Irene Fern Van Berkel (Obbink) was born on November 29, 1925 to Richard and Nellie Obbink of Hawarden, IA. She was the first of nine children. She grew up on the family farm and attended school through the 8th grade.
Irene met Mitchell Van Berkel in the country school yard where she and her brothers were playing ball. Mitch and Irene dated for three and a half years before getting married on November 29, 1945. They made their first home on a farm near Hawarden, IA. In 1960, they moved to Hardwick, MN. They were blessed with 8 children.
Irene enjoyed many Bible studies over the years. She also helped organize the prayer chain at her church. She loved to sing, and will be remembered for singing and humming a religious song throughout the day.
Irene enjoyed working on the farm alongside her husband. She organized his "bookwork" for the many things he was involved in, including the farm, Hope Haven wheelchairs, and checking fields as the weed inspector for several townships. After moving to town, she worked at Fey Industries for over 10 years. She loved to listen to sermons from a variety of ministers, any day of the week. She contributed to the church tape ministry for many years. Irene loved working on photo books and family history and gifted her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and many other family members with a book of family history. The highlight of her year was attending family Bible conferences at Lake Geneva, MN. She also loved to attend her children's activities.
Irene is lovingly remembered by her husband, Mitchell; her children, Ron (Cheryl) of Erlanger, KY, Arnie (Candyce) Visalia, CA, Arlene (Larry) Punt of Edgerton, MN, Linda (Scott) Belgrave of Crestwood, IL, Gerry (Lisa) of East Bethel, MN, and Carol of Villa Park, IL; siblings, Earl (Janice) Obbink, Geneva (Vern) Van Zanten, Harvey (Mary) Obbink, Mel (Darlene) Obbink; sisters-in-law, Wilma Obbink, Donna Obbink and Adelene Brennemen; 16 grandchildren and 22 great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by son, Harry, and daughter, Nelva Dubbe; brothers, Ernest, Rich, Ed and John.
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