Jan. 13, 2017
Just short of her 93rd birthday, Irene left us on Friday.
Irene was born in Hazleton on March 2, 1924. She was a daughter of the late Henry P. and Victoria (Daldon) Tamanini.
She grew up on Hayes Street and was a devout member of Most Precious Blood Church in Hazleton.
She sold Avon for more than four decades and served on the former Hazleton Hospital Women’s Auxiliary.
She was a member of the Beaver Meadows Senior Center and the Hazleton Jewish Community Center. (No, she wasn’t Jewish, but was adopted as such by her friend, Mable Brown!)
She lived in her North Vine Street home for more than 62 years, where few families in her neighborhood did not come to know and love her. Irene was always there to help out whenever there was a need. She was known for her fantastic holiday cookies, most especially her light and airy “crystals,” which melted in your mouth like sweet butter, and for her full-calorie Easter pies, which, for those outside the Hazleton area, are essentially industrialstrength Italian quiche. Family occasions were often graced with her famous macaroni and cheese or her equally amazing meatballs.
During World War II, Irene worked at a Birds Eye factory in New Jersey. There, she helped the war effort by packing frozen foods — alongside several German POWs, whom she always said were actually quite nice young boys.
Irene was a storyteller’s storyteller and a jokester of the first order, traits she most definitely passed on in the family. Laughter is what we remember and laughter what was the most often heard sound coming from her house. If you run into her in heaven, ask her about the time she hit the pig while driving in South Jersey! Trust me, it’s funnier than it sounds.
She was a pushover for her children, her grandchildren and most recently for her great-grandchildren. She was a card player who helped her grandchildren learn the fine art of poker, enjoyed the occasional trip to the casino and loved her lottery tickets, which more often than not paid off for her.
Irene was an avid bowler. Her various teams throughout the years depended upon Irene for the clutch spare or strike. Well into her early 80s, she remained a pivotal player, perhaps for her style or perhaps because she kept her team laughing so much with her unique humor.
In recent years, Irene was able to remain in her home because of the assistance of her wonderful caregivers, Maria Rosa, Janice Baran and Sonja Oleniacz. Each caregiver, in her own special way, made it possible for Irene to live in the home she loved until her final few days. Her family can’t thank them enough for their love and attention.
The care given by the staff at Mountain City as well as the staff of the Hospice of the Sacred Heart helped to make Irene’s final days safe, comfortable and painless as she made her transition from this life to the next.
Irene is survived by her children, James (Neree) Sando, North Wales; Cynthia Sando Farley, Lancaster; and Michael Sando, Jeffersonville; stepson, Larry Joyner, New Mexico; son-in-law, Carl Grimm, Rehoboth, Del.; grandchildren, Sarah (Anthony) Cocchimiglio, Alexander Sando, Victoria (Mark) Buckwalter, Kiernan (Sarah) Farley, Shealyn Farley and Harrison Sando; and great-grandchildren, Anthony and Casey Cocchimiglio, Jade Buckwalter and Alayna and Alicia Beane.
She is also survived by her sister, Pauline Tamanini; her brother-in-law, Larry Moratelli; her sisters-in-law, Bobbie Shipp, Maria Tamanini and Marie Wilson; her 37 nieces and nephews; and far too many great-nieces, great-nephews and even great-great-nieces and greatgreat-nephews to actually count.
In addition to her parents, Irene was preceded in death by her first husband, Ernest Sando; her second husband, Clifton Joyner; her eldest son, Ernest Sando Jr.; her sisters, Elsie, Lucy and Ellen; and her brothers, James, Tony, Frank, Bob and George.
While Irene’s story with us has come to a close, we know she would ask you to do several things for her. Tell stories. Tell jokes. Live, love and laugh. It’s what she did so well for so long! If you do these things for her, then her story will surely continue.
Friends and family are invited to a viewing Sunday from 6 to 8 p.m. at Rosenstock Funeral Home, 229 W. Broad St., Hazleton.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at Most Precious Blood Church on Monday at 11 a.m.
Interment will be private at a later date.
Donations in memory of Irene Joyner may be made to Hospice of the Sacred Heart. For information on how to make a donation in memory, please e-mail wecare@ hospicesacredheart.org or call 570-706-2400.
Asia Howard, posing for a photo at St. Johns River Park in Jacksonville, Fla., in October, says she was stuck in mostly retail and fast-food jobs after graduating high school, unable to get a job in banking, a profession she prized for its steady hours.