Irene Lois Wohlfarth

Irene Lois (Peterson) Wohlfarth of Kearney, Mo., passed through Heaven‘s gates on Wednesday, May 2, 2018 with her son, Kurt, and daughter, Loree, at her side.

Irene was born to Carl and Lois (Jansen) Peterson on May 18, 1930 in Chicago, Ill.  Her father, a Swedish imigrant enjoyed teaching his five children about his homeland and language, but was adamant they be raised as proud Americans.  Irene‘s mother, was Dutch and embraced the Swedish life and supported her husband‘s desire to enhance their American home with Swedish traditions.  When Irene was 9, her father passed away suddenly.  Lois took over the family business, hired a housekeeper and began giving Irene more responsibilities in the kitchen and in raising the smaller children.

Irene took a serious interest in Sweden. At the age of 16 she boarded a ship in New York and traveled 10 days to spend six months with the relatives in Sweden.  The ship was once a luxurious ocean liner that had been refurbished in W.W. II to be a hospital ship.  Irene loved spending time on deck with the “mine spotters“ searching the waters for mines left in the water after the war.  Irene surprised herself with the fact that this did not scare her – she found it exhilarating.  Once Irene arrived in Sweden she learned Swedish fluently and enjoyed a close kinship with the Swedes.  She was fortunate to visit Sweden three additional times throughout her life.

Irene met her husband, Chester (Babe) when they were children.  Both families had cottages on Lake Dalecarlia, Ind., and would spend their summers at their cottages.  Irene‘s brother, Bob, and Babe became best friends and once the children grew into the teenage years, Babe noticed that Irene was more than just Bob‘s little tag-a-long sister.  They started dating when Irene was 17, became engaged and married when she was 19 and Babe was 20.  Irene said Babe went to work everyday and came home to a typical housewife, complete with gingham dresses and a 1 day a week cleaning lady.  After a while, Irene wanted to get a job and was soon working as a receptionist in a beautiful office downtown Chicago.  How she loved dressing up for work and taking the train downtown.

Kurt Charles was born to Irene and Babe a couple years after marriage and Irene resigned her job to raise Kurt.  As Kurt grew into a toddler, Babe and Irene felt they needed to move to the lake cottage so Kurt would have a yard in which to play, as a little child should.  They were active in the lake church and made lifelong friends there.  It was a fun life for the young couple. Irene sang with The Evangelaires, which was a women‘s trio and they even cut a record.  Babe, Irene, and Kurt sang and played guitars with The Melodiers.

Eight years later, Lorene Dale (Loree) was adopted into the family and Irene named her after her mother, herself and her sister.  Babe thought that was a lovely idea – so did Grandma who helped Irene think of names!

In 1962, they moved to northern Minnesota to attend Oak Hills Bible Institute. The plan was to go into a foreign mission field after graduation, but God had other plans and they remained at the college as the Deans for 18 years.  During this time, Irene returned to college and on her 50th birthday she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Humanities and Psychology.

In 1982, Irene and Babe moved to California.  Irene loved the warm California weather, scenery and the people.  She earned her real estate license and really enjoyed selling California property.  During this time, she and Babe opened and managed new luxury apartments.

In 1985, they moved back to the midwest, settling in Kansas City to be close to Kurt and his family.  It was at this time that Irene began a new career as Assistant Office Manager for a downtown KC law firm.  She loved being in the legal environment and was then able to acquire a position of Office Manager and Legal Administrator in a larger firm.  She loved this job and was very successful in this field.

In 1990, Irene was diagnosed with kidney failure.  She was treated with dialysis for several months and soon received a donor kidney.   She saw this gift as a new lease on life and followed doctor‘s order religiously.  Perhaps this is why her transplanted kidney thrived with her for 28 years.

Irene was a gifted writer.  She wrote about her life, her ancestors and her family.  Several years ago, she and
Babe started a book about their history for their children and grandchildren.  Irene added to the book as the years have gone by.

Irene always enjoyed writing letters and, as her cancer progressed, she wrote more and more letters as she felt this was a good way to stay in touch and encourage her friends and family.

Irene wrote that the two people who most influenced her were her mother, Lois, who lived the tenants of a strong Christian faith, and Babe who encouraged her in personal development, to speak her mind, to further her education and to service others by sharing her outstanding talents.  She had a special way of talking to her family when they were facing challenges and she prayed for her family faithfully.  She was a peacemaker.

Irene had a strong Christian faith which encouraged those who knew her.  She believed that when life was difficult and faced with tragedy, God was faithful to bring joy and a solution that was best for His child. She was a beautiful witness of Gods‘s love and grace.

Irene was proceeded in death by her parents; her siblings, Robert Peterson, Roger Peterson, and Dale (Peterson) Riemersma. Her beloved husband, Babe, passed away in June 2016.

Irene is survived by her brother, Gordon Peterson (Sharon); son, Kurt Wohlfarth (Jeanne); her daughter, Loree Wohlfarth; grandkids, Michelle Wohlfarth, Jana Schlossenberg (Eric), Robyn Jenne (Matt), Steven Davis (Kendra); great grandkids, Brooke Perkins (Carl), Taylor, Jakob, Jordyn, Tyler, Lainey, Anna, and Nora; and one great-great grandson, Kyler.

Our Sincere Condolences

Dear Loree-
After reading your Mom’s obituary, I’ve learned so much that I never knew about your Mom. What a lovely woman of God. I so wish I could be there on Sunday, but please know my heart will be with you. You will hear sweet stories, funny tidbits, and more things about your sweet mom. Your Mom is a big part of who you have become; you can take great joy in that, Loree.
Love, Denise