Irene Shibroski passed away on June 24th, 2023 at the age of 92. She was born to Joseph and Julia Shibroski, and had an older sister Marie. They lived as a family growing up in the Bronx, where her father worked as a detective. Irene always said she was a tomboy growing up. She was a smart and determined child that got annoyed with the things that girls, at that time, were not allowed to do. At one time, she was challenged by her father to get all A’s in school and she was offered a monetary reward if she did. Not only did she collect the money, but in the process, she skipped an entire grade.
She deeply loved animals and hoped to become a veterinarian after graduating from High School. However, once she was made aware that she would have been required to take a foreign language in college, which made no sense to her, her stubbornness took center stage and she abandoned that plan.
Not surprisingly, her favorite song was “Don’t Fence Me In,” so at 18, she joined the traveling carnival, which appealed to her adventurous nature. No longer a tomboy, Irene was singing and yodeling in her fishnet stockings on the big stage. She was 5’11’ at the time and in heels, she really stood out amongst the crowd. She even had her name on the marquee while performing at local venues.
After the carnival ended, Irene moved back to New York City. She was a bartender for many years and worked where the big ocean liners used to dock. She met people from all over the world and had so many stories to tell. She was friends with many famous actors, musicians, and artists during her years in Manhattan.
As an animal lover, she had some interesting pets over the years. She had an iguana, a kinkajou, an alligator, many birds and two special dogs, Sandy and Hud. In fact, the famous comedian Paul Lynde named her little Miniature Schnauzer; Hud. As a very resourceful person, she once built an aviary in her brownstone garden apartment on the Upper West Side across the street from Central Park, where she lived for many years.
Irene built her own bookcases where ever she lived and had books on every topic imaginable. She was also a very talented artist.
Just like her mother, sister, niece, and other family members, she was a nature lover and gardener. No matter where she lived, she always planted and tended to her gardens and taught so much to those she loved regarding nature and all of its beauty.
Midway through life, Irene answered a newspaper advertisement and moved upstate New York to be a live-in nanny to a family with five boys who lived on a farm. After the farm, she moved to a lake in Connecticut to nanny for a newborn girl and a little boy. Irene loved her farm and lake families immensely and considered those children to be like her own.
Irene retired and settled in Dover Plains, New York where she enjoyed her gardens and watching science fiction movies all hours of the night. She was a true night owl from all those years working as a bartender and she was the one anyone could call in the middle of the night if you wanted to chat.
Irene will be missed for her perpetual positive attitude, her thoughtful fun presents, her handmade Christmas cards with original artwork that she made into her nineties, and her childlike enthusiasm for the world around her. She always looked on the bright side and had a soft spot for those she loved.
Irene’s family will be holding a celebration of her interesting and colorful life in early fall.