Florence Irwin

Florence Irwin, 91, a longtime Buford area resident, died at the Roosevelt Memorial Health Center in Culbertson, Mont., on Tuesday evening, Feb. 26, 2013. Funeral services will be held Saturday, March 2, 2013, at 2:30 p.m., in Faith United Methodist Church in Williston. Pastor Mark Britton will officiate and interment will follow at Riverview Cemetery, Williston. Friends may share memories and condolences with the family online at (www.fulkersons.com).

Florence Irwin was born May 17, 1921, in York, the third child of Thomas and Josephine (Muri) Gerald. She was educated at Wolford. As a girl, Florence had a horse that she would ride to school and to visit the neighbor kids. The horse once slid on the ice, landing Florence on the ground. The horse later went on to race in Belcourt. While in high school, Florence was so respected by the superintendent that she once taught class for two weeks while a teacher was ill. She graduated from high school in Brinsmade.

Florence went on to Jamestown College, where she received an associate degree in elementary education. In 1976 she received her bachelor of arts degree at Mayville State College.

Florence married Adolph York and the couple made their home in Nanson. The couple had two boys, Keith and Ray. The couple later divorced.

She had many friends in the community. Florence taught grades one through eight in a rural school at Island Lake and Nanson, mostly in Rolette County, from around 1942 to 1954. She put on wonderful plays during Christmas that involved all of her students. The Rolette County Superintendent said she was one of the best teachers in the county.

Florence was very involved in NDEA (North Dakota Education Association) and was an officer for a time. She encouraged and assisted her students in preparing exhibits at the Rolette County Fair, where numerous awards were won. She once had a student she was so pleased with she encouraged him to study the encyclopedia. This student later went on to become a medical doctor. He wrote to her once and told her that she put the spark in him to become a doctor.

In the fall of 1954, Florence moved to Trenton with her two sons, where she made many friends. She taught second grade in Trenton from 1954 to 1988. She was president of the Trenton School Board, and principal of the Trenton Grade School. She retired from teaching in 1988 with over 31 years of teaching, and she continued to substitute teach for a number of years after.

In 1958 Florence married the love of her life, John Irwin, a Trenton area farmer and rancher. A son, Loren, was born in 1959. They made their home on the ranch, and Florence continued to live there until 2011. At age 90, she was still driving and the family convinced her that it was no longer safe with all the oil field traffic, and she gave up driving. She entered the Kensington in Williston in 2011 and in 2012 she entered the Roosevelt Memorial Nursing Home in Culbertson, Mont., where she resided until her death.

Florence is survived by: her sons, Keith York, of Williston, Ray York and Kay York, of Bismarck, and Loren (LaVon) Irwin, of Trenton; stepchildren, Wilbur York, of Hemet, Calif., Dale (Jan) York, of Oregon City, Ore., and Bonnie York, of Minneapolis; 12 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren; and sister, Fern Buchta, of Leeds; along with several nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her parents; husband, John; sister, Nellie Hanson; and brothers, Lester Gerald and George Gerald.

Friends may call at Fulkerson Funeral Home of Williston on Friday, March 1, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, March 2, from 10 a.m. to noon, and an hour prior to services at the church on Saturday.