October 29, 1927 - August 6, 2021

 

Mass of Christian Burial will be 11 a.m. Monday, August 16, 2021, at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Catholic Church in Opole for Irene Marie “Dottie” Pyka, age 93, who died Friday at her daughter’s home in Royalton. Rev. Eugene Theisen will officiate, and burial will be in the parish cemetery immediately following mass. Visitation will be 2 hours prior to the service on Monday at the church in Opole.

Irene was born on October 29, 1927, at the family farm outside of St. Wendel to George and Mary (Hartig) Forner. She was a Depression-era child who learned to drive by using a Model A without brakes, taught her younger brothers and sister English to prepare them for school (they spoke German at home), and literally walked uphill 2 miles to her school located at Fisher Hill—sometimes through snow. No one could parallel park better than “Dottie”. Her family nicknamed her that, because dot was her first word.

She married Joseph Pyka on October 13, 1945, in St. Wendel. The couple farmed several years in Opole and Rice before buying their own farm outside of Royalton in 1961. Irene was an Avon Lady for 44 years finally retiring in 2020. She made her deliveries for years in the 1966 Chevy truck which was also used to haul young hogs to market.

She taught herself breadmaking, and her fresh-baked bread, dumplings and “fried things” were delicious! Gardening and canning filled her summers along with working on the farm with Joe. She had such a green thumb that an indoor hibiscus plant became a 5-foot tree and a schefflera plant reached the ceiling! Cooking, embroidery and making baby and wedding quilts were other skills. For leisure, she liked to read, do word search, go to dances and play cards, especially 500. She had a love for nature and her homes always had large windows through which she could view the outdoors. Her faith was very strong and served her well through the loss of her infant son, Joseph, her husband Joe, and her daughter, Linda.

In her later years, Irene enjoyed becoming a part of the communities of Jordan and New Prague and the church community there. This only increased after she moved in with her daughter Lori and family and became an official resident of the area. To the very end, she was willing to try new things, becoming an ardent Viking fan, enjoying the new Star Wars Mandalorian series (she was looking forward to the next season), driving a robot at the county fair just days before her passing, among many other things.

She was a member of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church from 1945-1961; Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Royalton from 1961-2004; St. Michael Catholic Church in St. Cloud 2004-2019 and finally St. John the Evangelist Church in Union Hill. She was a member of the Christian Mothers, Royalton Study Club and Royalton American Legion Auxiliary Post 137. She joined TOPS in Little Falls and was crowned queen after reaching her weight loss goal.

Survivors include her children, Ronald (Diane) of Spicer, Priscilla Sobiech of Sartell, Cindy (Gene) Gottwalt and Lisa (Dean) Block of Royalton, Mary (Al) Dehler of Sartell, Lori (Steve) Huebl of Jordan; son-in-law, Richard Sobiech of North Prairie; sister, Geraldine Fenlason of Melrose; 27 grandchildren and 59 great grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her parents; spouse, Joseph on August 26, 2009; infant son, Joseph; daughter, Linda Sobiech; infant grandson, Michael; and brothers and sisters, Louis, Evelyn Philipsek, Arnold, Louise Rothstein, Ralph, Wilfred, Lloyd, Clarence, Marcella and Lawrence.