Irene was born on January 18, 1929 to parents Michael and Anna Kinchinko at St. Joseph's hospital in Tacoma, WA. She grew up with her family and beloved sister Ann on McKinley Hill in Tacoma. She attended Lincoln High School and graduated in 1946, she had a very close knit group of friends from school she remained close to throughout her life.
On August 5th, 1950, at the age of 21, she married James “Jim” Jonczyk, or Jimmy as she called him in those days. In September of 1953, they welcomed their first son Jeffrey and then 3 years later in February of 1956, they welcomed their second son Joel. Irene was also very involved in the lives of her nieces Paula, Barb (Chris) and Gail, and her nephews Jimmy (Anita) and Michael.
Jim and Irene moved to a lakefront home they built in Lakewood in 1960. That house was where they raised their children, welcomed grandchildren and great grandchildren, and is where Irene peacefully passed on the morning of April 24th.
When Irene was in her late 30’s, she made the decision to go back to school where she attended Clover Park Vocational-Technical Institute, or Clover Park Technical College. She earned a degree in Computer Programming. After graduation, she worked for various banks, and even programmed one of the first ATM machines, and received a patent for her design.
In 1985, Irene became a grandmother to her grandson Bradley, and later in 1988 to her granddaughter Kelley. She became like a second mother to them, and was very present in their lives making sure she was at every single event or life milestone.
After retirement, Irene and Jim purchased a beach-front condo on Pacific Beach in San Diego, CA. They spent half the year there escaping the cold rainy winter weather back home. During the summer, they would enjoy time at their lakefront home. Irene loved to entertain, she would always find a reason to have people over including her infamous “Corona Open” where they would sit on the dock, fish, drinking Coronas, and “watching the bobbers.”
In 2011, Irene became a great grandmother, or as she liked to be called “GG”, to a baby girl Isabel and later to two more little girls Laila and Aria. Those girls loved their “GG” and she loved having them around.
Irene was a practicing Catholic, she attended St. Joseph’s Church in Tacoma for most of her life and later attended St. John Bosco church in Lakewood. She was a member of the Catholic Ladies Slovak Union, and volunteered at the American Red Cross. Irene also donated to many charities including the American Veterans Association.
Irene was a tough woman who was not afraid to tell you how it was but was always able to make you laugh. Her family was her life and she loved them very much. She was a selfless person who always put others' needs in front of her own. She will be greatly missed and her family won’t be the same without her.
Irene is survived by her two sons Jeffrey and Joel, her niece Paula, her 2 grandchildren Bradley and Kelley (Bridger) and 3 great grandchildren Isabel, Laila, and Aria.
She will be laid to rest in a private ceremony next to her late husband of 62 years at Calvary Cemetery on Friday May 1st.
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