It is with heavy hearts that the family of Irene Grusys (nee Thomas) announce her passing on Wednesday, May 5, 2021, at the Lady Dunn Health Centre, Wawa, Ontario. She leaves behind her husband, Felix, of more than 42 years of marriage along with her sons, Derek (Masae) and Darren. Proud grandmother of her beautiful grandson, Winston, and her special granddaughter, Elise. She was born in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, on March 24, 1945, to the late Joseph and Mildred (nee Snyder) Thomas, pioneering residents of Wawa. She is survived by her older brother, Joseph Mark Thomas of California and predeceased by her sister, Bertha “Bertie” Markovich (late Robert). Dear sister-in-law of the late Victor (Joanne Fay, late Jill), Mary Cropper (Simon) and John (Christine) and loving aunt of Steven, Michael, Jennifer Woods, Megan Walker, Eric, Peter, Kathryn Fay and Danielle Fay. She leaves behind many great-nieces and great-nephews, as well as, countless long-time friends and their families.
Irene spent time in the Bahamas as a young adult and loved every minute of it. She worked in Toronto as an executive secretary to John Eaton, President of Eaton’s, after returning to Canada. Afterwards, she moved to Wawa to help her ageing parents and found work at Algoma Ore Division in the mine office. Felix and Irene met, married and welcomed their two sons. When the boys were in their teens Irene went back to work at the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) as the secretary to the District Manager until her retirement.
Irene enjoyed life to the fullest. She was involved in curling for many years and thoroughly loved judging the infamous Ladies Curling Bonspeil’s costume parade. Once the snow was gone, she was an eager golfer at Ladies Night at the Michipicoten Golf Club. Her year-round interest in sewing was one of her greatest loves. She met up with her sewing gals and stitched away for entire weekends. Over the years she made many gifts that her friends and their children will cherish forever. She was always pleased to sit down with a good book. Irene would get together with her fun-loving group of Red Hatters on many occasions, would enjoy weekly lunches with the Saturday Lunch Bunch and would attend the yearly Christmas luncheon with the MNR ladies that culminated in making a special Christmas craft.
Irene never turned down an opportunity to go “gallivanting”. Throughout her life she travelled to various curling events, rode the VIA Rail train with her brother, experienced a cross-Canada car trip with her sons when they were young, flew to Japan to visit Derek when he lived there, enjoyed trips to the USA and Mexico, drove from the Maritimes, went south for concerts and plays, attended family weddings near and far, cruised the seas with friends, camped on the shores of Northern Ontario’s lakes and her two most recent adventures to Grande Prairie, Alberta, where she enjoyed her “damn cute” grandson, Winston. She has earned her wings and can travel anywhere now.
Irene was an avid volunteer holding positions on the Lady Dunn Foundation Committee, Wawa Area Victim Services, the Michipicoten High School (MHS) Bursary Committee, the Literacy Coalition and the organizing committees of the many MHS Reunions.
She was an exceptional hostess who held fabulous get-togethers at home and at camp. She made her famous lasagna and blueberry pies that pleased many palates. Everyone always felt welcome.
Despite her failing health, Irene maintained a brave face to the end. She touched a lot of people in many ways and will be fondly remembered. Rest in Peace, my dear; until we meet again.
A heartfelt thank you to the caring staff at the Lady Dunn Health Centre, Dr. Dannica Switzer and Irene’s home care staff.
There will be no funeral as per Irene’s wishes. In her honour donations can be made to the Lady Dunn Health Centre.
Arrangements entrusted to the Kerry Funeral Home, Wawa.