Irene Anna Krol, 87, of Sierra Madre, California, passed away suddenly at her home on Tuesday, December 14, 2021. She will be forever remembered as a loving sister, wife, mother, grandmother, and friend to many and will be deeply missed by all. Irene was born in South Bend, Indiana, to the late Walter Gladyz and Helen Gladyz-Krupa. Irene finished high school in South Bend, Indiana after returning to the United States in 1947 from Poland, where Irene and her family hid from the Nazis during the duration of World War II. While living in South Bend, Indiana, Irene worked for the local radio station WSBT as a radio staffer. She loved her time at the radio station and spoke about it fondly to her family every chance she could. After moving to Los Angeles, California, Irene worked at Pasadena City College as the department lead for the Tutoring Center. She aided many students during their time at PCC, ensuring their academic success. Once Irene retired from her position at PCC, she pursued the next chapter in her life as grandmother and entrepreneur of Krol's Krafts, a traveling boutique of wooden boxes from Poland.
Irene was known for her generous heart and spirit, donating thousands of items to those less fortunate in both the United States as well as those in Poland. Irene travelled extensively throughout Europe with her children and nephews, exploring the ruins of Greece to the beauty of the Habsburg Castle to the holy site of the Virgin Mary's last earthly sighting. When Irene was not travelling the globe or spending quality time with family, she could be found at the flea market every first Sunday of the month selling her Polish wooden boxes. Irene also loved spending time in her garden growing beautiful flowers, avocados, or oranges to make the sweetest orange juice for her grandchildren who spent the weekend at her house. Not only was Irene a generous and loving individual, but she was also a spit-fire. Her favorite place to go on vacation was Las Vegas. She loved the never-ending lights and would always ask for a view of the Strip so she could look at the lights as she was going to sleep. But more than anything Irene was a family driven individual. Nothing meant more to her than family and family dinners with droves of food. Her cooking of homemade apple cake, meatloaf and vegetable soup will forever be a staple within the family. She will forever be the little old lady from Pasadena smelling of Estee by Estee Lauder, with her lifetime supply of Sprite, her order of weak coffee with a side of milk, her love of politics, and the prayer cards tucked away in every nook and cranny of her house.
She was preceded in death by her brother Joseph Gladysz. Irene is survived by her children Andrew Krol of Huntington Beach, California, Richard Krol of Westlake Village, California, and Lori Grotz of Freeport, Maine. She was a devoted grandmother of Jennifer Krol and Katherine Krol of Westlake Village, California, and Emily and Jordan Grotz of Freeport, Maine. Irene also left behind cousins Richard and Casey Habrat, and nephews Victor and Robert Gladyz as well as Christopher Wildes. She also leaves behind a host of other family members and dear friends who will miss her dearly.
Family and friends are invited to attend the rosary service on Monday, January 3, 2022, at 9:30am, at St. Rita's Catholic Church in Sierra Madre, California, followed by the funeral service at 10am presided over by Father Tom Baker. A graveside service and internment will follow at Calvary Catholic Cemetery, Los Angeles, California, at 12:30pm. A celebration of Irene's life luncheon will follow the interment proceedings.
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