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Irene Viola Hager

By Staff | Sep 11, 2021

June 10, 1922-Aug. 31, 2021

Irene Viola Hager, 99,

died at the Heart of Amer-

ica Medical Center on Au-

gust 31, 2021. Irene was

born on June 10, 1922, in

the family farmhouse

about 5 miles East of Wol-

ford, ND, the youngest

child of Even Evenson

Haugen and Hannah

Oline (Nygaard) Haugen.

She graduated from Wol-

ford High School in 1941

and then continued on at

Minot State Teachers Col-

lege where she earned her

teaching certificate in

1943. She married Frank

Joseph Hager in Alexan-

dria, Minnesota on July 7,

1947. She taught in rural

country schools and small

communities for many

years before ending her

teaching career at Little

Flower Catholic School in

Rugby where she taught

5th grade for 12 years.

Frank and Irene lived in

Towner until the family

moved to Rugby in 1961.

She recognized her need

for assistance so moved to

the Haaland Estates in

Rugby in 2016. Irene was

a proud member of the

Delta Kappa Gamma –

Lambda Chapter of Wom-

en Educators for over 60

years and the American

Legion Auxiliary for over

70 years. She thoroughly

enjoyed her many years of

volunteer work at the

Heart of America Medical

Center where, in 2008,

she was selected as the

Volunteer of the Year. She

was also a long-time

member of the Confrater-

nity of Christian Mothers,

the Eagles Auxiliary and

Relay For Life as a cancer


Irene was a daily jour-

nal writer and was well

known for her perfect

penmanship. In the last

few years, she wrote of

her childhood in “The

Story Of A Lifetime” book

and included the major

medical issues she experi-

enced. She had Di-

phtheria at age two which

was the only known case

in North Dakota at the

time and meant that the

family needed to quaran-

tine and she needed to

learn how to walk all over

again. At age five she re-

quired Mastoid surgery

(hence the serious hearing

loss later in life). Upon

entering 7th grade, she

was diagnosed with Tu-

berculosis requiring total

quarantine to a room at

home and missing her en-

tire year of school.

Perhaps these early health

concerns explain why she

was always trying to stay

healthy in her adult years.

She was an avid walker

and you may have seen

her peddling her

three-wheeled bike

around Rugby. Having to

rely on her “cart” didn’t

stop her from strolling

down the halls of the Haa-

land Estates many times a

day or from her daily mile

on the step machine. Del-

by and Delwyn grew up

with her Sunday chicken

dinners; carrot cookies;

garden fresh vegetables;

all the permission in the

world for playing outside

no matter the weather;

and, staying involved in

every club, team, game,

sport, school and church

activity imaginable. The

winter travels to Arizona

were special to Frank and

Irene and well deserved

after their professional

careers had ended. Irene

was indeed a very spiritu-

al person and taught by

her example, the value of

religious readings, regular

attendance at mass and

prayer. She lived a long

and active life.

Irene is survived by her

son, Delwyn and his wife

Jean Hager of Grand Forks

and her daughter in law,

Janice Hager of Mesa, Ar-

izona. She also leaves 5

grandchildren: Karla

Frost, Jennifer Cleveland,

Mike Hager, Sarah

Paschall and Jon Hager;

along with 13 great

grandchildren, three

sisters-in-law and many

nieces and nephews. She

was preceded in death by

her parents, her husband

on April 3, 2003, a son,

Delby on May 5, 2018,

and her siblings: Elmer

Haugen, Amanda Hov-

land, Myrtle Ekren, Esther

Maute, and Chester Hau-


Funeral services will be

held at Little Flower

Catholic Church on Fri-

day, September 10, 2021,

at 11:00 AM. Visitation

will be held at the

Niewoehner Funeral

Home in Rugby on Thurs-

day, September 9, 2021,

from 5-7 PM followed by

a prayer service at 7 PM.

Visitation will continue

on Friday morning from

8-10 AM. There is no re-

viewal at the church.

Irene will be buried in Lit-

tle Flower Cemetery fol-

lowing the service.

In lieu of flowers,

please consider a dona-

tion to the Little Flower

School or a local charity

of your choice.

Guests are reminded

that Covid-19 conditions

still exist and understand-

ing in urged. On line tri-

butes at www.niewoehner


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