Irene M. Wahl, 83, St. Cloud
October 31, 1931 - January 30, 2015
Following a 14 year battle with Parkinson’s, Irene Wahl died on January 30, 2015 at the Sterling Park Health Care Center in Waite Park.
Less than 14 hours later, after losing the love of his life, John Wahl, her husband of 62 years died at the St. Cloud Hospital. While his official cause of death may be listed as congestive heart failure, friends and family will know that is was more likely of a broken heart.
John and Irene were truly soulmates and had a wonderful life together. They met that fateful day in Avon, because “the beer was warm”. Had the beer he bought that day been cold, there would have been no reason to take it down to the lake to chill it. It was there that he met Irene.
They were married at Holy Angels Church in St Cloud on January 3, 1953. They had three children, Steven John, and twins, Susan Ann and Brian Arthur.
During their marriage, they lived in St. Cloud, San Carlos (CA), and Belmont (CA), and summered on Big Fish Lake. Their yards were always meticulously groomed by Irene, with rarely a blade of grass out of place. And the flowers! Her rose bushes were her pride and joy, and dozens of pots of geranium, vinca vine and sprengeri outlined most (all) surfaces. John supported her in everything, and their passion for traveling and supporting the Summer Art Fair circuit—especially in California—was renowned. In the winter, John’s Christmas light displays were very well planned…and very precise. And big.
Irene Marie (Sticka) Wahl was born on October 31, 1931, in Freeman Creek (near Long Prairie) to Catherine M. (Hansmeyer) Sticka. She was a 1949 graduate of St Cloud Cathedral High School, and was active in the CHS Drum and Bugle Corp—playing the glockenspiel (bells) with gusto! Irene attended St Mary’s School of Nursing in Rochester for two years, and held several positions in the medical field, including that of Transcriber at the St Cloud Hospital and Registrar at the Redwood Medical Center, Redwood City, CA. She was also a bookkeeper for Wahl Construction Company.
John Arthur Wahl was born on April 9, 1930 in St. Cloud, to Arthur L. and Ramona P. (Seberger) Wahl. He was a 1948 graduate of St Cloud Technical High School, participating in cross country, track and field, and football. With commercial building already in his blood, thanks to family-owned Wahl Construction Company, John served in the U.S. Navy’s SeaBees (Construction Battalion), and worked on projects in Guantanamo Bay, Bermuda, and Morocco during the Korean Conflict.
Upon his honorable discharge, John returned to work with his father, and took over the reins of Wahl Construction Company in the 60’s. He was very proud to have built dozens of dormitories, schools, churches and other commercial structures throughout his career. Following the dissolution of Wahl Construction Company, John worked as a Contractor, Construction/Project Manager, and Estimator for numerous builders—in St Cloud, Minneapolis, Las Vegas and the San Francisco Bay area. John’s passion of tracking everything, initially on columnar pads, and eventually on a variety of computerized spreadsheets, led in part to his uncanny ability to precisely estimate building specs and costs.
John was elected to the St. Cloud City Council in the 60’s, serving for 8 years including 4 as Council President. He was a member of many boards, including the St. Cloud Planning Commission and the Stearns County Historical Society. He also served for several years as an elected member of the St. Cloud District 742 School Board.
Irene and John are survived by their son and daughter, Steven (Deborah) Wahl of Pleasanton, CA, and Susan Wahl (Lee) Storbeck of St Cloud. They were preceded in death by their parents, and their son, Brian Arthur Wahl on April 27, 1975.
In addition to their children, Irene is survived by her sister, Rosemarie McDonald of Minneapolis, and a nephew and grand-niece.
John is survived by his brother Tom Wahl, OSB, of Japan, and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his sisters Betty Wahl Powers and Patty Bitzan.
We would need another column to list all of their furry canine “children”; suffice it to say that there was never a Wahl home without a dog or two. Or more.
To their incredible neighbors on Hillcrest, for the countless things you did that helped them remain independent—and especially for loving them as if they were your own parents—our most heartfelt thanks.
The last two years of Irene’s life was spent at the Sterling Park Health Care Center. John spent his last seven months at Sterling Park Commons. To all of the health care workers at Sterling Park, past and present, words cannot describe our family’s gratitude. You loved them as we did, and were there for them every hour of the day and night. Thank you so very much.
Honoring their request, there will be no services. They wished only to be cremated, and have their remains placed next to those of Brian.
They were, however, delighted with the idea of having contributions made in their memory to the Tri-County Humane Society (735 9th ST NE, St. Cloud, MN 56304), their favorite charity.
Our parents lived large, laughed often, and loved unconditionally. May you have the same in your lives.