Clarine “Babe” Irish, 88
Clarine “Babe” (Knutson) Irish passed away peacefully February 12, 2017 on her 68th wedding anniversary. She was 88 years old. Babe was the beloved wife of Norman Irish, Sr, whom she married on February 12, 1949, and loving mother of Norine, Norman Jr., and Michael. Norman Sr. preceded her in death in 2010.
Babe was born on May 3, 1928 in Milwaukee to Clarence and Agnes Knutson. She was born and raised in downtown Milwaukee, where her family owned a historical mansion that they operated as a boarding house. Babe was traveling by train to Kempster in the fall of 1948 with a friend who had family in the area. It was there that she met Norm at Jack and Jill’s Custard Shoppe. They exchanged love letters over a period of a few months and then married on February 12, 1949. The young couple moved to the mountains of Du Boise, Wyoming where Norm and his brother, Bob, operated Irish Brothers Logging. Babe drove the log truck up and down the mountainside for them. They moved back to Kempster and bought a farm where they raised their children. Norm Jr. and Renee bought the homestead in 1999, where Norm Sr. and Babe continued to live until, at different times, both became residents of Eastview Medical and Rehab Center.
Her greatest joy in life was her family. Babe was very proud of her Norwegian heritage and is remembered as an avid reader who adored soaking up the sun as often as she could. She always had a rhyme or song she sang along to no matter what she was doing. They loved to go on road trips all over the country where she collected a souvenir spoon from every state and city and displayed them proudly. She loved to shop and take long walks even with her walker as the years gained on her.
Babe was an active and dedicated member of the Kempster United Church of Christ. Though, she loved to attend the Upper Pigeon Lutheran Church near her family’s farm in Hixton, WI. This is the church she was baptized in as a baby. She had enjoyed the Women’s Circle meetings at the UCC Church and was always there to volunteer as the Sunshine Lady. While a resident at Eastview she continued to enjoy all church services held there.
Babe is survived by two of her children, Norine Wegner, Fort Worth, TX and Norman (Renee) Irish, Kempster; Daughter-in-law Deb Irish, Antigo; brother, Manuel Knutson, Lady Lake, FL, sister-in-law’s, Virginia Irish, Antigo, Elizabeth Drake, Antigo; grandchildren, Morgan (Doug) Finn, Jonathan (Tabitha) Irish, Brandon Irish, Michiel Irish, Brooke (Brad) Stevenson, Cassandra Irish, Cory Wegner, and Kristine Irish; great grandchildren, McKenna, Anderson, and Hunter. She is also survived by many nieces and nephews. She is preceded in death by her husband, mother and father, mother and father in-law; siblings, Alva Knutson, Marvel (Arnie) Schroeder and Richard (Carol) Knutson; brother-in-law’s, Robert Irish and Richard Drake; son-in-law, Guy Wegner, and son, Michael Irish.
As per her wishes, no formal funeral will be held. She will be buried in the spring at the Kempster Lakeside Cemetery. All are welcome to attend a celebration of her life at that time. The family would like to thank all of the caregivers at Eastview Medical and Rehab Center for their wonderful care during her stay.
Babe was a loving mother, grandmother, and great grandmother who adored spending time with her family and will be greatly missed.