Peterson, Irene

Irene Marie Peterson, 96, of Deer River, MN, and former resident of International Falls, MN, passed away on Sunday, May 30, 2021 in Deer River, MN. She will be joining many family members lost before her and many loved friends. Irene was born to David and Mary (Vanzant) Forsythe on October 2, 1924 in Littlefork, MN.

Irene was united in marriage to Lionel Dugas in 1942. They were blessed with four children; Janice, Leo, Randy and Julie. Sadly, Lionel passed away in 1965. Irene later met Lenard Peterson. They married in 1982; adding Faye and Bob Thomson to the family circle. Irene and Lenard lived on Rainy Lake where they enjoyed the company of multitudes of grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren. Irene’s family reflects how “she brought sunshine and smiles to our lives wherever she was; in her garden, fishing on the lake, or cooking in the kitchen while whistling a tune and bringing us comfort and joy!”

Irene will be missed by her children and many more, including her nieces, nephews, friends and caregivers. Irene is survived by her children: Leo (Anita) Dugas, Randy (Kay) Dugas, and Julie (Layne) Cochrane; son-in law Randy Lehn; step child Faye (Bob) Thompson; brothers Freeman Forsythe and Gerald Forsythe; numerous grandchildren, and great-grand-children, nieces, nephews, and friends. Irene was preceded in death by her husband Lionel Dugas; and her 2nd husband Lenard Peterson; her daughter Janice Lehn; granddaughter Angela Dugas Owen; five sisters and four brothers.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Thursday, June 3, 2021 at 10:00am at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Cook, MN. Visitation will be held one hour prior to the service at the church. To leave an online condolence visit

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