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Irene Bromenshenkel Trisko (1931 - 2020) For many years, her correspondence and stories closed with a signature phrase: “Das ist alles,” meaning “That is all.” For Irene Bromenshenkel Trisko of Sauk Centre, the finality of this line was an invitation for future contact, sharing in her beloved stories of family, friends, and faith. The line speaks to her heritage, to her German-speaking parents, Albert and Elizabeth (Meyer) Bromenshenkel, to her childhood in Ashley Township, Stearns County, Minnesota.
She left this world at the age of 89 on September 20, 2020 at her daughter’s home with family in Sauk Centre, Minnesota. A private graveside service will be held at St. Paul's Cemetery in Sauk Centre with Rev. Greg Paffel officiating.
Born April 27, 1931, Irene grew up in a bustling household of 12 siblings on a rural farm. Life during the Great Depression demanded much from families. Irene wrote, “I learned the satisfaction of having done hard work.” Perhaps Irene took to heart 2 Timothy 2:6: “It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops.”
She toiled in the garden, fed the geese and chickens, mowed the grass, baled hay, shelled beans, canned endless fall produce, hauled cabbages, rutabagas and carrots into the basement, drove horses, drove tractors, plucked feathers, picked potatoes, shoveled grain, and, like many children of her day, walked 1½ miles to school (one way). “After a full day of this, we fell into bed, exhausted,” Irene recalled of her sometimes back-breaking chores. “Morning came much too soon.”
Before she was a teenager, the world was once again at war. When her brother Leonard was drafted, she wrote long letters to him on butcher paper her older sister Rita found, detailing the mundane happenings on the farm. Shortly after the war, her mother passed away when Irene was 16 years old. She reflected, “I was one of the older ones still at home, and much of the work fell on my shoulders, or so I perceived. The carefree life of my teenage years soon came to an end.”
She recorded her childhood memories in a memoire title Das is Alles: Growing Up a Minnesota Farm Girl which she published in 2009. It includes many of her musings about family, holidays, letters and even loss.
Four years later, she married Raymond Carl Trisko, a Stearns County native and war veteran, on Oct. 8, 1951. Irene met him while working at Mueller VanBeck Hardware store. Rita arranged a ride share since Ray was a neighbor. Rita told her she could thank her if something came of it but she couldn’t blame her if it didn’t work out.
Together they raised a family of seven and weathered some difficult times over their nearly 69 years of marriage, including the loss of an infant daughter. Irene wrote, “The one constant through all these storms in my life has been my faith.” In 1959, with four children under the age of seven, they started Trisko Plumbing and Heating, a business that thrived and still exists today under the ownership of their grandson Joshua Dwayne Trisko. Because of their business promotions, they were able to become world travelers, visiting Germany, Austria, and Ireland with the Bartley Supply group of plumbers. Ray remained the love of her life to her last breath. One family member recently affirmed, “I am still amazed at how she lit up whenever he came into the house.”
Always busy, work didn’t consume all of her time. She was a lifelong member of St. Paul’s Catholic Church. For decades years, she and Ray belonged to the square dance club and often do-si-doed on the back of a decorated hay wagon in the Sinclair Lewis Days parade. She also worked for many years on an MCCL float, which her three younger children often rode. She was either president or secretary of that group over her 48-year membership. Later, she was treasurer of the Sinclair Lewis Foundation, not because she read any of his books or was a great admirer of the author, but because she liked the people it attracted. She was president or secretary of Christian Mothers, too, all the while working at the store, of course!
While still in her house but needing assistance, she once remarked, “I had the most wonderful dream last night. Ray and I were dancing. I was in his arms, where I was supposed to be.”
Das ist alles ... that is all ... for the mortal life, but Irene has more work to do yet in heaven, where she will be lovingly embraced by her savior, Jesus Christ. Family and friends should rejoice — Irene is at peace.
She is lovingly remembered by her husband, Ray Trisko of Sauk Centre; seven children, Dwayne (Judy) Trisko and Amy Trisko (Jamie Hooper), all of Sauk Centre; Barbara (Casey) Kuzara and Donovan (Daniela) Trisko, both of San Diego; David (Kristen) Trisko of Sebastopol, California; Juleen Trisko (James Schneider) of Northome; and Caroline (Steve) Klaphake of Grey Eagle; 13 grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; sisters Jane (Cyril) Meyer of Sauk Centre, Evelyn (Allen) Siegle of Long Prairie, and Lillian Lucas of Eau Claire, Wisconsin; sisters-in-law Hildegard, Mildred, and Elsie Bromenshenkel; and many nieces and nephews.
Irene was preceded in death by her parents, Albert and Elizabeth (Meyer) Bromenshenkel; sisters Rita and Dorothy Bromenshenkel, Verena Steffes, Mary Gritzmacher-Langer, and Esther Winters; brothers Lawrence, Victor, Robert, Leonard, and Alan Bromenshenkel; sister-in-law, Leona Bromenshenkel; and brothers-in-law Vern Winters, Norman Gritzmacher, Dan Langer, Ed Steffes, and Eli Lucas.
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