Irene Clara Dohn
August 30, 1932 – August 10, 2022
VISITATION: Monday, August 15, 2022, 5:00-700PM followed by VIGIL SERVICE: 7:00PM, all at West Center Chapel. MASS OF CHRISTIAN BURIAL: Tuesday, August 16, 2022, 10:30AM, St. Robert Bellarmine Catholic Church. INTERMENT: Forest Lawn Memorial Park. In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to St. Jude Children’s Hospital or St. Joseph Indian School.
To view a live broadcast of the Service, please visit www.heafeyheafey.com and click on the “View Live Cast” button at the top of the home page.
Irene Clara Dohn passed away peacefully after being in ill health for the past several months. She was preceded in death by her husband of 66 years, Frank P. Dohn Jr.; her loving father and mother, Joseph and Clara Spelic; brothers, Thomas, Joseph Jr. and Stephen; sisters, Mary Clare Guiton and Joann Dow; grandsons, Brian Bower and Christopher Laird.
She is survived by her sister, Betty Scribner (Willis); children: Mark (Annette), Kurt, Robin Laird and Rebecca Bower (Dan); numerous grand and great-grandchildren.
Born on August 30, 1932, she grew up near Riverview park in Omaha, Nebraska where she spent many joyful hours with her siblings and friends. She attended St. Patrick grade school and Central High School where she met Frank. She attended the College of St. Mary, graduating with her teacher’s degree in 1952. She also was named Student Teacher of the year.
Irene taught third grade at St. Margaret Mary school for 3 years and stated that she received several marriage proposals from the enamored lads she was teaching. She then taught for an additional 3 years at Benson West grade school.
Irene and Frank were married in 1955 after Frank returned from his service tenure in the United States Navy. She put her teaching career aside to focus on raising a new family (4 children in 4 years), Mark, Kurt, Robin and Rebecca. Once the youngest entered 1st grade she began working at Frank’s office while the kids were in school but never failed to be at home to greet and care for the kids after school.
Irene’s family was the most important part of her life not only caring for her husband and children but for 2 elderly grandmothers as their health declined. She hosted most of the holiday dinners baking and preparing the meal and table settings for 15 to 20 guests and family.
Once the baby birds left the nest Irene and Frank began to enjoy traveling attending many business-related trips and Navy reunions. They also spent the winter months along the Gulf of Mexico in south Texas. During the summer months they would spend the weekends at their cabin along the Platte river near Schuyler, Nebraska entertaining the kids and grandkids, all while producing memories to be cherished.
She spent many hours caring for her home and yard, spending time gardening in the flower and vegetable beds.
In Frank’s last years she became his caregiver taking care to see that his needs were met while his health began to fail. She was at his side in their home to the very end.
You left us and example of love and caring, love for life, love for family and love for friends. You will be greatly missed. Fly home Granny Bird your memory will live in our hearts forever.
Funeral Reading for Mom
by Kurt Dohn
When my dad died over a year ago I had the opportunity to say a few words at his funeral that described him the way that I believed he was. I tried to compare his characteristics to one of the more noted men in scriptures which was King David. While David had his faults, failures and troubles he also was a man after God’s own heart which I think says a lot about his character.
I am now here speaking on behalf of my mom for the same purpose so I thought it fitting to look to the word of God and try to find a scripture or two that would describe her life and character and while I believe that she felt she failed in many areas, as we all do, she excelled in so many more. Her family and her home were the most important things in her life and her grand children and great grand children were her shining stars bringing joy to her in her latter years. She was affectionately known as Granny Bird to them and like a mother hen who gathers her chicks under her wing to protect and care for them she gathered her children, grand children and great grand children into her arms and loved and cared for all of us. She was an example of a virtuous woman and a perfect example of that is found in Proverbs 31:10-31 which I would like to read.
“Who can find a virtuous woman? She is worth far more than jewels. Her husband depends on her. He will never be poor. She does good for her husband all her life. She never causes him trouble. She is always gathering wool and flax and enjoys making things with her hands. She is like a ship from a faraway place. She brings home food from everywhere. She wakes up early in the morning, cooks food for her family, and gives the servants their share. She looks at land and buys it. She uses the money she has earned and plants a vineyard. She works very hard. She is strong and able to do all her work. She works late into the night to make sure her business earns a profit. She makes her own thread and weaves her own cloth. She always gives to the poor and helps those who need it. She does not worry about her family when it snows. She has given them all good, warm clothes. She makes sheets and spreads for the beds, and she wears clothes of fine linen. Her husband is a respected member of the city council, where he meets with the other leaders. She makes clothes and belts and sells them to the merchants. She is a strong person, and people respect her. She looks to the future with confidence. She speaks with wisdom and teaches others to be loving and kind. She oversees the care of her house. She is never lazy. Her children say good things about her. Her husband brags about her and says, “There are many good women, but you are the best.” Grace and beauty can fool you, but a woman who respects the Lord should be praised.
Give her the reward she deserves. Praise her in public for what she has done.”
Such was the character of my mom and she will be greatly missed but never forgotten.
