90 Years Young

This week we are celebrating a very special woman and a very special occasion! Can you guess who she is?

Irene Bronner Vintage Black And White Photo Portrait

“Behind every successful man is a great woman.”

Humble as she is, we insist this sentiment to be true of our beloved originators, as we know Wally would. We are thrilled to honor Mrs. Irene Bronner on her 90th birthday!

In his own words from his autobiography Sharing JOY 365, Wally credits his beautiful bride:

“Irene mightily inspired, encouraged and supported me. … Irene’s support during this exciting time of progress [business foundations and growth in early marriage] was never failing. She was a dear wife and motivator in our home and in our business.”

Wally And Irene Bronner

All throughout his book Wally notes Irene’s dedication to all she did, whether it was caring for his father or niece during times of loss, her commitment to her faith and involvement in many activities, nurturing their growing family or supporting him as the business evolved with the Lord’s blessings. Irene radiates with such a warm and genuine spirit. She and Wally’s love for the Lord permeates everything they do … and EVERYONE they meet!

Together Wally and Irene have stewarded well what the Lord has given them. Many people may just see a Christmas store, but if you talk to Bronner’s team members or many guests who have been visiting for years, it is so much more …

Irene … Birthday Wishes From Some Of Your Team

  • “I could say so much more but … Irene has such grace, class, kindness – and she lives her faith in everything she does. I love her to pieces and it has been a privilege to have known her all these years. Wally would not have been able to establish Bronner’s without Irene. She has been a devoted wife, mother, missionary and co-worker.  God bless her with many more years.” – Jan Kribs
  • “‘But the meek shall inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant peace’ (Psalms 37:11). How fitting is this verse for a beautiful woman such as Irene Bronner. Not only does her name mean peace but she makes her love for the Lord Jesus very apparent, and the humble kindness she shows to all is the greatest example of Christ’s love. Irene’s life is and has been a living prayer, and I have had the great privilege of working with and for this amazing lady. Happy Birthday, Irene!” – Cindy Ross
  • “Happy 90th Birthday to one of the kindest, sweetest people on God’s green earth!Some of my fondest reflections of Irene center on my years working on the floor at the end of a busy fall day. A half hour before closing, Irene would announce, ‘The time is now 8:30 (5:00 on Sundays back in the day) and Bronner’s will be closing in 30 minutes.’ After a long and tiring day, it was like a voice from heaven for all of us!Bronner's Employee Craig Fick With Wally And Irene At high School Open House In 1985

    I am also very fond of time you and Wally attended my high school graduation party after being in the Bavarian Festival parade that same day. Despite your incredibly busy schedule and the fact that I had been an employee for less than a year at that point, yours and Wally’s presence made a huge impression on me, my family and friends in attendance. I still have the photo of the three of us from that day in my FHS portfolio and is one of the great memories I have from that year. To say my friends were green with envy is an understatement to say the least!

    Being invited to attend the TV-12 Saginaw Symphony CHRISTmas Concert with you and Wally back in 1994 was also very special. (The front row seats weren’t too shabby either!) Who else would anyone want to spend an evening enjoying a Christmas concert with other than ‘Mr. & Mrs. Christmas’?Blessings and best wishes for many, many more years of good health and happiness!” – Craig, Heather, & Kylie Fick

  • “One of my favorite parts of working at Bronner’s is that on the evenings when Irene closes, she always adds a personal touch to the closing announcement by thanking the customers and also thanking the staff for all that we do as well. If it is poor weather, she wishes us safe travels, and if it is a beautiful afternoon, she encourages us to enjoy it. It just gives you a warm feeling inside when you hear that. Thank you, Irene! May you have the happiest of birthdays.” – Stacy Tuck
  • “Dear Irene, With gratitude and appreciation, I love hearing your voice signing off over the intercom after a long day at work. You make me smile every time I  hear the evening announcement. You’re an inspiration to me, sharing your kindness and care for the employees here at Bronner’s. I  wish you a very happy birthday and hope you have a day filled with love!” – Erin Lee Beller
  • “Faith is the seed of inspiration. Happy birthday to someone who never ceases to inspire me and all those around you.” – Connie Rochow
  • “I’d like to add that it always brings a smile to my face when Irene’s voice comes over the PA system at the end of the night, thanking the customers who came in to shop as well as thanking the staff for all their hard work.” – Joshua Roebuck
  • “Happy Birthday, Irene! I enjoy seeing you every week at work, and I hope I look as good as you do when I am 90 years young! God’s blessings!” – Jill Catterfeld
  • “Working on Friday nights with Irene has been very nice. She is so sweet to everyone and I love hearing her closing announcement. Irene always thanks the guests and the staff . She also tells everyone to be careful on the roads. Irene makes all of us feel so special. She is a very special lady to all of us. Happy Birthday, Irene!” – Renee Lacewell
  • “Irene, my heart is full from having the privilege to know you and see you every week! You have blessed my life in more ways than you will ever know. I thank you for helping to build a company that values faith and family, and allows me to foster the passions the Lord has placed in my heart. You are inspiring, with a long legacy of love that comes from a pure heart. I will never forget the immense kindness you showed to me when you came to teach the ladies from church how to make your mouth-watering butterhorns*; but it was the time we had to converse and hear your heart that I will most cherish. I will always have the utmost adoration for you. My wish is, this birthday, you will have a glimpse of the HUGE impact you have made on countless lives, and that you will be filled with heaven’s love as you are surrounded by friends and family. I love you, my sister in Christ Jesus!” – Aileen Libbey

 Did You Know?

At 90 years young, Irene is still an adored presence in the Frankenmuth, Michigan store, working hard in Bronner’s reception department!

See her pictured here from her 89th birthday last year which was shared in our DIY tinsel decor post.

