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Irene Emma (Knochenmus) Olson

September 27, 1926 ~ September 5, 2023 (age 96) 96 Years Old


A Funeral Service for Irene E. Olson of Roseau will be held on Friday, September 15, 2023 at Messiah Lutheran Church in Roseau at 11:00am with a visitation an hour prior. Interment will be held at Malung Cemetery.

Memorials can be directed towards the Roseau County Historical Society.



Irene E. (Knochenmus) Olson, age 96 of Roseau, MN died at Roseau Manor on September 5, 2023.  Irene was born September 27, 1926 in Woods Township, Chippewa County MN the daughter of Rudolph and Luella (Olson) Knochenmus.  She was 8 years old when she moved with her family to Roseau, MN.  Her mother died in 1934 and her father in 1936.  She lived with her Uncle Frank and Aunt Edna Knochenmus until 1941 when she was a sophomore at Roseau High School.  She graduated from Denfeld High School in Duluth, MN in 1943 at the age of 16.  She married Joel J. Olson on April 11, 1945.  She was busy on their farm south of Roseau, raising their seven children, three boys and four girls.  Irene loved gardening, especially her flower garden, sewing beautiful dresses for her daughters and entertaining family and friends.



The family moved into Roseau in 1962.  She was the secretary for Mr. Oscar Almquist, principal of Roseau High School for 9 years and worked at Polaris for over 13 years.  In 1991 she co-chaired the Central Committee that produced the Roseau County Heritage book for the Roseau County Historical Society.  In 1994, Hazel Wahlberg and Irene co-chaired the committee that produced the Roseau County Centennial 1995 book.  Irene loved history and kept her personal journals since 1960.  She did the research for the pictures “Remembering Roseau County” in the Roseau Times Region since 1991 and the radio program “Looking Back in Time”, stories of Roseau County settlers for 13 years.  She was on the Roseau County Historical Board, being President, Vice President and serving on the board since 1990.  She was an over 50 year member of her Messiah Church women’s group, member of the Roseau American Legion Auxiliary,  and the Roseau Garden Club and Homemakers of Roseau.


Irene loved snowmobiling with Joel and family.  Joel and Irene along with David and Eleanor Johnson went on a 500 mile trip through eastern MN on snowmobiles, staying in cabins wherever they ended up at the end of the day.  One of her life dreams was a cabin in Beltrami Forest, which she got to fulfill with the help of her children.  She and Joel lived there enjoying the neighbors, birds and wildlife for 6 years, a beautiful small piece of heaven surrounded by the deep forest.  Many family gatherings were enjoyed at the cabin. 


Irene enjoyed cooking and baking bread and entertaining for special holidays, family birthdays, organizing Olson family reunions held at the “Olla garden”- Olson Farm every 10 years, the first one being held in 1979, with over 120 direct descendants attending the reunion.


Irene is survived by her children Judy (Duff) Marshall of Hayes Lake near Roseau, Gail (Doug) McLean of Kuna, ID,  Jack of Roseau, David (Colleen) of Roseau, Nancy (Tim) Anacabe of Warroad, Sally Olson of Roseau and daughter-in-law Robin of Hibbing; 17 grandchildren, 37 great grandchildren, 2 great great grandchildren and many nieces and nephews. 


She was preceded in death by her husband Joel; sons Wayne and Jon; great grandson Gauge; parents Rudolph and Luella (Olson) Knochenmus; and siblings Agnes, Florence, Paul, Jean, Eleanor, Louis.



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Funeral Service
September 15, 2023

11:00 AM
Messiah Lutheran Church (Roseau)


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