Ira "Ike" Henry Mlsna
June 2, 2021
Ira "Ike" Henry Mlsna - Cashton, WI - On a small farm outside Cashton, Wisconsin, on June 12, 1926, Edwin and Magdalene (Butzler) Mlsna added another bouncing baby boy to their brood. Ira Henry joined his brothers and sister in making mischief; tricking a ram into hitting the silo, sneaking watermelons out of the truck, and skipping school to fish-but also did his fair share of hard work-raising sheep to shear for pilots' jackets. He missed the cut off for WWII by mere days. On the family farm, he milked 30 cows, until he found work at the rubber mills in La Crosse. This was 'one of his best decisions ever.' At a wedding "uptown" he met a spunky little gal from Norwalk, Marion Haugen. She fell in love with this sweet, clever, bull-headed Bohemian, and after a courtship involving handwritten love notes and a trip up in an airplane; they married on May 24, 1948.
He became "Dad" to seven children-James, Jack (Mary), Cheryl (Steve), Mark (Bridget), Pat (Cindy), Jeffrey (daughter-in-law Cheryl preceded him in death), and Bruce (Beth). He raised them to learn that if you wanted something, you had to work for it. In springtime, Ira was often found on back roads throughout Vernon and Monroe County, running his steam engine on tobacco beds-a job he really enjoyed. He tended bar Saturdays at Peck's, played baseball, on rainy days when fieldwork was paused, it sent him uptown to play Euchre with his neighbors with a child or two in tow. His demand for hard work from his children was balanced with playing hard as well. As the children grew they would go to Black River Falls for opening weekend of deer season, and later he was instrumental in building the family's hunting cabin. He earned the nickname of "Woody" for his love of cutting wood and skill at doing so. Ike was known to have enough wood cut, stacked, and ready to warm the house for three cold years. During retirement, he worked for the Cashton Cooperative, hauling fertilizer and making sure that the younger generation knew how to sweep a floor. He also spent a few weeks every fall at Habelman Cranberries running the dryer.
Ike and Marion were members of the Sacred Heart Church Choir for years; showing their faith through song. Together they enjoyed traveling to Canada for their yearly fishing trip, Las Vegas for gambling fun, snowmobiling, and eating at Rockton. As time passed, he became "Grandpa Ike" to 25 grandchildren and 45 great-grandchildren. He always had Juicy Fruit in his truck for the grandkids and educated the next generations on the merits of card playing by introducing them to blackjack at the kitchen table. Grandpa Ike taught his family that shooting like a pro with open sights is achievable, what the real meaning of 'in sickness and in health' is, and you should always take good care of your chainsaw. Ira had a way of saying 'I love you' with loads of wood delivered to your door (or on the side of your house), by his nurturing of Marion, with a phone call to invite you to dinner, and "shucking" of strawberry tops.
Our dear patriarch, our Dad and Grandpa Ike; passed away on May 28, 2021, at Norseland Nursing Home in Westby, peacefully surrounded by loved ones. He was no doubt smiling as Gramma picked him up in a Cadillac. Marion always said they were meant for each other, and that he was a pretty good guy that helped her farm. Ike credited the longevity of their marriage with her never holding a grudge. We will hear whispers of his beautiful baritone voice as we sing "Sweet Violets." We will listen closely for his words of wisdom over the whir of our chainsaws as we trim a fence line. We will chuckle to ourselves when suddenly our foot becomes lead and our speedometer climbs. We will smile when our Bohemian stubbornness peeks through, and attribute it to him. We will recall the freshest shore lunch possible, made on the rocks in Canada with him and Gramma, as soon as we taste fish. We will think of him as we hop in a tractor, knowing the love of farming has deep roots in our family. We will remember that roast is best with Gramma's dumplings, a 20-minute power nap is all you need, and... the wood fire always needs another log.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held Wednesday, June 2, 2021, 11:00 a.m. at Sacred Heart Catholic Church. Father Michael Klos and Father Todd Mlsna will officiate. Burial will follow in the church cemetery. Family and friends are invited for visitation Tuesday, June 1, beginning with Rosary 3:30 pm and concluding at 7:00 p.m. at Sacred Heart Church. Visitation will also be held Wednesday from 10 am until the time of service.
The Torkelson Funeral Home in Cashton is assisting the family. Online condolences may be offered at http://www.torkelsonfuneralhome.com.