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Irene Bronken, 95, of Minnetonka, died peacefully on Dec 31, 2020 at Havenwood of Minnetonka, MN.

She was born on June 2, 1925 in Sebeka, MN to John J. and Lempi M. (Lohi) Hepola. She was third of 5 siblings, all now deceased: Mildred Daubney, Bernice Hepola, Don Hepola and Marv Hepola.

Irene is a 1943 graduate of Sebeka High School. She graduated from the University of Minnesota in Speech Therapy, a field in its infancy at the time, and pursued graduate work at Eastern Michigan University and Northwestern University as the field advanced. She joined the Mobile Speech and Hearing Clinic sponsored by the Association of Junior Leagues of America, and traveled extensively across the U.S. as part of her work.

She married Dana Bronken in 1951 and they were together in their Colfax, WI, home until his death in 2001 at age 76. Irene is survived by children Tom (Nancy), Mary (Jim), Anne (Stu) and Susan (Steve), seven wonderful grandchildren, sisters-in-law Gerry Hepola and Sally Hepola, and many treasured nieces, nephews and cousins.

Irene was a fierce mama-bear, loved her church communities & environment-focused book club, developed & nurtured beautiful gardens, and was a gracious hostess to many on the banks of the Red Cedar River.

Her family is grateful for the many years of support and affection offered by her friends in Colfax and Minnetonka, as well as the wonderful care provided over recent years by Presbyterian Homes, Methodist Walker Health Services and Brighton Hospice.

Memorial service pending.

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