Irene Bronner's 89th Birthday with giant tinsel numbers

Staff celebrate Wally and Irene's 80th Birthday
Staff gather for a joint-celebration of Wally and Irene’s 80th birthday’s in 2007.

Your Birthday Wishes

Please feel free to share your own birthday message with our dear Irene Bronner in the comments below!

*Irene’s delicious butterhorn pastry recipe is available in Bronner’s Flavorful Favorites, 1st edition on page 107.

 

Enter to win a $90 Gift Card Contest

In honor of Irene’s birthday and as a thank you to our wonderful subscribers, we are giving away a $90 gift card that can be used in-store or online at bronners.com. This contest is for subscribers only so if you haven’t already, make sure to subscribe now! The contest will run from now until her birthday, Midnight EST March 16, 2017.
Enter to Win!

19 thoughts on “90 Years Young

  • March 21, 2017 at 10:03 am
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    Congratulations to Jeff from Ohio who won a $90 Bronner’s gift card in our contest open to blog subscribers in honor of Irene Bronner’s 90th birthday! We sure appreciate our blog subscribers!

  • March 14, 2017 at 4:08 pm
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    Irene is a true inspriration to all of the working class by still working and doing so with grace and a sweetness everyone should have in the privledge of knowing and working with. I worked for a major company for 30 yrs and with Bronners for 10 and believe me what a difference in the appreciation shown by them. Wally and Irene are the Gods true gift of generous people. Happy birthday Irene and thank you for all that you are.

  • March 13, 2017 at 3:59 pm
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    Dear Irene–We at Wellspring Lutheran Services wish you God’s richest blessings on your 90th birthday! You are a blessing to us as well as the Frankenmuth community. We thank God for you!

  • March 13, 2017 at 1:08 pm
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    Mrs. Irene Bronner,
    We honor you on this, your 90th birthday! Thank you for the many, incredible contributions you have made to the Frankenmuth community and more importantly for the example of humble success and grace you exude through your love for the Lord and others. We are TRULY blessed to know you. May the Lord continue to bless you in every possible way.

  • March 13, 2017 at 9:34 am
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    Happy birthday Irene. You’re an inspiration to all.

  • March 12, 2017 at 6:19 pm
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    Our paths did not cross often, but when they did it was always a very pleasant experience.
    Wishing you a very special birthday.

  • March 12, 2017 at 6:23 am
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    Happy 90th Birthday Irene! My husband brought me to Bronner’s for the first time when we were dating, and I was visiting his family in Novi, Michigan for the first time. That was 21 years ago. I was so impressed by the size of the store, and how it showcased the reason for CHRISTmas. Over the last 17 years that we have been married everytime we are in Michigan we make it to Bronner’s. When at home in Washington State I can and do order from your website. I love to have ornaments personalized for our Godchildren, and other family members. I have received many comments about how nice of a gift they are. Bronner’s has been a nice tradition for us. We wish you a very happy birthday, and we pray you will continue to have good health and enjoy your life.

  • March 11, 2017 at 1:51 pm
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    Happy birthday to a wonderful lady!!!!

    I have admired you and your husband since first discovering Bronners! Such vision you all must of had and then to see it ALL come to life!!

    On one of our visits there, I just caught a glimpse of a red sports coat. It was pretty crowded that day so I was never able to see who was wearing that coat.

    My son is in a wheel chair and loves your store as much as I do. My father had my son in the snack shop and when we met up with them my dad said that they had seen your husband in the red coat!!! I was so upset that I missed him!!!

    That bothered me for several years… when I read of your husband’s passing, I cried and mourned as if he was family to me…. I still can’t walk out of the Silent Night Chapel without crying…

    Thank you to you and your family for giving us this little slice of heaven here on earth!!! Looking forward to our next visit!!!

    Happy birthday to you!!!! Maybe I’ll get lucky some day and get to meet you! The honor would be all mine…

    Thank you again fir everything…!

  • March 11, 2017 at 11:21 am
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    Happy Birthday, Irene.
    You (and Wally) were always so kind and generous to visit with us, and to give us a special tour of the store when we came to Michigan to visit (the last time, with our mother, Margaret – who had such fond memories of spending time with you and your siblings on the Pretzer farm during the summers of her childhood).
    Sending wishes for good health, and many blessings throughout the year.

  • March 11, 2017 at 7:16 am
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    Happy Birthday Irene! I grew up in Hartland and enjoyed many special trip to Bronner’s growing up. I now live in Florida with my husband. Every Christmas we come back to Michigan to see my family, and we have made it at tradition to stop at Bronner’s on our way to Mom and Dad’s house. I love your store, and Thank you greatly for keeping such a spectacular place going. And for also keeping Christ in Christmas!!

  • March 10, 2017 at 11:29 pm
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    What a beautiful and obviously, wonderful lady. Happy, happy birthday.

  • March 10, 2017 at 11:26 pm
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    best wishes on
    your 90th birthday
    Mrs.Bronner ~===
    I enjoyed visiting
    your store as a child
    with my folks
    and visiting again
    with my husband

  • March 10, 2017 at 8:47 pm
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    God’s richest blessing upon you Irene as you celebrate your milestone birthday. May God continue to bless you and your husband as you have for so many of us. What a tremendous gift you have given to our corner of this country. Now there is four generations of us coming every November to enjoy the fruits of your labor. I Corinthians 16:23

  • March 10, 2017 at 7:49 pm
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    Happy Birthday Mrs. Bronner. 90 years young!! You are an inspiration to all of us.

  • March 10, 2017 at 6:52 pm
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    Happy Birthday Irene! What a wonderful legacy you and your husband have given us. I can’t tell you how happy I was to visit your store for the first time last year. I was such a fun and festive experience. I hope your 90th birthday is very special. Congratulations!

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