Irene Ruth (Nyquist) Jenkins, of Harris, Minn., and Mt. Ida., Ark., passed away Friday, Feb. 22, 2013, in Hot Springs, Ark., at the age of 87 years, six months and 24 days. Irene was born to Emil and Clara (Franske) Nyquist on July 29, 1925, in Mankato, Minn. She grew up on a farm in Eagle Lake, Minn., and attended school in St. Clair, Minn., where she graduated as valedictorian, at the age of 16, in 1942. After high school, she continued her education at Mankato Business College, graduating from the two-year program in 1944. She married Raymond E. Jenkins on Jan. 10, 1946, at St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in St. Clair. They were blessed with a marriage of over 67 years and with four children.
They lived in Mankato prior to purchasing a farm in North Branch in 1947. Selling the farm in 1980, they moved to rural Harris. Irene worked at Land O Lakes while in Mankato. She worked for Chisago County, then the State of Minnesota at the Cambridge State Hospital Campus as a medical records technician and statistician for 30 years, retiring in 1985. After Irene retired, she and Ray spent winters in Mount Ida, Ark., and summers in Garrison, Minn., and since 1994 summers on a lake near Harris.
In retirement, Irene enjoyed travel, dancing (she was a silver medalist in the Arkansas Senior Olympics), doing crossword puzzles, television watching: Wheel of Fortune, Let’s Make a Deal, Family Feud, and In the Heat of the Night. She also enjoyed activities with her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. She was a sports enthusiast, watching and listening to the Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Gopher Football.
She was preceded in death by her parents; son, Larry Jenkins; and sister, Harriet Day. She is survived by her husband Raymond; children, Rita Maguire, of Lindstrom; Patricia (Joel) Anderson, of Coon Rapids; and Kay (Warren) Mattson, of North Branch; five grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; sisters-in-law; brothers-in-law; nieces; nephews; and friends. A memorial service will be held 11 a.m., Saturday, March 16, 2013, at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Weber, Minn.