Tombstone Tuesday – February 7, 2023 – Irene Almira Beutal Fritz

Irene Almira Beutal was the daughter of Martin Frederick and Catherine Dorothea (Labuhn) Beutal. She was born in Fair Haven, Michigan on February 11, 1900. She was the youngest of fourteen children; Mary (1878), Emma (1879), Albert (1882), Fredrick C (1887), Ernst (1889), Louisa J. (1891), Martha M. (1892), Hilda (1894), Florence E, (1896), Ester (1899) Irene A. (1900). Mary and Emma were found in the 1880 Federal Census and the remaining children listed were found in the 1900 Census. Four children are unknown to me, but are referred to in the memoir quoted below. It may have been that they died as infants or children between the 1880 Census and the 1900 Census. In the 1910 Federal Census, Martin and Catherine had five remaining children living at home ; Fred C, Hilda, Florence, Ester, Irene.

Irene married William Albert Fritz on March 16, 1920 in Ira Township, St Clair County, Michigan. They had nine children; Richard (1920), Robert (1921), Warren (1923), Delmer (1924), Loralie (1926), William Albert (1928), Eldon (1929), Delores (1934), and Patricia Ann (1938). William Albert was a farmer who ran his family farm.

Quoted below from a Memoir written by Francis Louise Vondett Fritz called “ The Past Year 1767- March 1984


Irene was born February 11, 1900 at the family farm on Arnold Road.  She was the youngest of fourteen children of Martin and Catherine Labuhn Beutel.  At the age of twenty, she married William Albert Fritz on March 16, 1920.  They lived on a farm all their married life and raised nine children.  She was on her second pacemaker when she died of Congestive Heart Failure in General Hospital, Mt. Clemens on February 7, 1977.  She was buried in Woodlawn Cemetery, Marine City, Michigan.

Irene’s parents, Martin Frederick Beutel (3-25-1848/9-24-1922) and the former Catherine Labuhn (6-21-1859/9-25-23) lived on a farm on Arnold Road until shortly before his death, when illness forced them to move to Marine City.  He raised skunks for extra income.  He sold the pelts to a furrier in Detroit and the carcasses to the Broadway Hotel in Marine City where they were served as muskrat, because that sounded better.  Catherine developed cancer on her forehead in her later years.  It was diagnosed as “Lupus” and was treated by rubbing table salt into the raw area.  It spread rapidly and caused her death just a year after her husband had died of a heart attack.  They are both buried beside his father in St. Peter’s Cemetery in Ira Township.

Irene grew up on the farm and attended Poplar Grove School, a long walk.  When it was time for her to be confirmed, she went to Detroit and lived with her older sister, Anna Abend, and took her confirmation classes there.  As a teenager, she played the organ at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, where the family attended worship services.  They usually walked to services and seldom missed.

As the youngest in the family, Irene had been quite pampered by older brothers and sisters until they all left home and she had all the farm work with horses, to do by herself, since her father was not well.  Her sister Lena Wiedman, lived on a farm on Arnold Road.  Her husband came to help Irene with heavy work when he could spare the time from his own farm.

Irene was a pretty, vivacious girl, very active in church young people’s group and other social affairs of the community.  A number of the young men went overseas in World War I.  Irene was amazed when two and a half years later, a good friend, Larry Fritz, from Marine City, showed up asking her to marry him.  He had even bought a ring in France for her.  She was already planning her marriage to his cousin, Bill Fritz, so had to refuse.  They continued to remain good friends the rest of their lives.  Larry later married Gretchen Schnepp and she became one of Irene’s best friends.  The family was grief stricken at Gretchen’s untimely death when her first child was born in 1926.  She had fallen on the steps and bumped her spine.  The abscess which formed broke during childbirth and poisoned her system.

When Irene and Bill were married on March 16, 1920, they moved to a sixty acre farm his father had bought on Swan Creek Road in Section 2 of Ira Township.  Irene was kept busy raising a family.  She had seven children in eight and a half years, six boys and a girl.  Because she was so busy with outdoor work and sick children, her childless sister, Anna Abend, worried that the little girl, Loralie was not getting enough of her mother’s attention.  She took the little girl to Detroit to live with her until her brothers were well.  Thus it was that Loralie spent much of her early life in Detroit.

The seventh baby, Eldon, was three weeks old when the Bill Fritz family moved in with Bill’s parents on the Broadbridge Road Farm.  Irene didn’t have another baby for six years, a girl Dolores, and her ninth and last baby was born four years later in 1938.  But Irene was still kept busy.  She cared for her mother-in-law until her death in 1939.  Eliza’s niece came to help care for her, but this also made extra work.  Irene then cared for Eliza’s brother, William Zentgrebe, until his death in 1946.  With these sick folks to care for, Irene also had hired men and teen-aged boys to cook and clean for with no help or cooperation from her husband.

Baking was done three times a week in the wood stove oven.  Irene made eight to ten loaves of bread at a time, plus six coffee cakes to help fill up her gang of hungry boys.  She had no conveniences.  Since the well had capsized, all water for cooking, cleaning, and laundry was hauled in ten gallon milk cans which were stored on the back porch.  The large kitchen had a wood floor which had to be cleaned with a mop, scrub brush, and lots of bleach.  Irene found time to mend as she sat alone, late at night, but her ironing never got all done.  She had a large garden and did lots of canning and made crocks of dill pickles.  The children helped when they could, but they were quite busy with outdoor chores and farm work.  Bill and the boys butchered their own beef and pork, and cured hams, bacon, and sausage in the smoke house and kept a crock of corned beef down in the cellar.  Having their own meat, eggs, milk, and bread, and vegetables was a God-send because times were hard, and there was never any money.  In fact, Bill believed a woman didn’t need money.  He bought all the groceries, brought home what he thought they ought to have.  He bought their clothes when he felt like it, and only what he thought they should wear.  Like his mother before him, he did as he pleased, and refused to listen to ideas from anyone else.”

Forty six years ago Irene died in Mount Clemens, Michigan on February 7, 1977. She is buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in Marine City Michigan.

Rest in peace, Irene

Love, Jan

Irene was the Mother-in-law of my first cousin once removed. There is no photo of her tombstone at this time. Next time I am in the area I will look for it and place it in the blog when I find it. I have seen Irene’s middle name as Almira and Alvina in several sources. I am using Almira because the family member who wrote her Memoir stated it as her name, I assume that it is her correct name. I have also seen her maiden name Beutal and Beutel. Noted for people who may research her in the future.

Much of the information in the blog was provided by Barbara Fritz Roberts who shared family information on

The Quoted Memoir above was from: The Years Pass 1767 – March 1984
Compiled by: Fritz, Frances Louise Vondett, (1921-2009
Francis was Irene’s daughter-in-law. She married Irene’s son , Warren Fritz.

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