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Welcome to the memorial page for

Irene (Eberhardt) Kolb

June 20, 1927 ~ October 10, 2017 (age 90)


MADISON-On October 10, 2017 God called Irene Kolb home to His realm. She passed at Agrace Hospice in Fitchburg, WI.

Irene was born June 20, 1927 in Manitowoc, Wisconsin.   Her father, Ernst Eberhardt, had died just one month prior to Irene being born.   Her mother, Martha, was a brave woman who rose to the challenges that faced her.  Growing up during the depression was hard -- Irene shared stories of eating lard sandwiches and putting cardboard in her shoes.

Irene graduated from Lincoln High School, graduating with the 1945 class. After graduation Irene worked for businesses in Manitowoc.

On April 12, 1947 Irene was united in marriage to Merlin R. Kolb in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. Irene and Merlin operated farms in the Manitowoc area until November 1961 when they moved to Madison, WI.

Irene was employed by CUNA Mutual Insurance Society in February 1962. Irene worked in the Comptroller’s office and eventually directly for the Comptroller.   CUNA employees and peers recognized Irene for her work ethic and willingness to help others. Irene retired from Cuna June 30, 1992 after a 30 year career, marked by a CUNA Atrium presentation attended by many CUNA employees, management, and CEO plaque presentation.

Though Irene had a distinguished professional career, her true pride and joy were her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Never did anyone have to ask twice for Grandma to provide “taxi service” to a doctor’s appointment, help with emergency baby sitting or ill child day care.  Irene loved to have the grandchildren over to her house for pizza parties, cookie baking, or just watching TV.   She was always there.

Irene is survived by  children,  Donna (Mike) Bischoff, Beverly (Karl) Krueger, Nancy (Pastor Ellery) Groth, Gerry (Debbie) Kolb, daughter in law, Jan Kolb and   beloved grandchildren Rebecca (Bryant) Welch, Robert (Dana) Kolb, Michelle (Chris) Lakner, Danielle (Chris) Reis, Hans (Kim) Krueger, Kurt (Ali) Krueger, Apirat Krueger, Christine Stewart, Paul (Lacy) Groth, Mark (Alicia) Groth, Rachel (Brady) Rassbach, Sarah Groth, Adam Groth, Alex (Siobvon) Bischoff, Aaron Bischoff, and brother William Eberhardt and sister Esther Halverson. 

Irene was also blessed with 22 great grandchildren – all fitting in between the ages of three  months  to 11 years old – including one waiting to meet her in heaven.    While celebrating her 90th birthday she remarked several times about all the little ones running around – referring to them as “dandelions”. Her room was always decorated with multiple pictures of her ever-growing family, a constant array of loving tributes. 

Irene is preceded in death by husband Merlin Kolb, son, Dennis Kolb, grandchild Andy Bischoff, great-grandchild Benjamin Lakner, son-in-law Ira Stewart, sisters Edna (Eberhardt) Fisher, Emma (Uttecht) Gutt Roehl, brothers Herman Eberhardt, Henry Eberhardt, and Fred Eberhardt.

Irene was blessed with grandchildren and great grandchildren. Picnics, burger cookouts, pizza parties, riding bikes, taking walks, big-wheels in the driveway. Irene attended graduations, weddings, baptisms with a big smile. Irene knew she was blessed.  She once wrote  “I’m grateful that God has given me the blessed experience of being a grandmother with the happiness, and yes, tears, that go along with that badge of honor”.

She will be missed.

Special thanks to Dr. Marie Roethlesberger, Irene’s longtime advocate who treated Mom so lovingly for so many years. A heartfelt “thank you” to the many Agrace staff members at Station 4 that diligently cared for Irene in her final months as well as the dietary staff for all the special meals and treats, and the many volunteer staff at Agrace, notably the special people who helped sit vigil during her final days. 

A Funeral service will be held at 1 p.m. on Monday, October 16, 2017 at OUR REDEEMER LUTHERAN CHURCH, 1701 McKenna Blvd, Madison. Visitation will be held from 11 a.m. until the time of the service on Monday. Entombment will be held at Knollwood Memorial Gardens, Manitowoc.

In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to the Multiple Sclerosis Society,

To view and sign this guestbook, please visit:

Joyce-Ryan Funeral Home

& Cremation Service

5701 Odana Road

(608) 274-1000

 Service Information

October 16, 2017

11:00 AM to 1:00 PM
Our Redeemer Lutheran Church
1701 McKenna Blvd.
Madison, WI 53711

Funeral Service
October 16, 2017

1:00 PM
Our Redeemer Lutheran Church
1701 McKenna Blvd.
Madison, WI 53711

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