POLAND — Irene V. Tkatch, 91, went home to be with the Lord, Wednesday, June 14, 2023, at Briarfield Place.
Irene was born July 29, 1931, the daughter of Michael and Gertrude Miller Vobrak, in Ambridge, Pa. She graduated from St. Veronica High School in Ambridge and went on to receive her Bachelor of Science degree in 1952 from Clarion University.
lrene began teaching elementary school in Ambridge. After moving to Poland in 1956, she taught both the fourth and fifth grade at Washington Elementary School in Youngstown. Irene also employed her teaching skills at Holy Family School in Poland from 1966 until her retirement in 1988. Irene felt it an honor and a privilege to be able to foster Christian values within her students. Many of those students considered her to be one of their finest educators. In 1966, Irene was awarded the Teachers Medal from the Freedom Foundation at Valley Forge, Pa., for her due diligence and enthusiasm helping to teach the nation’s new generation.
Her favorite hobbies included reading and gardening. She was also the proud recipient of many awards for her beautification efforts and for her many years of organizing the Arbor Day ceremonies at Holy Family.
She and her students, along with the late Mrs. Dan B. Jones, petitioned the Poland School Board to not sell or tear down the Little Red School House on State Route 224 and to preserve that part of Poland’s history. As a result, her fifth grade class had the distinction of holding the first class in the restored schoolhouse.
After retirement, Irene took on her second career, taking care of her aging parents for the last seven years of their lives in Poland. Irene was responsible for having her parents’ names engraved on the Wall of Honor at Ellis Island, commemorating their immigration to America in 1921.
She leaves to cherish her life, her devoted son, Kenneth M. (Sharon) Tkatch of Boardman; a grandson, Dr. Kristopher M. (Michelle) Tkatch of Syracuse, N.Y.; a sister, Rosemary (Robert) Shrum of Ambridge; and her daughter-in-law, Wendi Tkatch of Poland.
Besides her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, Alfred M. Tkatch, whom she married July 25, 1953. Alfred passed Aug. 19, 2020, after 67 wonderful years together.
lrene was a compassionate and caring person until the bitter end. In her final years, she was more concerned about her fellow residents and caregivers than about herself.
“The family extends a heartfelt appreciation for the entire staff at Briarfield Place for doing everything possible to make Irene’s stay there comfortable. We also want to thank the residents that made her time there enjoyable and pleasant.”
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Friday, June 23, 2023, at Holy Family Church, with Msgr. Connell officiating. Calling hours will be held 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. Friday, prior to the service, at Higgins-Reardon Funeral Homes, Poland Chapel.
Private interment services will take place at Poland Riverside Cemetery.