Obit: Smith, Irja J. (1905 - 1997)

Contact: Linda Mertens

Surnames: Smith, Petersen, Karaba, Smith, Skifter, Krueger, Keskimaki, Hannula, Karaba, Wittek, Hamrick, Williams, Hansen

----Source – Helen Johnson’s Scrapbook

Irja Smith (27 Oct 1905 - 9 Dec 1997)

Irja Johanna Smith, 92, Owen, died Tuesday, Dec. 9, at the Clark County Health Care Center, Owen, where she had resided since September of 1995. Funeral services were held Monday, Dec. 15, at Nazareth Lutheran Church in Withee with Rev. Paul Petersen officiating.

Burial was held in Riverside Cemetery in Withee. Pallbearers were Rodney, Randy and Robbie Karaba, Marvin Smith, Darlene Skifter, and Scheree Krueger.

The former Irja J. Keskimaki was born October 27, 1905, in Ishpeming, Mich., to Isaac and Hanna (Hannula) Keskimaki. In 1916, she moved with her family to farm in the Town of Holway. Her father stayed in Michigan to earn money for the family by working in the mines. He was injured in the mines and died. After her eighth grade graduation from Forest Grove School in the Town of Holway, she did housework in Owen. Her marriage to Frank Smith took place on August 20, 1924, in Dorchester.

She and her husband farmed in the Town of Hoard until moving to Owen in 1953. She was then employed at Sutter Manufacturing; and in 1955, she worked at the Clark County Health Care Center in the laundry department and later as a nurse’s aid until her retirement. She enjoyed card playing, crocheting, tatting, knitting, traveling, fishing, and going to the casinos.

She was a member of Nazareth Lutheran Church.

Survivors include a son, Clifford (Lila) Smith of Mesa, Ariz.; two daughters, Joyce (Eugene) Karaba of West Bend and Shirley (Frank) Wittek of Withee; three sisters, Gertrude Smith of Manawa, Ingrid (Gordon) Hamrick of Medford and Edna Williams of Withee; 15 grandchildren; 33 great-grandchildren; and two great-great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Frank on October 1, 1983; a son-in-law, Joseph Karaba; three brothers: Martin, Eugene and Laurie Keskimaki; and one sister, Kathryn Hansen.



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