Minnesota Historical Society M-Flame Logo

Irene Annet Engdahl Youngdahl

Luther Youngdahl and his wife Irene dressed for inauguration festivities, 1947First Lady
January 8, 1947 - September 27, 1951

Born: October 16, 1896
in Ortonville, Minnesota

Died: November 25, 1992
in Washington, D.C.

Married June 23, 1923 to Luther Youngdahl

 

Biography
Irene Annet Engdahl was born in 1896 in Ortonville, Minnesota, one of six children born to Reverend Anders and Mary (Eklund) Engdahl, both Swedish immigrants. Irene studied at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota, graduating in 1919 with double majors in English and Economics. It was at Gustavus that she met her future husband, Luther Youngdahl.

While Luther finished his law courses and started his career, Irene taught in Little Falls and Willmar High Schools. The couple married in 1923, and had three children, Margaret, Luther William (Bill) and David.

During her husband's three terms as governor Irene was a member of the Dome Club, a social group formed in 1905 for the wives of the legislators. Irene also attended various functions with her husband, including a trip to Scandinavia in 1948. Like many of Minnesota's first ladies before her, she preferred a quiet supporting role, focusing her attention on raising her family.

Health issues kept Luther Youngdahl from running for a fourth term in 1952. He continued in public service as a Federal District Court Judge in Washington D.C., where the Youngdahls spent the rest of their lives. Luther passed away in 1978, and Irene in 1992. Both are buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

Photographs of Irene Youngdahl