Central High School in Sioux City Class of 1949.  She always said that she loved school and loved to learn; she could spell any word and was a spelling bee champion.

Growing up Irene babysat many cousins and helped garden and can vegetables.  As an adult Irene would never garden or do canning because she said that she did it too much while growing up!

After high school graduation, Irene worked at Methodist Hospital as a switch board operator, she also kept the books for Beaulieu Station working until she met and married her husband.  Over the years Irene worked at the old Normandy Restaurant prepping the salad bar, at Palmer Candy and finally at Shopko in the domestics and apparel departments, retiring after working there 20 years.

Irene met her husband, Joe Vondrak, at a dance at the Tomba Ballroom in Sioux City, they spent many dates dancing at various ballrooms around Sioux City.

Joe and Irene were married on September 15, 1951 at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Sioux City, where they would remain parishioners their entire lives.

Once married, Joe and Irene decided to raise their family on the farm west of Hinton.  They settled on the original Vondrak homestead that was established in 1890.  The homestead would become a century farm in 1990.

While farming, Joe and Irene raised crops and livestock including chickens which allowed Irene to sell cage-free eggs (even before this was popular), this continued until her death.  She always had cats and she was the ultimate housewife — cooking, cleaning, and answering the phone.

To their marriage seven children were born; Kevin, Joan, Mike, Denise, Shelly, Mary, and Beth.  Irene was devoted to her children and her grandchildren.  She spent many years watching them after school, attending ball games and concerts at Hinton Community School and watching them show projects at the Plymouth County Fair.

The grandchildren love the memories of Grandma always having something baked, usually brownies and homemade malts, waiting for them when they got off the bus at her home every day after school.

Irene loved to dance, read and watch western shows.  She was a history buff with a special interest in World War II and the Civil War.  With the help of her daughters, she was able to remain at home with her husband, which was one of her wishes.

Left to cherish her memory are her husband, Joseph Vondrak; her children, Kevin (Jody) Vondrak, Joan (Brad) Rowe, Denise (Scott) Pfeifer, Shelly (Kevin) Huebner, Mary (Lee) Holder, and Elizabeth Vondrak; grandchildren Matt Rowe, Kole Vondrak, Kyle Vondrak, Aly Vondrak-Jurgensmeier, Bailey Pfeifer, Emma Pfeifer, Megan Pfeifer, Kelsie Huebner, Mallorie Huebner, and Ethen Huebner

She was preceded in death by her son, Mike; her grandson, Ryan Rowe; her parents, Robert and Minnie Sands; her  in-laws, Joseph Sr. and Edna Vondrak; four brothers and her sister; and her best friend, Doris Ross-Williams.

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