Mass of Christian Burial

Tuesday, January​ 19, 2021

12:00 Noon

Catholic Community of St. Odilia

3495 N. Victoria St., Shoreview

Irene Marie Kolles (Kuelbs)

Irene Marie Kolles (Kuelbs), wife of Bertrand A. Kolles, died peacefully on January 12, 2021 in Roseville, MN.


She was preceded in death by brothers, Lawrence, James, Leo, and Joe.


She is survived by her husband and their five children and spouses: Mary Kolles of Shoreview, MN, Julie Doyle of White Bear Lake, MN, Joseph Kolles of Roseville, MN, Brett Kolles of Eagan, MN, and Camille Kolles of Minneapolis, MN, and grandchildren Samantha Kolles, Molly Kolles-Sowada, Ryan Doyle, Hayley James, Melissa Doyle, Michael Kolles, Rachel Painter, and Steven Kolles-Sowada. Great grandchildren are Colin, Priya, and Toni.


Growing up in Gaylord, MN, academic scholarship was a priority to her, and she became the valedictorian of her class at Gaylord High School. She went on to attend the College of St. Teresa in Winona, MN, earning entrance into exclusive societies for academic excellence, good character, and high participation in extracurricular activities, including The Ivory Tower and the House of Gold Graduate Society. She was elected to the Student Council, became editor of the college yearbook, and graduated 3rd in her college class.


Literature and reading played a big role in her life, sowing the seeds for her years as an outstanding high school English teacher in Winona, Carleton, and Benson, MN. She loved poetry, particularly Shakespeare, and inspired her students as well as her children to memorize poetry for its sheer pleasure.


Irene was a humble, self-sacrificing and prayerful person. She gave up her very successful teaching career to become a devoted, caring, loving mother to her five children. One of her greatest accomplishments was that she inspired each family member to be their very best and always appealed to their higher nature. Among the educational achievements of her children are five college degrees, four master’s degrees and one PhD degree. Irene’s efforts and selfless dedication are evident in her children’s individual outstanding contributions in religion, social work, music, non-profit leadership, and education.


She was an avid Scrabble-player, still winning challenging games in her 9th decade of life. She was a deep thinker and conversationalist with a sharp wit and great sense of humor. Until her final days she could eloquently quote entire Shakespeare sonnets from memory. Irene will be deeply missed by her family, relatives, and friends.


A funeral Mass will be held on Tuesday, January 19, 2021, at 12:00 Noon at the Catholic Community of St. Odilia, 3495 North Victoria, Shoreview, MN 55126. 

Live Stream link available here starting 10 minutes prior to service.


Interment is in a mausoleum at Sunset Cemetery in St. Anthony, MN.


In lieu of flowers, Irene requested Catholic memorial Masses and prayers.

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