Cover photo for Irene May Mellang's Obituary
Irene May Mellang Profile Photo
1921 Irene 2019

Irene May Mellang

September 23, 1921 — October 26, 2019

Irene May Mellang, 98 of Ellendale, ND died October 26, 2019 at Bethesda Home of Aberdeen. She was born to Anton and Cora (Strand) Mellang on September 23, 1921 on the Mellang family farm on the State Line Road in Brown County, South Dakota. She had three siblings: Vivian, Laurence and Nona. Irene was baptized in the Lutheran faith at the home of her great-grandparents, John & Maria Johnson, and confirmed at the family church, Aurdal Lutheran Church near Forbes, ND. It was this church that Irene’s grandparents, Norwegian immigrants, Syvert and Helena Strand and Gilbert and Nellie Mellang were founding members. As a child, she attended the Strand one-room schoolhouse near her home. Irene graduated from the ND Normal and Industrial School at Ellendale in 1939, where she obtained her teaching certificate. Following graduation, she taught at two rural schools in the area. In 1942, Irene joined the war effort, working in factories in Minneapolis, Chicago, and San Bruno, CA. Upon returning home in 1945, Irene continued her teaching career at the Strand country school and Bristol, SD. In 1953, she began teaching third grade at O.M. Tiffany Elementary School in Aberdeen, where she would remain in the same classroom for 32 years. In 1963, she became a member of Christ the King Lutheran Church in Ellendale, ND after the Aurdal-Christ the King merger. Irene was a devoted and active member of Aurdal and Christ the King. In 1965, Irene earned her Bachelor’s degree in education from the University of North Dakota Ellendale Branch. During the summers, Irene loved to travel with friends and family. She enjoyed scenic trips to national parks and historic sites in the U.S. and Canada. Irene’s greatest joy was being an attentive aunt to her nieces and nephews. She helped to make holidays and everyday family gatherings special. Following her retirement from teaching in 1985, Irene remained on the family farm, caring for her family. She continued her mother’s task of writing the State Line News for the Dickey County Leader. Together they wrote the column for over 50 years. Irene and Laurence continued to enjoy traveling and acquiring collectibles. When their health declined, they moved into Bethesda Home of Aberdeen at holiday time in 2015. Irene celebrated her 98th birthday there in September with several nieces and nephews in attendance. Irene was preceded in death by her parents; brother, Laurence; sisters and brothers-in-law, Vivian & Ellwood Schimke, and Nona & Edwin Brauer; nephew, Calvin Schimke and great-grandnephew, Connor Cash. Survivors who cherish Irene’s memory are seven nieces & nephews & their families: James (Sheila) Brauer, Ellendale, ND, Pamela (Dean) O'Brien, Emory, Tx, Diane (Patrick) Day, Buffalo, MN, Jill (David) Determan, Grey Eagle, MN, Cathy Lee, Fargo, ND, Bradley (Lisa) Schimke, Garden City, KS, Craig (Shawna) Schimke, Edmond, OK, 21 grand nieces and nephews and 35 great-grand nieces and nephews. The funeral is 10:30am Tuesday, October 29 at Christ the King Lutheran Church, Ellendale with Pastor Justin Brotzel officiating. Visitation is one hour prior to church services. Burial is at Ellendale City Cemetery. Arrangements by Hoven Funeral Chapel, Ellendale.  
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