Irene Blake (nee Tomaszewska)
It is with great love and sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved mother, Irene Blake (née Tomaszewska), on Friday Aug. 20, 2021. She was 89.
Irene Blake (Tomaszewska) was the wife of the late John Blake, cherished mother and best mother-in-law ever of Janet and Doug McLean, Don Blake and Julie McCall, Mary Blake (Mike), Fran and Ross McCall, Yvonne and Glenn McLean, Linda Blake-Evans and Steve Evans, Greg and Marie Blake and Steve and Kathy Blake.
She was the special grandma and babcia of 15, great-grandmother of 15 and great-great-grandmother of four.
Irene was predeceased by her husband John, infant son Stephen and son Michael.
She loved family parties and laughed when people asked how she remembered all her children’s names. We often joked with her about who was her favourite child.
Irene was the last surviving sibling in her family, predeceased by brothers John, Kazimierz, and sisters Mary, Sophie and Hedy.
Our mother came from difficult beginnings in wartime Poland. Despite these troubles, she was a gentle and kind soul with great strength and resilience.
She has shared her story many times about her family being taken at gunpoint from their home in Poland. The family endured a long journey, including a Siberian work camp where her mother died, through Iran to Tanzania where she spent her school years in refugee camps.
Her father and brothers joined the Polish army and the family regrouped in England after the war. Her father purchased a farm near Tiverton and brought the family to Canada. Shortly after arriving in Tiverton, she took a job at the Brussels Hotel, attended church and dances where she caught our father’s eye. Irene was a faithful member and past president of the Catholic Women’s League at St. Ambrose Roman Catholic Church.
Her love of food and plenty of it was evident at every mealtime, special holidays and when hosting “the hunters” at the farm every fall. She loved helping people and worked at Callander nursing home, while also serving as a personal support worker in the community. People loved when Mom was their caregiver as she cooked tasty food that helped them feel better. She helped welcome and resettle a Polish immigrant family to the Brussels area which was sponsored by the church. They recently visited her again after many years.
She spent her recent years at Highland Apartments in Brussels where she loved chatting, having coffee hour, playing cards and sharing meals. She felt so welcomed by people there and wished she had moved in sooner.
In lieu of flowers and as expressions of sympathy, donations in Irene’s memory may be made to Plan International Canada where she sponsored children in Africa, OneCare Community and Home Support or St. Ambrose Catholic Church. Mom would be most pleased if you shared a nice meal and toast in her memory.
A private family funeral mass took place on Monday, Aug. 23. Father Matthew George officiated. Interment is at St. Ambrose Catholic Cemetery.
Cards of sympathy may be sent to Box 140, Brussels. Condolences may be left at www.riversidefuneralhome.ca.
She will be deeply missed by all who knew and loved her. You are our guardian angel looking over us from heaven and keeping us in line. Until we see you again, dearest Mom and Grandma.