Irja Malm Edgett
Irja Malm Edgett, 91, of The Deerfield in New Richmond, WI passed away 8/3/21. She was the only child of Atu and Hilja Malm of Cloquet, MN. She proudly recalled her days as a hard-working farm-girl, milking cows and harnessing the big Belgian horses. Despite beginning school as a shy Finnish girl that couldn’t speak a word of English, Irja flourished and graduated from Cloquet High School in 1949 and began working at the Cloquet Co-op, where she began honing her people skills. At one of the country dances she loved to attend, she met Clifford Edgett of Floodwood, MN, and they married in 1952. After Cliff returned from two years in the Army, he and Irja settled in the Cities and welcomed firstborn son Steven, in 1956. After acquiring their first home in Richfield, they welcomed second son Clifford Jr., in 1959. Daughter Nancy came as a bit of a surprise in 1966. Irja was a devoted mother, amazing seamstress and excellent cook. She also took great interest in her kids’ education and volunteered for many school activities over the years. She enjoyed attending her kids’ various sporting events, as well as rooting for her hometown teams. Her love of driving fast won her the admiration of Cliff Jr.‘s Boy Scout buddies when she could be counted on to get them to camp first. Her love of driving never waned and she enjoyed exploring the backroads to find hidden gems. She always possessed an independent spirit and sassy demeanor. Irja did not suffer fools gladly, but remained a devoted friend to those close to her.
In 1977 the family moved to Crystal, MN where Irja began working for Jerry Leonard, a clothier for big and tall men, something she knew plenty about! In 1984 Cliff and Irja moved to Georgia, and then to Arizona in 1989. But because Irja’s heart never left Minnesota, they returned to their home state, where they lived until moving to Wisconsin in 2013.
Irja is survived by her devoted husband Clifford, son Steven (Irene), son Clifford Jr. (Kathy), and daughter Nancy Edgett-Tritt (Mark); grandchildren Tyler (Davlyn), Lauren (Corey), Roxanne and Dale; three step-grandchildren, five great-grandchildren and seven step-great-grandchildren. A celebration of life will be held at the New Richmond WI Legion Post #80 on Sunday, 8/29/21, from 12-4pm.
Until she can once again dance Polka #5 in Cliff’s arms, she is no doubt hugging her beloved father, cat Foxie, and catching up with friends over some heavenly coffee!