April 25, 1933 - December 5, 2018


On December 5, 2018 Irene Mary (Ernst) Fischer entered fully into the Realm of Love and Light -- the Reign of God she had participated in during all of her walk upon the Earth.

Irene was born at home on the farm in Plymouth, Minnesota on April 25, 1933, to Lydie (Marx) and Irven Ernst, the third of seven children. She graduated from Robbinsdale High School in 1951 and St. Mary’s School of Nursing in Rochester in 1955. She married Jim (James) C. Fischer at St. Joseph Church in Plymouth on November 26, 1955.

Irene and Jim were blessed with eight children, with whom they made their happy, bustling homes in Moundsview, North Minneapolis and Brooklyn Center. The Fischer household was never dull; the on-going tasks of cleaning, cooking, gardening, sewing and settling disputes were tempered by the joys of holiday and Holy Day celebrations; extended family reunions; summer vacations in bare-bone cabins on Minnesota lakes; camping trips; and active involvement in neighborhood and church communities. As their children grew up and began to make their own homes, Irene’s compassionate care extended to neighboring children; Hmong and Vietnamese families fleeing danger in their homelands; and residents at St. Therese Senior Apartments. In 1996, Irene and Jim moved to a home on Little Rock Lake close to the town of Mayhew Lake, ancestral home for Jim and close to siblings in St. Cloud.

Irene enjoyed reading, learning, history, travel, Card Club with Jim and 3 other couples, volunteering with MCCL and Treasure Chest, and gatherings with her family. Irene’s life has been an example of the Love of God made real and manifest in our common life on Earth. She lived a life of self-giving, humility, love and acceptance of all.

Her love lives on in her devoted husband of 63 years, Jim Fischer; her children: Jean (Barry) Nelson, Michael (Kimberly), Rebecca Sienko, John (Kara), Rosanne (Mark Trainor), Joe, Mary (Greg) Meier, Mark (Tammy); grandchildren: Emily (Joel) Beck; Betsy (Alex) Kirk; Jonathan (Candace) Nelson; Katie (Scott) Claxton; Paul (Ashley Gumz) Fischer; Ryan (Elyse) Sienko; Laura Sienko; Meghan (Josh) Tompkins; Amy (Jake) Higgins; Amelia Fischer; Abram, Laura & Francis Pineda-Fischer, Daniel, Heidi & Caleb Meier, Ben & Katherine Fischer; and 15 great grandchildren; siblings: George (Rosie) Ernst, Chuck (Pat) Ernst, Dennis (Shirley) Ernst, Jerome (Sherelyn), Cathy (Dave) Huberty; siblings-in-law: Sr. Rita Mae, FSPA, Margie (Bernie) Kersting, Eugene (Joanne), Mark (Pila), Mary (Joe) Terwey; and many beloved extended family. She was preceded in death by her parents; brother and sister-in-law, Louis and Doris Ernst; father/mother-in-law Cyril and Mae (Heim) Fischer; brother/sister-in-law Donald & Joan Fischer, son-in-law Michael Sienko.

A Mass celebrating Irene’s life will be held on Wednesday, December 12, 2018 at 11:00am at Annunciation Catholic Church in Mayhew Lake, with lunch to follow. Burial will be in the parish cemetery. Visitation will be 4:00 – 7:00pm on Tuesday, December 11 at Williams Dingmann Funeral Home in Sauk Rapids, as well as one hour prior to Mass at the church. In lieu of flowers, memorials preferred to Sharing and Caring Hands, Minneapolis, MN. The family extends heartfelt thanks to the staff at Pioneer Village of Country Manor in Sartell for their loving care and service to Irene and her family during the final months of her life.