3 April, 1930 – 23 June, 2020
It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved mom Irena at age 90. Irena was born in Chorow, Poland, daughter of the late Jozef and Antonina Szkoda. She and her 4 siblings led a quiet and happy life until war broke out. She was only 9 when the Red Army forcibly evicted her family and neighbours. They were transported in packed cattle cars to a labour camp in a remote region of Siberia. By the grace of God, Irena and her family survived 2 years of forced labour, sickness and starvation. When the Soviets joined the Allies, families were freed, allowing able bodied men to form an army and fight to liberate Europe. Mom and her family were transported through the Sudan into Africa, where they lived in a refugee camp in Tanganyika, under Mount Kilimanjaro. When the war ended, families were repatriated to England and there she met Dad. They married but jobs and food shortages forced them to look elsewhere to settle. Canada granted them immigration, so they sailed to Montreal aboard the ship Columbia. Mom and Dad settled in Winnipeg where their first child, a daughter, Maria was born. As jobs were scarce, her young family travelled by train to Hamilton looking for work at Stelco which was hiring. With high hopes for the future, a promising job, and the kindness of a stranger, Mom and Dad were able to settle down and raise their young family. Our beloved Mamusia was devoted to her family. We were the focus of her life. Coming home from school, we would be greeted with bowls of soup at lunch and a variety of Polish dishes at supper. Mom loved to cook, bake and make preserves. We feasted on the fruits of her labour. She also loved her garden, especially her roses. Mom was a kind and gentle lady but also steadfast in her convictions and her faith in God, a faith that sustained her through many hardships. She always pointed the way, but never stopped us when we chose our own paths. She was also a prankster, and we all got nailed on April Fools. For mom though, any occasion, such as birthdays, was a good one for a prank. She decorated a plastic tub and presented it as a birthday cake. We had fun trying to cut that one! Mom will be greatly missed by all. She leaves behind 2 sisters Helena Baranek and Danuta Rozwadowski; a daughter Maria and husband John Morel; sons Henryk and wife Susanne, Jan, and Stanislaw with wife Lyne; 7 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren. She is predeceased by husband Tadeusz and brothers Jan and Jozef Szkoda. Due to Covid restrictions, a private family rosary and funeral mass has been arranged. In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to a charity of your choice, in memory of Irena.
No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
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2 July 2020
Dear Maria, Henry, Johnny & Stan
I am truly sorry to hear of the loss of your mother. Please accept our condolences and may our prayers help comfort you
29 June 2020
She was a wonderful woman. Caring and loving. She opened her home to me and then to my Wife, Karolee and Son, Zachary. She was always a “Mom” to me from the very first moment we met.
I will remember many things. At the top of the list the food, the amazing food. From Kielbasa and Eggs to start the day to Chicken Suppers.
The World is a less special place without her in it. However, we were all blessed to know her while she was with us. She will be greatly missed.
28 June 2020
Dear Maria, Henry, Johnny & Stan, I'm so sorry for your loss. Sending most heartfelt condolences & prayers. May you feel your Mom's beautiful & loving spirit in your heart forever.
26 June 2020
I'm heartbroken that I couldn't visit her since the outbreak of Covid-19 posed so many restrictions on travel. Now I can't even be there for the my cousins and their families. Be that as it may, Covid does not wipe out love.
She's my godmother and Aunt. She's always been 'Ciocia Irka' to me. (It's her Polish nickname). I have a picture of her holding me when I was around 3 in a refugee camp in England. It's the same loving smile and rock-solid tranquility she always had. I would never have guessed that a few years before that picture was taken she and her family were starving to death in Siberia. We really don't understand war and what it feels like to lose everything. But Siberia does not wipe out love either. Nor do our enemies.
When I think of Ciocia I am flooded with memories of love, affection, kindness and generosity. Love is a decision of who we are. Then it becomes something we can also do. I will always remember her as a person who chose love, and then did it. Hard as steel; soft as the evening sun, she was persistent to the end in her love, especially of her family.
I know that there's a heaven and that she lives there now. She can't be elsewhere. It's where the greatest love dwells and has drawn a like soul back to itself. It's saying; that's what I would have done if I were you; now come and rest. Live in joy as you were always meant to.
I love you Ciocia!
My sorrow joins the feelings of loss within the family. Let's offer it up in the hope of something much better that her love was always pointed to, and in gratitude to have been blessed with such a life like hers!
On behalf of my family, we offer our prayers for consolation and peace.
26 June 2020
I'm so sorry for your loss.
A poem by an Unknown Author:
You had a wonderful mother,
One who never really grew old;
Her smile was made of sunshine,
And her heart was solid gold;
Her eyes were as bright as shining stars,
And in her cheeks fair roses you see.
You had a wonderful mother,
And that is the way it will always be.
But take heed, because
She is still keeping an eye on all of us,
So let us make sure
She will like what she sees.
26 June 2020
Dear Maria, Henry, Jan and Stan and family,
I am truly saddened to hear of your loss. Your mom was a warm and wonderful person who I remember had a very mischievous glint in her eye. She had a very welcoming smile and a huge hug which made me feel right at home when I came to visit. She will truly be missed by all who knew her.
May she rest in peace and may you find strength in knowing that she is safe in God's house.