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Irene Florence Mildren


IRONWOOD, Mich. - Irene Florence Mildren, 89, of Lake Road, Ironwood Township, passed on to be with her loving Savior, Jesus Christ, on Monday, Dec. 1, 2015, in Ironwood.

Irene was born on Dec. 20, 1925, in Ironwood, to Henry Nestor and Hilma Johanna (Syrjala) Hautala. She grew up with loving parents along with her four loving brothers. She was their only daughter and grew up in the Christian faith. At an early age, Irene learned the importance of community, liking people, working hard, and friendship. Irene's dad, Henry, was a prominent businessman in Ironwood Township. Irene's mother, Hilma, was Henry's partner in family, community and business.

Irene started working for her parents at a young age by tending to their store, Hautala's Country Store, after school. The business was located at the corner of Lake Road and Airport Road in Ironwood Township. She graduated from Luther L. Wright High School with the Class of 1943. She was a graduate of Gogebic Community College with a two-year degree in stenography after which she worked in Chicago and Detroit mainly in the customer service field.

On Jan. 23, 1950, she married Donald Walter Mildren. They were married at the Wesley United Methodist Church parsonage by the Rev. Gonser. Irene and Don were long-time members of St. Paul Lutheran Church (Christ Lutheran Parish) of Ironwood. Together, they shared their life of faith and were blessed with eight children.

Irene, along with her husband, owned and operated Mildren's Clothing, a women's apparel store. Additionally, they owned and operated the Crystal Spring Dairy, a bottled milk and ice cream shop. She was very involved in church work and spent time teaching Sunday School and Vacation Bible School. She was active in Women's Ministry and a member of St. Paul's Circle, Montreal Martha Circle and St. John's Circle. She was a two-year graduate of Lay School for Mission in Minocqua, Wis.

Irene had a strong faith and deeply cared about her family and other people. Her favorite part of the day was having daily devotions from the Bible. She was insightful, positive, kind, fun, and tried to stay true to her soul. For her, life was and is precious. It wasn't to be taken for granted and it mattered what happened to the world and its people.

She is survived by two sons and their wives, James Roy (Ellen) Mildren, Ironwood, and Ronald Ross (Lisa) Mildren, Land O'Lakes, Wis .; six daughters, Marilyn Patrice Mildren, Ironwood Township, Caroline Beth Bjorkquist, Elbert, Colo., Nancy Ellen Mildren, Corvallis, Ore., Sarah Jane Nurmesviita, Marquette, Lois Ann Mildren, Hurley, Wis., and Lisa Kay Mildren, Ironwood Township; grandchildren, Matthew Smith, Kahn Gorlewski, Mikayla PivertĀ“, Alec Mildren, Alisha (Patrick) Tramble, Johan Bjorkquist, Angelica (Justin) Van Goor, Kara Bjorkquist, Christopher Sparpanic, Nathanael (Renee) Sparpanic, Jason Mildren, Jill Mildren and Judy Mildren; great-grandchildren, Madison Mildren, Natalie Sparpanic, Elijah Sparpanic, Riley Sparpanic, Izzac Spolarich, Tae Tramble and Dominic Mildren; numerous nieces and nephews; and the family dog, Boo Boo.

Irene was preceded in death by her parents, Henry and Hilma (Syrjala) Hautala; her beloved husband, Donald Walter Mildren; her father-in-law and mother-in-law, John and Nora (Strom) Mildren; brothers and their wives, Arnold (Betty) Hautala, Raymond (Lempi) Hautala, Irwin (Geraldine) Hautala and Jack (Shirley) Hautala; and brother-in-law and wife, Orlo (Betty) Mildren.

Irene's Celebration of Life service will be on Tuesday, Dec. 8, at 11 a.m., preceded by visitation at 10 a.m., at Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church, 100 W. Midland Ave., in Ironwood, with the Rev. Kurt Kovanen officiating.

A light lunch will follow in the church fellowship hall.

Private committal and interment will be in Sunset Acres Cemetery, Ironwood Township.

Arrangements have been entrusted to McKevitt-Patrick Funeral Home, Inc., Ironwood. Condolences may be expressed online at


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