Irene Marie (Jackintell) Zeno

July 21, 1941 ~ April 2, 2019 (age 77)

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I’m not afraid to die…I just don’t know what to pack.

Our lovely friend, Irene “Isabella” Marie Zeno, (Jackintell) died in her sleep April 2, 2019 in Brighton.  She is now with her Mom, Jenny, her Father, Michael, her brother, Santo, her sister, Marlene, and her little dog, Bo Baxter. She continues to watch over her daughter, Jill, her son, Dave and his wife Lin, and her precious Grandson, Henry.  Irene was born and raised in Struthers, Ohio where she learned how to embrace and live life like no other.  She developed lifelong friendships and skills indicative to her nature and Italian culture.  Her wedding soup, sauce, meatballs, and linguini with clams will be imitated, but never equaled.  Irene constantly expressed her love for others throughout her life.  Her passion for reading and learning led her to her career in education.  If we really learn everything we need to know in kindergarten, then Irene is responsible for instilling life’s wonder and lessons to countless children in the classrooms of Poland Union and McKinley Elementary schools.

Retirement allowed Irene to travel and live near her daughter in New Orleans.  Her elegance stood out even in this remarkable city and she soon became the concierge for Saks 5th avenue.  As she watched the streetcars go by, she imparted fashion sense, validated parking tickets, and passed out water, however her real service was making all that passed by her desk feel special and to feel love.

Irene’s horoscope sign was Cancer, the crab, and her wish to live by the sea finally came true in 2010, when she moved to the island of Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts.  She and her bichon-frise sidekick, Bo-Bo Baxter, spent their island days sitting in Ocean view park, breathing in the sea air, and shopping the quaint boutiques on rainy days. Wherever Irene lived, especially at her most memorable home at 23 College Street, we were surrounded by comfortable furnishings, tons of books, pleasant aromas, and a porch where we spent most of the summer.

Irene was born with the debilitating disease, HHT-hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia. Her spirit was strong, and she lived much longer than ever predicted. Irene was always grateful for the care she received. Late in life it was from the physicians at Massachusetts General Hospital and from caregivers at Brighton House, and Care Dimensions of Boston.  Her expressions of admiration, gratitude, and joy through interactions with her caregivers were daily reminders of the true power of faith, and love in action. 

Irene will be honored in her hometown, in a mid-August celebration of life. Motown hits, chicken-wings, and pink balloons will set the stage for incredible stories, and enough joy and laughter to make her proud, as she smiles and sends her love-light shining down on all of us.

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