Irene Ruth (Larson) LaStofka, age 95, passed away peacefully on October 4, 2023 at her daughter Karen’s home
in Appleton, WI, with her daughters Linda & Karen by her side.
Irene was born March 11, 1928 to Clarence and Ruth (Hoy) Larson at their home in rural Scandinavia and was the fourth of five children. She attended the Townsend country grade school at Smokey Valley Road, followed by high school in Scandinavia, graduating in 1946. Irene met her true love, David LaStofka, at a roller skating rink in Scandinavia and he often reflected that she wasn’t the best skater, but she was the best looking. After Irene finished high school, she desired to become a nurse and enrolled in the Evangelical Deaconess Hospital School of Nursing in Milwaukee. David had already enlisted in the US Army in 1944 and while in service for 2-1/2 years, they exchanged over 400 letters, which she has lovingly kept and upon his discharge from the Army, they became engaged to be married on June 21, 1947. Irene was to complete two more years of nursing school before they were united in marriage on October 15, 1949 at the Scandinavia Lutheran Church.
After Irene’s graduation from nursing school, she was employed at the Iola Hospital as a registered nurse for many years and assisted with the delivery of dozens of newborns. After Dave’s military discharge, he joined his father Ben LaStofka, brother Robert LaStofka and brother-in-law Jack Halverson, who were starting a mink ranch venture, called Wau-Wis Fur Farm, that would last for 25 years. Irene, along with sister-in-law Ruth Halverson and a dozen local friends would help with the mink pelting operation in the fall every year.
Irene always had a helping hand for anyone in need of assistance of any kind. She was a faithful member of Our Savior’s Lutheran Church and throughout the years became a 4-H leader, assisted with Luther League activities and enjoyed the company of her church circle group. Volunteering with her husband, she also delivered meals in the Iola area for 25 years and was a proud 30-year member of the Sons of Norway.
Irene had many hobbies, including sewing, quilting, reading, baking, cooking and shopping. She loved to entertain friends and family, most certainly cooking hundreds of ham & turkey dinners, dozens of pies and countless birthday cakes over the years. Irene was gifted with a love for music and would play her beloved piano by ear almost every day and she could play most any song you requested. Dave & Irene also had a large pond with an island and over the years it provided friends and family with swimming, fishing, skating and a gathering spot, creating many fond memories throughout the years. Irene, along with her husband were also fortunate to have traveled to almost every state, including Hawaii and many parts of Canada.
Irene is survived by her children; Larry (Leslie) LaStofka of Millbrae, CA, Linda LaStofka of Iola, Karen Grignon of Appleton and Steven (Debra) LaStofka of Greenville. She is further survived by brother Norman Larson of Waupaca; sisters-in-law Ruth Halverson of Iola and Nancy Larson of Elton. She is also survived by 8 grandchildren, 11 great-grandchildren, 2 step-grandchildren and 5 step-great grandchildren. Irene was preceded in death by her husband David; parents, Clarence and Ruth Larson; her father and mother-in-law, Ben and Bertina LaStofka; brothers Arne (Madelyn) Larson, Clifford (Maretta) Larson and David Larson; brothers-in-law Jack Halverson and Robert (Mary Lou) LaStofka; sister-in-law Elva Larson; son-in-law Scott Grignon; granddaughter Amy (LaStofka) Gross and nephews Scott Halverson and Chuck Larson. Irene was fortunate to have experienced a very long life and her memories will live on, but she will be deeply missed by her family and friends.
The funeral service for Irene LaStofka will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, October 14, 2023 at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Iola with Pastor Wendy Ruetten officiating, followed by burial in the parish cemetery. Visitation will take place from 9:30 a.m. until the time of service. The Voie Funeral Home of Iola is assisting with arrangements.