Cover photo for Irene G. Was's Obituary
Irene G. Was Profile Photo
1920 Irene 2024

Irene G. Was

December 2, 1920 — May 12, 2024

Warren

Irene G. Was, 103, teacher, world traveler, gifted actress, singer, church organist, artist, gardener, great, great grandmother and unique spirit joined the kingdom of heaven on Sunday, May 12, 2024. She was born in Youngstown, Ohio on December 2, 1920, to immigrant parents from Poland, Benjamin and Louise (Press) Garstka. She grew up speaking Polish and English. She and her husband Thaddeus Was reared four daughters, Phyllis, Janice, Marianne, and Christine.

 

Blessed with an exquisite soprano singing voice, Irene began performing in her mid-teens with several Northeast Ohio big bands.

 

Once married, Irene served as a church organist and choir director for St. Joseph’s Church and St. Pius X Church in Warren. In the 1950s and 1960s, Irene graced the stage of Trumbull New Theater in Warren, often in the leading female role.

 

In the late 1950s, Irene began teaching elementary school at St. Pius X School. She earned a B.S. Degree in Elementary Education from Kent State University in 1968. With degree in hand, she began teaching in the Warren City Schools, where she taught second, third and fifth grades at Secrest, McGuffey and Emerson elementary schools. She retired from teaching in 1986.

 

In 1975, Irene took her first painting class at the Trumbull Art Guild, which began a journey in artistic self-expression that continued for the rest of her life. Irene’s artwork has been exhibited in more than 15 galleries in Northeast Ohio and Western Pennsylvania. She also received numerous awards including First, Second and Third Place Awards and Best of Show in several Northeast Ohio art shows.

 

At the age of 80, Irene also received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting  from Kent State University in 2001. Then KSU President Carol Cartwright credited Irene as the oldest person ever to receive a degree from the School of Art.

 

In 2007, at the age of 86, Irene was selected as one of 36 area artists to adorn a Goddess of Speed sculpture for the Trumbull County Fine Arts Council. In 2011, a curated selection of Irene’s artworks in several mediums were featured in a retrospective solo exhibition at The Butler Institute of American Art’s Trumbull County Branch. Her last solo exhibition was hosted at Trumbull Art Gallery in 2022.

 

In October, 2014, Irene was selected as a nominee for the Trumbull County Valley Legacy Awards for Seniors.

 

Irene served as president of the Trumbull County Iris Society, Beta Sigma Phi service sorority (Xi Gamma Gamma) and the Altar & Rosary Society of St. Joseph’s Church; she was an active member of the American Association of University Women, Warren, Ohio chapter, North Eastern Ohio Education Association, Ohio Education Association, National Education Association, Trumbull Retired Teachers Association (Warren City Schools), a life member of the Ohio Retired Teachers Association and member of the Polish Arts Club in Youngstown, Kent State University Alumni Association and the Great Books Reading Group at the Warren Public Library. She was a member of the Blessed Sacrament Catholic Community.

 

She travelled abroad to her ancestral country of Poland six times, and to England, Switzerland, Germany, France, Spain, Portugal and Italy.

 

Irene was a loyal fan of the Cleveland Guardians (formerly the Cleveland Indians). She called them her “summer companions.”

 

As a centenarian, Irene continued to inspire people of all ages with her wit and wisdom. A few of her insights include:

 

“When you care, you’re there.”

 

“If you have a dream, keep dreaming.”

 

“I don’t give up. I always look for a new day, a new dawning, a new beginning.”

 

Irene was preceded in death by her husband, Thaddeus Was, daughters Phyllis Hare (Gordon) of Howland, Janice Douglass of Warren, and Marianne Lohrman (Gene) of Chardon, grandchildren James Lohrman and Alice O’Connor. She is survived by her daughter Christine Zust (Mark), Westlake, OH; son-in-law Gene Lohrman, Castle Rock, CO, grandchildren Jane Hare (Dale Shimek) of San Diego, CA, Margaret Stefanik (Joe) of Lebanon, IN, Dan Weston (Jackie) of Warren, Thad Weston of Warren, Tammy Shoman of Warren, and Kirsten Antony (Tracy) of Highlands Ranch, CO, great-grandchildren Meredith Boyce (Zach), Joe Stefanik, Hannah Evans (Noah), Bridget O’Connor, Mitchell O’Connor, Ryan O’Connor, Cole Weston, Alyssa Weston, Rayna Weston, Rachel Shoman, Alexa Antony and Joe Antony and great-great grandson Jesse Boyce.

 

On Sunday, May 19, 2024, a prayer service will begin at 1:30 p.m. followed by calling hours from 2:00-4:00 p.m. and 6:00-8:00 p.m. at Lane Family Funeral Homes Roberts-Clark Chapel, 180 Garfield Drive, Warren. On Monday, May 20, 2024, visitation resumes at the funeral home at 9:00 a.m. followed by a prayer service at 10:15 a.m. and the funeral mass will begin at 11:00 a.m. at Blessed Sacrament Church, 3020 Reeves Road, Warren. Burial will follow at All Souls Cemetery in Bazetta Township. The family requests contributions to the American Cancer Society and American Heart Association.

Family and friends may send their heartfelt condolences by visiting www.lanefuneralhomes.com

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Irene G. Was, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Prayer Service

Sunday, May 19, 2024

1:30 - 2:00 pm (Eastern time)

Lane Funeral Homes-Warren Chapel

180 Garfield Dr. NE, Warren, OH 44483

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Visitation

Sunday, May 19, 2024

2:00 - 4:00 pm (Eastern time)

Lane Funeral Homes-Warren Chapel

180 Garfield Dr. NE, Warren, OH 44483

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Visitation

Sunday, May 19, 2024

6:00 - 8:00 pm (Eastern time)

Lane Funeral Homes-Warren Chapel

180 Garfield Dr. NE, Warren, OH 44483

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Visitation

Monday, May 20, 2024

9:00 - 10:00 am (Eastern time)

Lane Funeral Homes-Warren Chapel

180 Garfield Dr. NE, Warren, OH 44483

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Prayer Service

Monday, May 20, 2024

10:15 - 10:30 am (Eastern time)

Lane Funeral Homes-Warren Chapel

180 Garfield Dr. NE, Warren, OH 44483

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Funeral Mass

Monday, May 20, 2024

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Eastern time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Burial

Monday, May 20, 2024

12:30 - 1:30 pm (Eastern time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Guestbook

Visits: 255

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the
Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Service map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

Send Flowers

Send Flowers

Plant A Tree

Plant A Tree