The Free Press, Mankato, MN

September 29, 2013

Violet Esther (Heller) Irish


—   Violet Esther (Heller) Irish, age 90, passed away September 24, 2013 at Ecumen Prairie Hill in St. Peter, Minnesota. Funeral services will be 1:00 p.m. Thursday, October 3, 2013 at Grace Lutheran Church in Mankato. Visitation will be one hour before services. Interment will be at Woodland Hills Memorial Park. Woodland Hills Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

  Violet was a long-time area resident, living in Mankato, Minnesota for fifty years. She was born November 19, 1922 to Frank and Wilhelmina (Wendorff) Heller in Acoma Township, McLeod County, Minnesota. Violet was baptized at Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church in Acoma Township and confirmed at Friedens Lutheran Church in Hutchinson, Minnesota. She graduated from Hutchinson High School in 1941 and used her secretarial training to secure work at Collier's Magazine in Minneapolis and the Superior, Wisconsin shipyards.

  Violet married Lloyd Donald Irish of Redwood Falls, Minnesota on November 4, 1944 in Los Angeles, California. Upon Lloyd's return from military service at the end of WWII, the couple moved to Denver, Colorado. They returned to Minnesota in 1951, living in the Twin Cities area before moving to Mankato in 1961.

  Despite a life-long struggle with asthma, Violet was a tireless worker and always thankful for her ability to help others wherever the need arose. She generously volunteered her time to Grace Lutheran Church and was a member of the Mankato Lutheran Home Auxiliary, providing residents with free sewing and alteration services. When Lloyd was critically injured in an automobile accident, Violet provided the strength and direction to bring her husband and three sons through a long and difficult period of recovery.

  Violet was naturally artistic, creative and inventive. She saw potential for new life in almost any discarded object and delighted in collecting antiques and restoring old furniture. In addition to sewing, bowling and bridge, Violet especially enjoyed the many summers spent at the lake cabin she and Lloyd built near Hovland, Minnesota. Violet deeply valued her connections to friends and family and keenly felt the loss as her dearest memories faded with the progression of Alzheimer's disease. Still, her sense of humor, love of music and faith in God endured to the end of her life.

  Violet is survived by sons, Stephen (Eileen) Irish, Jeffry Irish, Dr. Joel (Carol) Irish; granddaughter Denice Stock; sister Elva Erickson; sisters-in-law Marlys Heller and Phyllis Leef; brothers-in-law Roger and Richard Dooner. She was preceded in death by her parents Frank and Wilhelmina Heller; husband Lloyd Irish; brothers Arthur and Roy Heller; sisters Gertrude Heller and Agnes Pikal, brothers-in-law Gordon Pikal and Donald Erickson, sister-in-law Adeline Heller.

  In lieu of flowers, the family suggests honoring Violet with a memorial donation to Grace Lutheran Church, the Alzheimer's Association, Minnesota's Hospice of the Valley or a charity of your choice.