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Irene Ruona


Irene Ellen Ruona, age 87, a lifelong Menahga, MN area resident, was promoted into the splendor of Heaven on Saturday evening, December 5, 2020 at Rose Haven in Menahga with family members at her side.

Ellen was born on August 20, 1933 in Wadena, to Evert and Saima (Kangas) Maaninga. She grew up on her parent’s farm east of Menahga in Shell River Township and attended country school nearby. On July 29, 1950, Ellen was united in marriage to Floyd Melvin Ruona. Their marriage was blessed with a son, Duane and a daughter, Pamela. Ellen devoted herself to making a loving home for her husband and children. She was a wonderful cook and baker who will be long remembered for her delicious homemade chow mein hotdish, her blueberry dessert, her Special K Bars and her chocolate brownie frosting which can never be duplicated.

They made their home in Menahga for a short time before moving to Nashwauk in 1954 where Floyd could be closer to his work in the iron mines, a career he had started in 1951. In 1956, they moved to Keewatin where they resided until 1963, when they purchased a farm east of Menahga in Shell River Township. Since Floyd was gone working in the mines each week, Ellen was busy taking care of her home, the children and much of the farm work. In addition to all of that, when Pam was old enough to start school, Ellen began working in a career as a Quality Clothing Inspector first for Munsingwear in Park Rapids, which later became Ringers Mfg., then she transferred to Perham and inspected at Pine County and finished up her 22 year career working at Pine County in Staples until her retirement in the mid-1980’s.

Ellen loved to garden. She raised a large vegetable garden as well as many beautiful and colorful flower beds. She also worked with her hands sewing clothes for her children and grandchildren and doing beautiful embroidery and crocheting. Her farm girl personality brought her to collect all sorts of Holstein cattle pictures, models and knick-knacks. Her heart was deeply saddened at the death of her loving husband, Floyd in 2008. She continued living at home on the farm until 2016 when her failing health encouraged her to move into Rose Haven where she has lived out the rest of her life.

Ellen will be lovingly remembered by her son, Duane (Karen) Ruona of Brainerd; her daughter, Pam (Gary) Johnson of Menahga; her four dearly loved grandchildren: Jason (Coreen) Ruona of West Fargo, ND, Sarah (Jason) Rehnstrand of Superior, WI, Carrie (Bruce) Robbins of Menahga, and Joe (Cheryl) Johnson of Menahga; ten precious great-grandchildren: Reed, Riley and Kaitlyn Rehnstrand, Jacob and Sam Ruona, Elizabeth, Kali and Amanda Robbins and Leah and Everett Johnson; her five siblings: Harlan (Judy) Maaninga of Menahga, Carolyn (Robert) Condon of Wickenburg, AZ, Alice Kako and Jean Tomperi both of Menahga and Verdie Maaninga of Park Rapids; her brother-in-law, Gordy Kussatz of Menahga, as well as many nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.

She was preceded in death by her parents and three sisters: Luella Gustafson, Mavis Kussatz and Arlene Seikkula.
Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, December 11, 2020 at the Cardini-Pearson Funeral Home in Park Rapids with Rev. Loren Ferch officiating. Her four grandchildren and their spouses will serve as her casket bearers. Interment will be made next to her husband at the Jim Cook cemetery east of Menahga. Public visitation will begin one hour prior to the service.

Arrangements are entrusted to Cardini Pearson Funeral Home of Menahga. To leave on line condolences or to view the video tribute, please visit www.cardinipearson funeral home.

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