Irene M. Chernick

Resided in Escanaba, michigan
Died July 22nd, 2020

Irene M. (Kleiman) Chernick, 95, passed away Wednesday, July 22, 2020, at OSF St. Francis Hospital. She was born March 4, 1925 in Wilson, MI, daughter of John and Elizabeth (Ruttner) Kleiman. Irene graduated from Harris High School and the Cloverland Business College in Escanaba, MI and resided in Escanaba her entire life.

On June 2, 1945, Irene married John Chernick at St. Francis of Xavier Church in Spalding, MI. They were inseparable and their love and affection for each other was always present throughout their lives. Both found joy raising their three children, being with family, and spending countless hours outdoors at their cottage on Lake Stella. John preceded her in death on April 9, 1998.

Family was always most important to Irene. She cherished the moments spent together, always with a beautiful smile and deep affection for others displayed through selfless acts of love and generosity. Irene took great pride in the home they built where she created a place for family and friends to gather. She particularly loved tending to the flowers along their beautiful white picket fence built by her husband. She loved to bake and spend time knitting and crocheting handmade gifts for others to enjoy, including knitting over 200 pairs of mittens each year for children of need in the community. She also loved playing cards and games, especially Mexican Train, with members of her family.

Irene worked as the branch manager for the State Bank in Escanaba and was a lifetime member of the DAV Auxiliary. She volunteered thousands of hours in OSF St. Francis Hospital at the registration desk and with Community Action where she assisted in the office. She also volunteered for Red Cross blood drives and as a lifelong member of St. Patrick’s, then St. Anne’s Church, counted money each week for the parish. During her many encounters, Irene always showed grace, elegance and a genuine respect for others.

Irene possessed a deep faith and her religion was very much a part of how she lived, and how she showed her love for those around her. She truly believed, “I shall pass through this world once. Any good I can do or any kindness that I can show to my loved ones or any human being, let me do it now and not put it off. For I shall not pass this way again.”

She is survived by her daughter Cheryl (Jack) Anderson of Portland, MI, daughters-in-law, Jan Chernick of Escanaba and Rita Chernick of Byron, Illinois. She has eight grandchildren, 20 great grandchildren, and two great-great grandchildren. She is also survived by her brother John (Ruth) Kleiman of Wilson, MI and many nieces and nephews. In addition to her parents and her husband, John, Irene was preceded in death by her two sons, Wayne and Allen Chernick, brother Joseph Kleiman and sister Elizabeth Hanson.

Sadly, many members of her family were unable to travel safely to her funeral due to the pandemic. They could not be all together to grieve and share memories of Irene so a private Mass of Christian Burial was held at St. Anne’s Church with a burial followed at the Gardens of Rest Cemetery. A celebration of Irene’s life will take place at a later date when it is safe for family and friends to gather and reflect on this beautiful person and her beautiful life.

A message of condolence may be directed to the family at

Memorials may be directed to the John and Irene Chernick Memorial Scholarship Fund in care of Escanaba High School, 500 South Lincoln Road, Escanaba, MI 49829.



6 Tributes to “Irene M. Chernick”

  1. Irene will be truly missed by many she touched. Prayers and sympathy to the family. Irene lived in PineRidge and so did my family (Borman). When going past her home, I always admire the white fence and flowers. Enjoyed working with Irene at OSF Auxiliary, she always had a great smile for everyone

  2. We are so saddened to hear of this wonderful, kind and loving lady’s passing. I worked side by side at State Bank branch for many years with Irene and also at our downtown main bank location!! She was such a caring/loving soul and would do almost anything for anyone that needed her, she will be so sadly missed by many!! We extend our deepest sympathy to her family and please always remember the love/kindness she extended to everyone, as God has his arms around her now with all his love to her. Peace be with all the Chernick family……….

  3. I know the family might not know me. I was Irene’s neighbor. My husband was Mike Roberts. I met Irene after Mike and I got married. She was the most loving, kindest and sweetest lady I ever met. I always said she was the perfect grandma. I used to bake different kinds of bread for her and bring her fresh vegetables in the summer. She was always so thankful. The world lost a great lady but heaven gained an angel. I loved to talk to her and hear about how her and her husband met, got married, I’ loved her. 💔😢 Sorry for your loss. Prayers for comfort 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼

  4. I know all of us will miss Irene so much. She was such a kind loving caring and faith filled women. I will always remember her beautiful smile. You are in my thoughts and prayers. Our Lord was a quite man who spoke volumes in the way he lived his life. Irene was that kind of witness to all of us and I know when she saw him in heaven he said “well done good and faithful servant”. God bless you. Janet

  5. I know Irene will be missed by so many. She was a joy to be around and always had a smile on her face. I had the opportunity to work with her at Community Action at the front desk. Sending lots of love and prayers to the Chernick family.

  6. Condolences from the Henslee family on your loss of Irene. Irene worked for my father, Forrest, at the then State Bank of Escanaba. I was also a high school classmate of her daughter, Cheryl.

    Irene was one of the people I came to know as a boy growing up in Escanaba, and who would cheerily greet me whenever I visited the bank. Yes, I know I was the boss’ son, but her cheer and kindness towards me always seemed genuine. She was also very cherished and valued by my dad, so much so that I can tell you he was deeply disappointed when she decided to leave the bank.

    My favorite vignette involving Irene occurred in my early professional life when I was visiting Escanaba during our usual Fourth of July visit. My parents, wife Julia and I went to dinner at the Dells Supper Club. I found myself walking through the bar at one point and recognized Irene sitting at the bar with her good friend Louise Roberge Abb. Louise was a long time employee of the bank and also greeted me enthusiastically whenever I visited.

    I quietly approached them from behind and put my arms around them, surprising both with hugs. They were happy to see me and we quickly caught up, laughing and carrying on. The joy from a chance meeting like that is something that is special to growing up in a small town like Escanaba, where you can easily happen upon friends and acquaintances, even after being away for a while.

    To Cheryl and family, the problem with death is that the survivors feel left behind, but think of it this way. Irene didn’t leave you. She just went on ahead of you. Our faith tells us that you’ll see her again one day. In the meantime, it’s my prayer that your tears of sorrow will soon turn to tears of joy as you remember all the good there was in Irene, and Lord knows, there was a lot.

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