Irma Evelyn (Conger) Else

January 15, 1923December 13, 2018

Irma Evelyn Conger Else passed away December 13, 2018. She was the first of four children of James and Verna Conger.

Irma was born in a log cabin nestled in the hamlet of Bankend, Saskatchewan, Canada on January 15, 1923. Her family eventually moved to the United States in the late 1920s. The family ended up in the tiny town of Batavia, Iowa. During the Great Depression the family struggled to make ends meet. Irma was raised during arduous times in our country. She had few comforts. As a young girl in rural Iowa, she didn’t realize she was poor. Irma was athletic, fast and could run like the wind. She played the Iowa brand of six-on-six girls' basketball. Her graduating class of 1942 had eight students.

Irma married William E. Else in 1942. William was drafted into the United States Army on December 26, 1942 and shipped overseas. Irma lived with her parents during World War II and would write letters to William daily.

Her husband served in the Pacific and he returned to the states aboard the ship USS Wayne November 10, 1945. Irma was waiting for him in California. That must have been a remarkable day.

She did her best to raise five children as we came along in the '40s, '50s and '60s. She was the definitive stay-at-home Mom, making breakfast, packing lunches and getting kids off to school. During her marriage the family lived in Iowa, Kansas, Alaska, Alabama and Minnesota. The family was living in Anchorage, Alaska when Alaska became a state in 1959.

The family moved to Sandstone, Minn. in 1964. Irma became involved in her church (Evangelical Free Church) and the Sandstone American Legion auxiliary. William died in 1999 and Irma moved to Lenox Place apartments in Duluth. For several years she enjoyed her coffee and from the comfort of her window she watched ships arrive and depart from Lake Superior.

It's hard to put in perspective all the changes in the world she saw in her nearly 96 years. The final years were difficult. Every day was a struggle and she mentioned that she had lived too long. Those years were made more comfortable by the staff at Diamond Willow Assisted Living in Proctor.

Irma was preceded in death by her parents, James and Verna Conger, brother Vern Conger and husband William Else.

She is survived by daughter Patty (Robert) of Adams, Wisc., son Ronald (Nina) of Lakewood, Co., son Loren (DeeDee) of Rochester, Minn., daughter LaTina (Alan) of Duluth, Minn., son Mark (Iwalani) of Duluth, Minn., brother Orville (Ulala) of Fairfield, IA and sister Velma of Lawrence, Kan. She is survived by eight grandchildren and four great grandchildren.

Her mark in the world was a tiny ripple but she did her best. Thanks for all you did mom – we hope you are running once more – running like the wind. ‘

Visitation from 1:00 p.m. until 2:00 p.m. followed by a Celebration of Life Service on Saturday, December 29, 2018 at Jarvi Dowd Funeral Home, 925 East 4th Street, Duluth. Memorials are preferred to the Sandstone American Legion Auxiliary (Unit No. 0151) or to the Alzheimer’s Association, Minnesota-North Dakota Chapter. Please leave a memory of Irma or words of support for the family at


  • Irma is survived by her daughter, Patty (Robert) of Adams, Wisc., son, Ronald (Nina) of Lakewood, Colo., son, Loren (DeeDee) of Rochester, Minn., daughter, LaTina (Alan) of Duluth, Minn., son, Mark (Iwalani) of Duluth, Minn., brother, Orville (Ulala) of Fairfield, IA, and sister, Velma of Lawrence, Kansas.

  • Tim Schwarz, Honorary Pallbearer
  • David Schwarz, Honorary Pallbearer
  • Felicia Else, Honorary Pallbearer
  • Phillip Else, Honorary Pallbearer
  • Jessi Hafeman, Honorary Pallbearer
  • Travis Else, Honorary Pallbearer
  • Maluhia Siers, Honorary Pallbearer
  • Liam Siers, Honorary Pallbearer


  • Visitation Saturday, December 29, 2018
  • Celebration of Life Saturday, December 29, 2018

Irma Evelyn (Conger) Else

have a memory or condolence to add?

Lynn Bjorklund

January 5, 2019

All of our thoughts and prayers with the family, especially Loren, Mark and Tina. We will always remember our neighbors north of town so many years ago! The obit really did describe your mom. Ethan's first words were, "she made really good cookies". It was always the first place I called when the kids, especially Ethan, went missing. He was always the social one and your mom always encouraged that!! It was nice for babysitting, too! Keep your memories close and thank God you had the many years of enjoyment with her.

Craig Swalboski

December 23, 2018

Condolences from both of us. She obviously led an amazing life.

susie heusinkveld

December 22, 2018

I, of course, did not know Irma. However, between the obituary and Loren's column in the PB, I know a little bit about her.
Loren, this may be more directed to you: My mom died 8 years ago, Nov.. Yes, of course I miss her and Dad every single day. I read your article w/ sorrow. I felt most bad that you didn't get to your mom before she died.
I, and my brothers, were fortunate to spend some time w/ Ma before she passed away. We were able to tell her what a good mom she was and how much we loved her and will miss her. The nurses and care team (God bless them!) were making her comfortable. They, also, said, "Take all the time you need." We did; we still wish we had had more time...
Loren, your article made tears, of course, just remembering my mom's passing all over again. May God's Infinite Peace Be With You All.

Sandy Robinson

December 19, 2018

Irma was a kind and loving friend to my mom, Candace, during their time at Lenox Place. My condolences to the family. Irma loved her kids and grandkids beyond measure.....

Steven Hanson

December 17, 2018

Loren, heartfelt sympathy to you and the family at this trying time. I have followed your column in the Post Bulletin and feel like I somehow know your beloved mother. She is much like mine at 94. The recent years have been difficult for you as you experienced her decline but you were always there for her and I know she appreciated that. Linda and I hold you in our thoughts and prayers for comfort. May she rest in peace.

Ruth Davis

December 17, 2018

Irma was one of my special church moms. She was a great example of God’s love, grace and mercy throughout her life. She was an example to all of us as to what it means to be a good daughter, mother and friend. She was a special friend to my mother, Carolyn Nelson, as well as myself. We are so blessed to have known her here on earth and look forward to fellowshiping with her for eternity. Love and prayers for you all at this time. I will not be able to attend the service because of obligations in the cities but will be there in prayer.

Diane Frederiksen

December 17, 2018

To lose a mother is one of life's most sorrowful events. Our hearts go out to Loren, DeeDee, and the rest of the family. Although I didn't know this amazing woman, the family she raised most definitely proved her amazing life's accomplishments, most known to us through her son, Loren. We thank God there are people like Irma to show others how to overcome struggles, be strong, and have high values. She will be dearly missed, but her great legacy will never be forgotten.

Love and sympathy from Diane (and George) Frederiksen, long-time friend, classmate, and co-worker, of Loren's