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 crawfordfuneralhomes.net.
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.