\r\n\r\n“Precious memories, how they linger… And when you’ve been alive as long as I have, you live off of your memories.” Irene was always one to live what she preached, so she made certain she left her loved ones with volumes of memories.\r\n\r\nOur loving mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother, Irene Blakeman Lerdahl, passed away peacefully on July 16, 2021, in her home surrounded by loved ones. Irene was born December 20, 1926 to George A. Blakeman and Mildred I. Ramsey in Croghan, Lewis County, New York. Irene grew up in the picturesque green Adirondack Mountains of New York. She graduated from the Town of Webb School, Old Forge, New York in 1945.\r\n\r\nIrene attended college and pharmacy school in Albany, New York. She moved to Salt Lake City for the great skiing, and enrolled at LDS Business School where she fell in love with her sweetheart. Floyd E. Lerdahl was a handsome Navy man who adored singing and loved her dearly. Their love was a beautiful example to those that were lucky enough to witness it. Floyd and Irene were married in the Salt Lake Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on June 24, 1949. They had five wonderful children, who Irene taught to sail, ski, catch pollywogs and frogs, the gifts of literature, the joy of music, to seek opportunities to learn, and to always be ready for the next adventure in life. She raised her beloved children with a sense of wonder, and felt there was a direct correlation between the amount of mud on the child, and amount of fun they’d had. Floyd and Irene were happily married for 67 years. True to form, to celebrate their 50th anniversary, the couple opted to take the entire family to a water park to play and create fun memories, rather than doing a “fancy dinner.” There was nothing more important to Irene and Floyd than family, and they strived to keep the bonds with their loved ones strong, no matter where they lived. Over the years, the couple resided in Salt Lake City, the Adirondack Mountains of New York, Washington, Utah and lastly in Sandy, Utah; however, Kearns was their home for more than fifty years.\r\n\r\nIrene was genuinely happy and cheery, an optimist. She was constantly looking for opportunities to help bear others’ burdens and celebrate others’ joys. She had a passion for literacy, tutoring and teaching many how to read. Irene had a deep love for the Lord with great faith in his atonement. She loved learning and teaching about Jesus. She not only served as a teacher, but being a convert, had a lifelong curiosity of genealogy, which lead her to volunteer at the Church Genealogical Library for many years. She instilled a deep love and appreciation for history and genealogy in three generations of loved ones. She knew the importance of remembering the person and the life lived, not just the names and dates. Irene often shared stories about her ancestors coming to America and their unique struggles. She would research and study the individuals to create a full picture of who they really were and what life was like for them. She wanted to know who these individuals were, and felt strongly that each life told a story that could truly inspire. She would describe ancestors, exhausted and weary, having to dig pits deep in the ground to survive the winter, and the conviction and determination they demonstrated. She described the tribulation of coming to early America as indentured servants and the struggles they endured to live in this country. She was proud that her ancestors were among the earliest settlers in New England and often recounted the stories of specific ancestors who fought in the Revolutionary and Civil Wars.\r\n\r\nShe was an incredible storyteller. She brought characters to life, and even did “voices.” Her love for reading was evident as she taught many to read. She hoped to share her passion for learning, and the value of a wonderful story. She was particularly drawn to American History, and never missed an opportunity to share her strong faith in our Nation. She believed that the strength of our country was dependent on the actions and contributions of each individual, and she understood that change begins when citizens care enough to get involved. She served many times as an election judge and as delegate to county and state nominating conventions as well as a precinct and legislative district chairperson. She actively encouraged and promoted candidates to run for office, as well as encouraging her grandchildren and others to become and stay active in politics.