Irene Clara Dohn Eulogy
Thank you for being here tonight to celebrate the life of my mother, Irene Clara Dohn. I am Robin, her third child and oldest daughter. Early July when mom told me that her middle name on her birth certificate was Clara and that she wanted to honor her mother using that name on her obituary (for she had always told us she did not have a middle name, so she chose Nancy after her best friend while growing up) I then realized how mom’s life reflected that of St. Clare of Assisi in regards to embracing God’s will for her life.
At the age of 22, St. Clare followed St. Francis’ way of life and became his lifelong companion. Irene (which means “peace”) met Frank (or formal name: Francis) at Central High School who later became her lifelong companion at the age of 22 for 66 years in marriage.
Irene came from a Catholic family, attended St. Patrick Catholic Grade School and Church, earned a teaching certificate at the College of St. Mary in South Omaha, and taught at St. Margaret Mary’s Grade School across from UNO. With her Catholic faith firmly established she was able to meet any challenge or concern from dad’s Lutheran family. And while at times it may have been difficult as mom had shared with me, in every situation mom met it with “peace”. As Jesus stated during the Sermon on the Mount: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God”. (Matthew 5:9). This is how Mom witnessed to us all her life. She truly was a peacemaker.
Now it may seem ironic, but a peacemaker also has a warrior spirit. And like St. Clare who was a warrior mother in caring for her sisters in the monastery, so Irene was a warrior mother in caring for the needs of her family and children. Her weapon was her Catholic faith from which she never wavered as she strived to pass this on to her children. As St. Paul says in Ephesians 6: 10-18:
“10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.
And like St. Clare, Irene was this faithful warrior. In all her joys and sorrows, blessings and sufferings, her weapons of faith were her devotions in the Eucharistic Lord (the Mass) and in His Blessed Mother (the Rosary). Irene was faithful in going to Mass and in praying the Rosary. She had her weapons drawn daily to defend and protect her faith and her family. It was through her faith that my dad converted to Catholicism.
While her spiritual weapons of faith may be confounding to the world, they were powerful beyond space and time. Mom knew that her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, defeated death on Calvary. Although we were not present 2000 plus years ago at the Last Supper, she knew that God is outside of time, and at Mass we participate into Jesus’ sacrifice – we are truly there and participate in the Paschal Mystery at the Last Supper, Crucifixion and Resurrection.
Mom understood this spiritual truth and testified to it with her life which is why she (and dad) asked me to bring them Holy Communion when they could no longer attend Mass due to health reasons. It was how they witnessed to their faith and prepared their souls to meet their Lord face to face. It was their food for the journey. Mom was able to have her Eucharistic Lord, Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity with her for 3 days in her bedroom. With candle lit, she was still able to receive Jesus daily. The Church teaches that there is no greater sign of this great hope in the new heavens and new earth “in which righteousness dwells,” than the Eucharist. Every time this mystery is celebrated at Mass, “the work of our redemption is carried on” (2 Pet. 3:13) and we “break the one bread that provides the medicine of immortality, the antidote for death, and the food that makes us live forever in Jesus Christ.” (CCC 1405)
And as with St. Clare, mom offered her life in continual thanksgiving to God in her prayer, praise, supplication, intercession, weeping, offering and sacrifice. This is how she waged war against the attacks of the evil one for her family. This is a mystery for all women who follow the example of the ultimate warrior woman, the Blessed Mother. Mary is the one who will crush the head of Satan, and mom found this strength in her daily Rosary constantly praying for her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.
We have the Eucharistic Jesus because of Mary’s fiat, and through her maternity when we received Jesus in Holy Communion Satan fears us because the Eucharist defeats the devil. St. Clare of Assisi understood this spiritual truth and testified to it with her life, and so did Irene. St. Clare along with Mom would have wanted us to know that our participation in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and our reception of the Eucharist opens heaven to us.
St. Clare died on August 11, 1253, and her last words were “Go securely and in peace, my blessed soul. And You, Lord, are blessed because You have created me.” St. Clare knew that her true mission was not for herself but for others and to give back to God all that he blessed her with despite her trials and sufferings. Irene passed on August 10 and self-sacrificed her life in the same way for her God, her husband, and her family. She self-sacrificed her entire being until the very end. Mom was anointed with the Last Rites several times including receiving the Apostolic Blessing forgiving all sins. And while I was praying the Chaplet of Divine Mercy and the Rosary next to mom on Saturday, August 6, the Feast of the Transfiguration, and her wedding anniversary, she opened her eyes and reached out stroking something in midair. I asked mom what she saw. She said, “I see spikes, I see spikes.” She continued to stare beyond the veil and then made the sign of the cross. It wasn’t until the next day, Sunday at Mass that I realized the spikes were the crown of thorns. As the days progressed, and I continued to pray, the nurse told me that during the last few days when I prayed with mom, she noticed mom’s facial expression immediately became peaceful. I continued to pray along with the rest of the family up until her death. Mom entered her eternal reward.
Jesus said, “Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life”. (John 12:24-25)
Mom, who loved her flowers, was this planted seed and through her entire walk-in time with God died to herself daily until at last she had come to be a flower in full bloom and ready for eternity. Mom, there is no need to fear death because of any mistakes you may have made along the way, for your faith life reflected the eucharistic sacrificial love of Jesus every day. Mom, you can truly say with St. Clare, “Go securely and in peace, my blessed soul. And You, Lord, are blessed because You have created me.”
August 10, 2022
Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon her. May her soul and the soul of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.