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Irene Gensrich

Irene Mae (Lillemoen) Gensrich, 71, Hatton, ND, passed away Wednesday, December 5, 2018, at Sanford Hospital in Fargo, ND, after a courageous battle with cancer, while still enjoying and viewing the beautiful flowers in her room. Funeral services will be held Tuesday, December 11, 2018 at 10:00 a.m. at St. John Lutheran Church in Hatton. A visitation will be held Monday, December 10, 2018 from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. with a 7:00 p.m. prayer service at the church.

Irene was born on May 2, 1947, to Arthur and Alice (Amb) Lillemoen, in Mayville, ND. She attended grade school at Garfield #1. She then attended Hatton Public School through her high school years. On December 2, 1962, she was united in marriage to Richard Gensrich, at Bethany Lutheran Church in rural Hatton, ND. On December 2, 1964, their first child was born, Jacqueline, a very welcome anniversary gift. Throughout their lives, they were blessed with four more children, Julie, Shane, Dusty, and Erin.

Her love of the outdoors began as a baby when she had to be put outside to keep her from crying. From that day forward, outside was where she was happiest. While growing up she enjoyed helping her father with the cattle, and farming. Irene was even known to spend the night with her favorite calf. Her love of the outdoors continued as she worked many countless hours perfecting and developing her flower gardens and yard at her home in Hatton. She was excited and happy to show people her flowers gardens, and split and share perennials with anyone who would like. The latest addition to her yard was an old-fashioned street lamp. For many years, she had been on the hunt for the perfect one. She discovered it in Houston and struck a deal, which was also a favorite hobby, and was thrilled to pack in the car and bring it to Hatton. Dad installed it this summer, and she was thrilled. It seems to light up the whole west side of town, along with the Christmas, and other holiday decorations that she enjoyed displaying.

Irene’s passion for driving motorized vehicles began early on. She started with trucks and progressed to buses, which became her lifelong career. Her bus-driving career began at Hatton Public School in the early 70’s. She delivered hundreds of students safely to school and home for over 20 years. From there she tried a different bus-driving career transporting people of all ages to casinos, and to any event, they would like a ride. This love of people led to her own bus service, Silver Dollar Tours. The Silver Dollar Tours bus, with her in the driver’s seat, would transport people anywhere they wanted to go. She had her regular casino customers, who became like family to her. Irene was proud of the fact that she had given bus rides to some of the same people on the school bus, for their 21st birthday, their bachelor/bachelorette parties, and their weddings. She enjoyed watching them grow up. Irene’s middle name was not “patience” except for all the passengers on her many bus trips. She also used her bus for numerous family trips and occasions.

Of all the things she loved and enjoyed, she was most proud of her family. Whether it was caring for or supporting family members, she was always there to make sure they were taken care of and had what they needed. Over the past 50 years, Mom and Dad would travel thousands of miles both across the state of North Dakota, and to Texas, to watch, and cheer their kids, grandkids and family members. Whatever the event was, you would see her wave her fist in the air cheering.

During her lifetime, Irene was always on the go. She spent years hauling horses, with her husband and kids, to show in horse shows around North Dakota. She was an avid bowler, master gardener, treasure hunter, and wheeler-dealer, who enjoyed the treasures she would search for at auctions and garage sales. She was very proud of her negotiating skills. Many of those treasures would find their way into her holiday and seasonal decorating. Of course, she loved the sports teams of her family, but she bled purple like the rest of us. She would spend many hours cheering on the Vikings, and this spring was lucky enough to get a tour of the new Vikings Stadium as a Mother’s Day gift from her son.

Irene is survived by her husband of 56 years, Richard, Hatton, ND; mother, Alice (Amb) Lillemoen, Hatton, ND; children: Jackie Bye, Hatton, ND; Julie (Dave) Lipsiea, Spring, TX; Shane Gensrich, Fargo, ND; Dusty Vaagene, Underwood, ND; Erin (Chris) Holt, Spring, TX. Grandchildren: Samantha, Zachary, and McKenzie Bye; Mikayla and Jake Berry; Gracelyn, Beckett, and Addisyn Vaagene; Jackson Lee and Reagan Holt. Great-Grandchildren: Karsen Bye and Emersyn Dusek. Siblings: Ardyce (Ken) Johnson; Glenda (Darrell) Myron; Christine (Jim) Holweger; Arden (Julie) Lillemoen; David (Tammy) Lillemoen. Sisters and Brothers-in-Law: Donny Huus; Margorie Gensrich; Jane (Luther) Lerfald. Special Cousin, who was like a brother, Gary Lillemoen. She is also survived by many cousins, nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by: Father, Arthur Lillemoen; sister, Naomi (Lillemoen) Pratt; Grandparents: Gustav and Ida Lillemoen, Nicolai and Inga (Stolen) Amb: Sister-in-Law: Patty (Gensrich) Huus; Brother-in-Law: Junior Gensrich, Mother, and Father-in-law: Ernest and Eleanor Gensrich: Niece: Tammy Huus.

The wonderful memories we all made with Irene will live on in our hearts, and stories.


St. John Lutheran Church
  • Email Details
  • 420 7th Street
    Hatton, ND 58240

Prayer Service

St. John Lutheran Church
  • Email Details
  • 420 7th Street
    Hatton, ND 58240

Funeral Service

St. John Lutheran Church
  • Email Details
  • 420 7th Street
    Hatton, ND 58240

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Our sympathy to all of Irenes family. She was a Wonderful lady, and will be missed by many. Paul & Jean.

Paul Moen Dec 16 2018 12:00 AM

We're so sorry to read about the passing of Irene. (Very touching obituary.) May God comfort all of you during your sad days and give you the strength to cope with your thoughts. During your disquieting days, think about seeing her again as very healthy young woman. (Please read about loss of a loved one' at jw dot org.) Ponder over what you'd like to say and how big your hugs will be when God's wonderful promise of the resurrection takes place. (Acts 24:15)

Whit Family Dec 10 2018 12:00 AM

You all are in our thoughts and prayers a very sweet lady she was.

Judy Mastrud Richardson Dec 9 2018 12:00 AM

My deep sympathy to your families.

Kimberly Adam Dec 9 2018 12:00 AM

We are thinking of your with the loss of Irene, you are in our thoughts and prayers so had to lose her. Take care .

Kay & Jeff Peterson Dec 9 2018 12:00 AM

My Sympathies to the Family!!! Sending thoughts and prayers.

John Rux Dec 9 2018 12:00 AM

Julie, I was reading the Grand Forks Herald and saw your mom's obituary. I am so sorry to hear this news. Although I never met your mom, I feel like I know her through you and your sisters. Just know I am thinking about you and praying for your family during this time. Debbie

Debbie Guckenberg Dec 9 2018 12:00 AM

So sorry for your loss. Sending thoughts and prayers to all of you from afar!

John and Tami Vigen Dec 7 2018 12:00 AM