Irene A. Okner
Beloved Mother, Grandmother, and Great-Grandmother
Died on November 21, 2020, at the age of 103 in St. Paul, MN. Born on January 10, 1917 to Albina and Martin Wioch in Brooklyn, New York, she is pre-deceased by her parents, her loving husband Luke, her brother, Thaddeus Wioch and her sister, Henrietta Wioch Nowak. Irene is survived by her 3 sons: Donald T. Okner, J.D. and wife, Madeleine Okner (NJ), Thomas L. Okner, M.D., F.A.C.S. and wife Mary Ann Okner, M.A. (FL ) and Glenn J. Okner, O.D. and wife, Marla Okner, Ph.D. (MN); seven grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.
Irene married Luke J. Okner on August 20, 1944. She spent most of her married life raising her three children in Irvington, NJ and Short Hills, NJ. Following her husband’s death, she later moved to Holiday City in Toms River, NJ.
Irene was an accomplished dress-maker. She was employed early on in her life in the Custom-order, Ladies' Fashion department of Bergdorf-Goodman, New York City. As the family expanded, she delighted in designing and producing dresses for her granddaughters as well as elaborate theatre and Halloween costumes. Her talents were extraordinary.
Irene loved traveling to visit family on both coasts; she travelled to Hawaii and enjoyed many trips abroad, including Poland, Italy and the Holy Land. Following 8 decades on the East Coast, Irene moved to Minnesota, settled in Stonebridge in West St. Paul and joined the Church of St. Joseph. She loved living near her sons’ families and attending her grandsons’ sports and school concerts. Along with being a voracious reader, Irene took up the study of Water Color Painting in her early 80’s and exhibited and sold her artistic pieces in 6 Annual Exhibits at the Dakota County Historical Society Museum in South St. Paul, MN.
Irene lived at Walker Methodist Westwood Ridge Senior Living in West St. Paul and in 2019 she moved to Shirley Chapman Sholom Home East in St. Paul. She will be remembered for her great family love and ethnic pride, her ever-present Brooklyn (NY) accent and her joyful, encouraging spirit.
The Okner family wishes to extend their deep gratitude to the fine medical professionals and care-givers at both Walker Methodist Westwood Ridge and Shirley Chapman Sholom Home East.
Mass of Christian Burial will be 11AM, Wednesday, November 25, at The Church of St. Joseph (1154 Seminole Avenue in West St. Paul, MN). Interment will be at a later date in Gate of Heaven Cemetery in New Jersey. In lieu of flowers, donations are preferred to the Church of St. Joseph, 1154 Seminole Avenue, West St. Paul, MN 55118 or American Cancer Society.
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