Howard Lake-Waverly Herald, Sept. 10, 2001

Loss of her oldest son, partner isn't holding Woitalla back

By Lynda Jensen

Life has been different for Irene Woitalla of Waverly in the past five years.

Most people in Waverly know Woitalla for insurance, since she is an 16-year veteran of the business, since she offers life and health insurance out of her Waverly office.

Others know her as the mother of Joe Woitalla, who worked as a partner with Irene for more than 10 years.

Joe died suddenly at the age of 35 about five years ago in May. The heart attack that killed him was caused by an enzyme missing in his body, Irene said.

Every year, school children remember Joe Woitalla by celebrating "Joe Woitalla Day" at Humphrey Elementary.

Joe was a member of the Waverly Fire Department and a 1978 graduate of the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted school district.

When Joe died, it turned Irene's life upside down, she said.

Life after Joe

Irene's insurance business is doing very well now, as she works out of her Waverly home, but it took awhile to recover from the loss of her oldest son, and partner, she said.

"I thought I could keep it going," she said.

Although she has been successful in keeping the long-term portion thriving, she was not licensed in certain areas, she said.

Joe and Irene offered full service insurance together, with Joe handling the property casualty and business end, and Irene doing life and health insurance, since they were both licensed in those respective capacities. This company was known as the Shore Agency.

Irene sold the Shore Agency name and property casualty clients to David Cade.

Irene is an independent agent, offering insurance for life and health, long-term care, mortgage protection, term, whole life plans, annuities, and health.

Something unique about Irene's insurance is that she offers belongs to Life Underwriters, which means she actually works to retain benefits for her customers within the policies they own, she said.

She has several file cabinets full of loyal clients. She emphasized the importance of her customers, she said.

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