Irja Rachel Ahlgren Talvitie passed away in Carlton, MN on December 15, 2020 at the age of 97. She was preceded in death by her parents Arthur and Naima Ahlgren, husband of 31 years Uno, 8 siblings and their spouses, son Fred, and grandson David.
Born December 1, 1923 in Buyck, MN in the log cabin her dad built, Irja attended school in Vermillion Dam, then Cook High School. She worked as a domestic until marrying Uno Talvitie on September 23, 1944. They lived in Brookston, MN, raising 7 children. Irja was a loving and kind mom, grandma, and friend. She was famous for her delicious meatballs and Finnish cardamom bread. She enjoyed being active and wore out many pairs of shoes on long daily walks. Old time music and dancing were also favorite pastimes. She loved her morning and afternoon coffee with sweets; especially when enjoyed with family or friends. Irja was a teacher's aide at the Brookston school for several years, then a foster grandparent at the Fond Du Lac Tribal School for 21 years. She enjoyed hearing "Hi grandma!" and getting hugs from the kids at school. She loved a good joke and a hardy laugh. Due to health issues, she left her beloved Brookston for Evergreen Knoll in Cloquet. She enjoyed living there for almost 10 years, where she met a wonderful gentleman, Bill LaBuda. They were constant companions for several years until Bill's passing. She then moved to Carlton and called Inter-Faith Care Center her home for 5 years until passing due to complications of COVID-19.
Irja is survived by 6 children: Les (Mary), Art (Linda), Maria (Joe), Christina, Lila, Duane (Renee). 13 grandchildren: Steven, Corrine, Bobbi, James, Tonya, Travis, Larry, Melissa, Tiffany, Anissa, Ris, Alex and Megan. 8 great-grandchildren: Shandi, Martina, Zack, JoAnna, Evan, Lena, Noah, Briella, and great-great-granddaughter Rylan. Many nieces, nephews, and friends will also miss her unconditional love. "Our wonderful Mother never judged anyone, and she accepted everyone for who they are. She helped us through our mistakes and taught us to grow from them and she knew when we just needed her to listen. She had SISU like no other and if we have half of her goodness and strength, we are fortunate. She never forgot the importance of telling us how special we are and how much she loved us. We loved her deeply."
We would like to thank the staff at Inter-Faith for their loving care. Service to be determined in the Spring.