Irene H. Sikorski of Water Mill passed away on April 27th at Westhampton Care Center in Westhampton, NY. She was 78.
Irene was the daughter of Chester and Alice Sikorski nee Wolinski. Her father Chester was a potato farmer, and Irene spent her youth playing with her three siblings, Loretta, Russell, and Diana on the family farm in Water Mill. She graduated Southampton High School in 1960, and her yearbook photos and notes from classmates reflect that she was a happy and well-liked young lady.
After high school, Irene started working for the telephone company New York New England Exchange (NYNEX), a job she held from 1962 to 1991. Her coworkers called her Munchkin, a nickname that referred to her petite size and height. Goodbye letters from co-workers shared warm sentiments about how much fun they had working and striking with her during the decades she spent there. Family members remember Irene in her authentic telephone hard hat and stories of the time they put her up in the cherry picker basket of one of the trucks.
When Irene wasn’t working, she was volunteering in her local community. She volunteered for years at Birthright thrift shop in Southampton, taught religious education classes and worked on the Bingo committee at Our Lady of Poland School. She enjoyed all those volunteer positions largely because of the great people and children she interacted with each day.
Irene was a woman of strong Catholic faith and a lifelong parishioner at Our Lady of Poland Church. At OLP, she was a member of the Ladies Guild along with her sister Diana. She was often seen with hands folded in prayer in her later years, and her vast collection of prayer cards, books, and rosaries reflected a life devoted to God.
When in good health, Irene enjoyed traveling with family members to places like Walt Disney World, Las Vegas, Hawaii, and California. Vacation photos of Irene show her love of posing, taking in the sights, and having fun. Family members recall how her traveling companions appreciated her planning and organizational skills.
Irene loved Bingo games at Our Lady of Poland School and at the Westhampton Care Center. She also spent time doing word searches, tackling jumble puzzles, and practicing play lines with her beloved caregiver/’niece’ Catherine.
In addition to enjoying games and puzzles, Irene loved animals. She had a lovely collie named Wendy as a girl, and several cats as an adult. She really enjoyed visits from “Mr. Sweet Stuff,” Catherine’s dog, Pierre. Her last cat Leo gave her much joy and many laughs when he did crazy things like hang out in the sink.
Family members and friends recall her generous spirit and funny expressions and nicknames. Nina, Reney, Grumpy Cat, and Go Go Girl are just a few of the names she went by. Irene loved saying things like “It’s Bananas” and “Everyone’s Going Crazy” and dancing to her favorite songs in her own spunky little way. She was a terrible driver, especially in her own driveway, and an even worse microwave cook. She was also known to “play ’possum” in recent years, smiling and talking to nurses and family when she wanted to, but closing her eyes and feigning sleep when she didn’t. The countless photos of Irene show that she loved to pose and act playful when she was in the right mood. She was often seen wearing fun hats and baseball caps. “Let’s Go, Mets!” she liked to say, and she loved watching the games on tv. She was happy to spend time with family members, but often only for a little while, always letting you know when your time was up. It was precisely those idiosyncrasies that endeared her to those who knew her. Most of all, when you were with her, it was guaranteed that you would be wearing a smile for one reason or another.
Irene was predeceased by her parents Chester and Alice Sikorski nee Wolinski, brother Russell, and recently her younger sister and roommate for years, Diana Pillsworth. She is survived by her sister Loretta Gaston and her husband Jerry P. Gaston; nephews Jerry Gaston Jr. and Andrew Pillsworth; niece Maria Cawley nee Gaston and husband Denis; niece Valerie Hanley nee Pillsworth and her husband James R. Hanley and their children Harrison and Evelyn; and her beloved and devoted caregiver/’niece’ Catherine Maloney of Hampton Bays who doted on and spoiled her for over thirteen years.
In her loving memory, family and friends are encouraged to donate to any of the following organizations that Irene held so dear: Birthright, Our Lady of Poland Church, or Our Lady of the Hamptons School.
Visitation will be held for 78 year old Southampton resident Irene Helen Sikorski on Thursday, April 29, 2021 from 2-4 & 7-9 PM at the O'Connell-Rothwell Funeral Home located at 30 Little Plains Road in Southampton. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at Our Lady of Poland RC Church in Southampton on Friday, April 30 at 10:00 AM. Interment will follow at Sacred Hearts RC Cemetery in Southampton, NY.
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