Grandma Irene's 80th Birthday Party
February 23, 2002

Irene McGonigal, 1922-2002
The text on the main page will be moved here in the near future.

One the morning of Sunday, March 24th 2002 my last remaining grandparent, Grandma Irene, passed away at the age of 80.  She was hospitalized about a week prior for what was thought to be a minor stroke, though that proved to be incorrect.  She was set for release on Wednesday, but unfortunately took a turn for the worse, became unresponsive and never recovered.  Grandma did go quietly and without pain.  The wake and funeral were held at St. Bernards Church in Omaha, NE.  The passing was not entirely a surprise as grandma had been sick for quite a while...she actually had several close calls over the past 4-5 years.  As my dad put it, "she's a tough old broad" and seemingly never gave up in her fight to live.  This last series of events, which was only a few weeks after her wonderful party, was just too much for her aging body to handle. 

My family and are are deeply saddened by the loss of Irene.  What follows are some pictures from her 80th birthday party, which was a very special day for her and all of our relatives.  The party was at a country club in Omaha, and the turnout was over 70 people...the majority from the Nebraska/Iowa area, but others came as far as Missouri, Florida, and of course Chicago.  The day before she was telling me how nervous she was, but once the party started it turned to all smiles.  She was very active and in great spirits throughout what seemed like the perfect day.  I wouldn't have thought it would have been the last day I would spend with her, but at least it was a very special one.

The day before the party...a small gathering of relatives.  From left: Gene, Bryan, Grandma Irene, Mary, Dennis, Doris, Sheila.  Doris is grandma's sister, Gene is her husband and Sheila is their daughter.


In the nursing home with a gift - Dennis, Grandma, Mary.


Another nursing home shot - Missy, Grandma, Bryan.


Denny leading the Happy Birthday song..."A" for effort, "D" for voice.


Some of the crowd gathered for the party.


Another crows shot.  Mary is center, with Judy & Rich Fitzgerald (my parent's best friends) to the right.


Grandma cutting into her cake.


A toast to the birthday girl!


Mother & son...