Herrem, Irene

Irene Herrem passed away in Ottawa, Ont. on the afternoon of March 10, 2016 while receiving the Last Rites of the Catholic Church with her daughter, Paula, by her side.
She was born Dec. 11, 1922 to Peter and Alice LaVigne (Perusse) in Rainy River, Ont.
The family moved to Fort Frances, Ont. in 1927, where her father worked for the C.N.R. and later for the Minnesota and Ontario Paper Company (Insulite Division) in International Falls, Mn.
Irene attended St. Mary’s School and Fort Frances High School. After graduation, she worked as a teller for the Fort Frances branch of the Dominion Bank until she married Harold Herrem on July 25, 1942.
Harold worked with his father, John, in the sash and door business, eventually becoming the owner and manager of Herrem Woodworkers on Victoria Avenue, while Irene was in charge of the home and central to raising the family.
She was a member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church and was a charter member of the Catholic Woman’s League, receiving her 50-year pin in June, 2005.
She also was a charter member of the La Verendrye Hospital Auxiliary, and was very active as secretary, and later as president, of the St. Mary’s Parent Teachers’ Association.
After marriage, Irene and Harold enjoyed several accommodations in Fort Frances before building a large brick house at 333 First St. E., adjacent to Harold’s parents, John and Annette Herrem, and a few short blocks away from Irene’s parents, who lived on Second Street.
This was a perfect location at the centre of things, with a hive of activities featuring innumerable get-togethers, including backyard summer picnics and sumptuous special day meals with extended family and friends.
Irene and Harold, accompanied by friends and relatives, also enjoyed summer outings on their picturesque idyllic island replete with log cabin, near Windy Point on Rainy Lake.
Over the years, the couple took frequent trips to Winnipeg, Thunder Bay, Duluth, and Minneapolis, and several small towns in Minnesota and Wisconsin. On occasion there were longer trips, to New Orleans, the Grand Canyon, and the West Coast (one by passenger train with bedroom and dome cars).
In addition, there were yearly journeys to visit Paula and family (Ottawa) and Peter (Janet) in Calgary.
After more than 50 years at the First Street address, Irene and Harold moved into a beautiful river-view second floor apartment in the Riverwalk Condo on Nelson Street. They thoroughly enjoyed this new location that afforded the opportunity to visit with old friends and to make new ones.
Irene enjoyed visits with friends in Rainycrest, and playing Bridge and cribbage with friends all her life and later in the common room of the Riverwalk Condo—their home from March, 2003 to June, 2011.
In 2011, Irene and Harold relocated to Ottawa to take up residence at Amica, an excellent assisted-living complex situated only eight minutes away from their daughter, Paula.
On July 25, 2012, the couple celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary at the Chateau Laurier in Ottawa. They had journeyed a long way since the “summer of 42!”
Irene was predeceased by her husband, Harold (November, 2012); parents, Alice (1989) and Peter LaVigne (1991 at the age of 102); and sisters-in-law, Astrid (Burt) Livingston, Alice Herrem, and dear Freda (David) Galbraith.
Irene is survived by her son, Peter (Janet) Herrem of Calgary, Alta.; daughter, Paula (Bill) Tholl of Ottawa, Ont.; three grandchildren, Erica (fiancé, Neil Hengeveld) Marleau, Gavin (Kimberly) Tholl, and Alexa Tholl; four great-grandchildren, Nicholas, Emily, and Julia Irene Marleau, and Marcus Tholl; as well as many nieces, nephews, and cousins in Canada and the United States.
Nephew Bill (Kate) Galbraith, and nieces Jean Galbraith and Annette (Len) Hamm, visited often.
There will be no funeral service, but Irene and Harold’s burial urns will be placed in the La Verendrye Columbarium in the Riverview Cemetery in Fort Frances at a later date.
In memoriam donations may be made to Osteoporosis Canada or the La Verendrye General Hospital Auxiliary.