Irene R. (Czuj) Kostanski, 91, of 220 Federal Street passed away peacefully on Friday October 25, 2019 at home.
She was born in Montague on June 30, 1928, the daughter of Matthew and Sophia (Koscinski) Czuj. She attended local schools in Montague and was a graduate of Turners Falls High School Class of 1946.
On July 17, 1948, Irene married Henry A. Kostanski at Our Lady of Czestochowa Church in Turners Falls. They shared sixty five years together before Henry predeceased her on March 7, 2014.
In her earlier years, Irene was employed at the Greenfield Tap & Die. In 1951, she moved to Greenfield and in 1953, together with Henry, opened the Kostanski Funeral Home, where she managed the day to day operations and was instrumental in the growth and success of the now third generation family business. She was the "strong woman behind the successful man". Irene enjoyed watching the business blossom for over 65 years, whether it be working in the office, chipping away at the snow pile, or watching from the porch or the window.
Irene was devoted to her Catholic faith. She would often say "sometimes all you can do is pray" and of course, she was always praying for you. She was a communicant of the former Sacred Heart Church in Greenfield and a member of the former Sacred Heart Guild. Irene was a current communicant of Our Lady of Czestochowa Church in Turners Falls and a member of the Holy Rosary Society.
When her children were younger, Irene was a den mother for the cub scouts, taught cooking at the Girls Club and was a member of the Lionettes. She was co-chairman of her class reunions for many years and a warden at the polls for twenty years. Irene was an avid Patriots fan, never missing a game. She had a fantastic sense of humor and loved to laugh.
Irene was extremely proud of her Polish heritage and culture, which were the cornerstones of her life. She enjoyed observing all Polish holiday traditions with her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. She enjoyed making Polish food, including golompki and pierogis from scratch, a yearly family tradition. She also enjoyed baking pies, especially if it was rhubarb from her brother, Ed's farm. Irene was an avid reader, reading thousands of books from the Greenfield Public Library, her favorites being biographies. She enjoyed knitting, cooking and completing the daily crossword in The Greenfield Recorder, in pen. One of her favorite, most recent, pastimes was babysitting Penelope and Dimitri.
Among her survivors, Irene leaves her daughter, best friend and caregiver, Karen Larabee and son in law Mike of Greenfield; Jay Kostanski and daughter in law, Pam of Vero Beach, FL; Bill Kostanski and daughter in law Mary of Greenfield; and daughter in law, Bette Ann Kostanski of Gill; four grandsons, Michael Jon, Kyle, Brent and Matt Kostanski; a granddaughter, Britney Gioules and her husband George; four great grandchildren, Tristian and Ty Kostanski and Penelope and Dimitri Gioules. Irene also leaves a sister who was always there for her, Virginia "Chooch" Clements of West Springfield and a sister in law, Virginia Kostanski of Turners Falls; She also leaves several nieces, nephews, great nieces and great nephews.
Besides her husband, Henry, Irene was predeceased by her son, Michael Kostanski on February 19, 2015; her three brothers, Edwin, Henry "John" and Chester Czuj and a sister, Rose Ogonis.
Funeral services will be held Wednesday 10/30 at 9am at the Kostanski Funeral Home, 220 Federal Street, Greenfield followed by a Liturgy of Christian Burial at 10am at Our Lady of Czestochowa Church, 84 K Street, Turners Falls. Burial will follow at Calvary Cemetery in Greenfield.
Calling hours will be held Tuesday evening from 4-7pm at the funeral home.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Friends of the Greenfield Public Library, 402 Main Street, Greenfield, MA 01301 or to Hospice of Franklin County, 329 Conway Street, Greenfield, MA 01301.
For condolences, please visit www.kostanskifuneralhome.com.
To send flowers to Irene's family, please visit our floral section.