Irene Mae Stahl was born at home in 1922 to Oscar and Emma (Kendhammer) Grabhorn. She was their third child of 10. Irene passed away peacefully at La Crosse Brookdale’s Sterling House on July 12, 2022.
Irene lived in the La Crosse area her entire life. She and Glenn Stahl were married in 1941, eventually buying a small house on 21st Place in South La Crosse, where she lived for more than 75 years and where they raised their six children. It was here where she used her agricultural expertise and love of plants and soil gained from early years on her parents’ farm. Her home garden was a production marvel and for decades featured delicious vegetables and tomatoes, which she happily shared with the entire family. “Gramma’s tomatoes are the best!”
She tended the home garden, flower beds and yard with very little help until the last decade of her life, when her children pitched in, but always under her watchful keen eye! No weeds left unpulled and no blades of grass left uncut! “She was always at war with weeds and dust,” her children would say.
Her young family survived the post-WWII years with her fresh garden-grown and home-canned produce and with creative preparation of a variety of wild critters and unmentionable domestic farm animal cuts. Her children have vivid memories of these offerings, some with a great degree of fondness, like turtle stewed to perfection, and others with something substantially less than fondness, like raccoon prepared any way!
Irene remembered surviving the Great Depression years with hard work, handmade clothing and dedication to family values. It wasn’t an easy life, but she learned self-reliance and acquired a familiarity with tools that for her generation was mainly a man’s domain. She played a dominant role over the years in renovating her own family house which, according to family lore, originally was a farm structure. The small house became a neatly kempt family home. She began building an independent life upon the passing of her husband in 1990, after 49 years of marriage. Her home continued to be a familiar gathering place for her growing extended family.
Irene was preceded in death by her parents; her brother, Calvin (Mary) Grabhorn, three infant brothers, her sisters and their husbands Myrtle (Robert) Knobloch, Mildred (Ralph) Johnston, Leona (Kenneth) Johnson, husband Glenn Stahl, son Robert Stahl, and grandson David Stahl.
She is survived by two brothers, Reuben (Helen, deceased) Grabhorn and Albert (Eunice, deceased) Grabhorn; five children, Gerald (Mary) Stahl, June (Lawrence) Daellenbach, Joseph (Marlene) Stahl, John (Ann) Stahl and Michael (Cathie) Stahl, and her 16 grandchildren and step-grandchildren and their families. Her presence and strength lives on with her children.
Memorial services will be at 11 a.m. on Monday, July 18, at the Schumacher – Kish Funeral Home at 200 West Ave. S., La Crosse. Pastor Karyn Bodenschatz will officiate. Burial will take place at a later time in Mormon Coulee Memorial Park. Visitation will be at the funeral home on Monday from 10 a.m. until the time of service.
The family requests that, in lieu of flowers memorials can be donated to Gundersen Medical Foundation, Hospice, 1836 South Avenue, La Crosse, WI 54601 and the Stoddard American Legion Post #315, 414 Broadway St, Stoddard, WI 54658
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