Irene G. (Higgins) Van Wormer was born on September 3, 1914, in the Higgins family homestead in Pleasant Prairie, WI. She was the daughter of the late Howard and Mabel (Benedict) Higgins, and the great granddaughter of Fitch Allen Higgins, who was one of the early settlers of Kenosha, WI, having arrived there in 1836 from Connecticut.
Irene moved with her family to Kenosha at the age of five. She was educated in the schools of Kenosha and graduated from Kenosha High School in 1932.
Irene moved to her long-time home on 21st Avenue in Kenosha as a new bride in July 1935, and resided there for 77 years. Her husband, Bernard Peter Van Wormer, was employed as an engineer with American Motors for 46 years and was responsible for engineering operations for the Kenosha plant. He preceded her in death on December 18, 1986. She stayed in the family home until 98 years of age, when she moved in 2012 to Indiana to be closer to family members.
She resided at Brentwood Assisted Living for six years, and was recently a resident of Miller's Health, LaPorte, until her death.
She had two sons, Glen H. Van Wormer of Stillwater, MN, and Bernie L. Van Wormer, of LaPorte. She married B.D. (Johnny) Madden in 1990, who also preceded her in death in 2003.
She was a member of the Wisconsin Society of Mayflower Descendants, Kenosha Chapter of Daughters of the American Revolution, Kenosha Bradford High School Alumni Association, Kenosha County Historical Society, former member of Connecticut Society of Genealogists, and former member of Past Presidents of PTA.
She was a volunteer at United Hospital Systems Medical Center in Kenosha from 1962 to 2012, amassing 11,500 volunteer hours, and her 50 years service stands as a volunteer record there.
Her main hobby was genealogy; she had written a number of family history books.
She is survived by her two sons, Glen (Diana) Van Wormer of Stillwater, MN, and Bernie (Georgia) Van Wormer of La Porte, IN; a step daughter, Linda (Harold) Skelton of Concord, N.C.; five grandchildren, Greg, Scott, David and Ty Van Wormer and Denise Howard; two step grandchildren, Katie Stallings and Michael Skelton; eight great grandchildren; and a niece, Linda (Howard) Clausen of Arkansas. She was preceded in death by her parents, her two husbands and a sister, Genevieve (Gilbert) Sanville.
A celebration of her long and happy life will be held on Saturday, April 14, at 10:30 a.m. at Hansen-Lendman Funeral Home. Visitation will be held on Saturday from 9:30 a.m. until the time of service. Her remains will be interred at Green Ridge Cemetery in Kenosha immediately following. She will be remembered fondly.
Memorials would be appreciated to a charity that assists children in need.
Published online at KenoshaNews.com on October 22, 2017