On Wednesday, February 13, 1946 in Melrose, Minnesota, a precious baby girl was born to parents Joseph and Marie (Klaphake) Hellerman. Irene and her 7 siblings grew up on a farm in Parkers Prairie, Minnesota, she attended Parkers Prairie schools and graduated in 1964. Irene gave birth to her first child in 1968, a bouncing baby boy, Robert James Bjerketvedt, in 1970 her bundle of joy, Michele Marie Bjerketvedt was born and in 1971 Irene welcomed her 3rd child, a beautiful baby girl, Lori Lynn Bjerketvedt. Irene lived and raised her three children in St Paul. In 1973, while working at Whirlpool in St. Paul she met Tom Troje. Irene and Tom married in 1980, lived in St. Paul and both continued to work at Whirlpool until they closed their doors in 1984. Irene went back to school, she and Tom built a new home in Hugo and moved in 1990. She worked for Lenertz Trucking before taking a job at Dart Transit where she worked until her retirement in February 2011. Irene loved her husband, children, grand-children, great grand-children, all of her white fluffy 4-legged children and her extended family. She was kind, generous, understanding, forgiving, funny, full of life and she’d love to play pranks. She was a busy woman, she enjoyed spending her time gardening, knitting, crocheting and quilting. Irene was an excellent cook, she made exceptional BBQ chicken, potato salad and Sunday dinners. Irene and Tom enjoyed going for rides, strolling along the shores of Duluth, they liked the bright lights of Las Vegas and Irene was always ready to travel. In May 2011, Irene was diagnosed with breast cancer, she was strong, she fought like a champ …. she won. Irene was also diagnosed with dementia, Tom took care of his loving wife in their home until 3 days before her nightmare was over. Mother peacefully passed away on April 22, 2019. She is preceded in death by her parents, Joe & Marie Hellerman; brothers, George (infant) and Roman; granddaughter, Stevie. She is survived by her husband of 39 years, Tom Troje; children, Bobby Bjerketvedt, Michele (Jim) Frahm, Lori Bjerketvedt (Ron); grandchildren, Kendra, Sarah, Ashley (Justin), Alex and Abby; great-grandchildren, Jax and Jude; brothers, Joe (Mary), Alvin (Carol), Urben (Mary); sisters, Delores, Margaret, Esther (Lennie); nieces, nephews, extended family and friends.
Memorial Services will be held at 2:00 p.m., Saturday, May 4, 2019 at Mattson Funeral Home, 343 North Shore Drive, Forest Lake. The family will greet friends one hour prior to the service at the funeral home.