\r\n\r\nIrene had a gift for turning mundane things into something magical, especially for her grandchildren. Irene’s home was a peaceful refuge for many decades and multiple generations. Her grandchildren remember the secret pop-up books kept hidden under the sofa, just for them or trying to sneak a chocolate from the tin music box without making the music chime. (Even though Grandma wouldn’t have minded one bit…) She taught them how to ski, and even told them how fun it was to zip down the slopes on a paramedic toboggan after a snow-plowing lesson went awry. She adored magical family picnics in the mountains… Irene would drive up ahead of time, tie candies on a tree with yarn, and place a tape player nearby. Later, when she would take the grandkids exploring, she would say, “Listen… do you hear that music? I think I hear the woodland fairies…” Following the sound of the music, Irene would lead her grandkids to The Fairy Tree, covered in candy, like ornaments at Christmas. She wrote letters to her grandchildren penned by fairies, angels, and Mrs. Clause. She hosted granddaughter tea-parties on mismatched china. And true to her fun and adventurous sense of fashion, always felt it appropriate to let them wear dress-up costumes on outings… to the grocery store to buy fried chicken and cookies, or to the library to pick out new books to read together.\r\n\r\nIrene believed in a few simple rules; **The Golden Rule was something to live by. **There is always something to be grateful for. **Always tell your dear ones that you love them; tell them twice when you are upset with them. **It’s important to eat dessert FIRST every once in a while, especially if it’s ice cream. **“Dammit” isn’t really a swear word. **Thrifting, or “treasure hunting,” as she called it, is an effective form of therapy. **And that everybody has gold within them. (And she cared enough about others to help them polish down SOME of the rough spots until they could see it too… But a little grit was perfectly fine… It’s what gives us character.)\r\n\r\nIrene’s personality was larger than life. She packed a lot of life into her years, even defying death multiple times. She simply had way too much living still to do, to let a few heart attacks and open-heart surgery get in the way of her plans. She managed to squeeze in more adventures, stories, humor, and love than it would seem possible to fit into such a tiny woman. She was magical that way.\r\n\r\nIrene is survived by her children Paul (Dianne), Mark, Alice (Lynn) Bigelow, David (Valja) and Phillip, 20 grandchildren, and 35 great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband Floyd, daughter-in-law Shelley, grandson Stephen Humble and great-grandsons Michael Ryan Tatton and Atticus Grant Henderson.\r\n\r\nOh, One last rule… a great recipe should always be shared! Especially the “Secret” recipes obtained through espionage. Mom’s neighbor, Mary Jane, had a recipe for Picnic Cake. It was held secure in a secret vault and never divulged or shared, Mary Jane’s alone to cherish, bake and take to ward dinners. The recipe was coveted by all who partook. One day, Mary Jane’s son commented that he sure would like a piece of picnic cake. Mom said she would be happy to bake the cake but could not. She didn’t have the recipe. If she only had the recipe she could bake the cake. Moments later, the boy produced the highly classified document. Mom copied the recipe and made the cake, as promised. The boy and Mark enjoyed their pieces of picnic cake. The recipe was returned to the secret vault. Mom made and shared the cake happily ever after. Mary Jane never found out that mom had the recipe. Mom changed the name to Grandma Irene’s Picnic Cake because this version is shared.\r\n\r\nGrandmother Lerdahl’s Picnic Cake\r\n1.\t Combine and then let cool:\r\n1 cup (½ lb.) course chopped dates\r\n1 ½ cups boiling water\r\n1 tsp soda\r\n2.\tMix well then add to cooled date mixture:\r\n1 cup sugar\t\t2 eggs\r\n¾ cup butter\t\t1 TBSP vanilla\r\n3.\tSift together then add to date mixture:\r\n1 ¾ cup sifted flour\t½ tsp cinnamon\r\n½ tsp salt\t\r\n4.\tPour into greased and floured 9 x 13 or 11 x 13 pan.\r\n5.\tBefore baking, top with:\r\n½ cup brown sugar\t½ cup chocolate chips\r\n½ cup chopped nuts\r\n6.\tBake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until done.\r\n\r\nFuneral services will be held Wednesday, July 21, 2021 at 11:00 am at Jenkins-Soffe Mortuary located at 4760 South State Street, Murray, Utah. Prior to the service a viewing will be from 10:00-10:45 am.