Irene Thomas has been given her wings and has flown high, high into the sky to be with her Lord. She died peacefully surrounded by the love of her two daughters on February 5, 2021.
A funeral service will be held at 2 pm on Friday, February 12, 2021 at First Lutheran Church, Mandan, with Pastor Phil Leer officiating. Burial will be at Mandan Union Cemetery. The service will be livestreamed at the bottom of Irene’s obituary page on the funeral home website. The family requests wearing of masks and observance of social distancing.
Visitation will be held from 5 to 7 pm on Thursday, February 11, 2021 at Buehler-Larson Funeral Home in Mandan with a prayer service at 7 pm. Visitation will continue one hour prior to the service at the church on Friday.
Irene was the daughter of Adolph and Martha (Gruzie) Zeller, born in Heil, ND, in 1929 in the back bedroom of the farmhouse on Easter Sunday. She graduated from Elgin High School in 1947 and then moved to Bismarck to start her secretarial career. In 1950, Irene met and married the love of her life, Phil Thomas, Jr. They lived in Mandan where they raised their family and Phil operated Thomas TV and Appliance. Irene retired from the ND State Highway Department as an administrative assistant in the early 70’s.
Irene was known for her zest for life and being quite the lively woman. In addition to the zany side, she was well traveled and accrued many accomplishments. Phil and Irene traveled to Europe five times and visited six of the seven continents. She was quite active in the local Ladies Auxiliary of the Eagles. As Conductress of the Eagles Ritual Team they took national honors. Irene was active in many organizations and served as president for three of them. At age 72, Irene became a Certified Nursing Assistant and brought joy to many residents of the facilities in both Mesa, AZ, and Mandan. Her greatest accomplishment was becoming a published poet. After her husband passed on in 1991, she continued to drive back & forth to Mesa, where she wintered, until she was 83 years old. She had many close friends in both Mandan and Mesa. Irene was also a 31 year breast cancer survivor.
Irene was loved by all who met her. She always said, “There is enough love to go around.” She adored her grandchildren and great grandchildren and was famous for getting down on the floor and playing with them.
She is survived by two loving daughters, Marlene (Kendal) Fitzer, Mendota Heights, MN and Nanci (Larry) Schwindt, Mandan; sister, Marie (Murray) Baldwin, Mesa, AZ; grandchildren, Rikka (Mark) Kerber and Kai Skyberg (fiancée Olivia McIntyre) all of St. Paul, MN, and Brett (Melanie) Schwindt, Palmdale, CA; and great-grandsons, Hayden and Oliver Schwindt, Palmdale, CA.
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