The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Irene Tomich


WAUKEGAN, Ill. - Irene Tomich, of Pence, Wis. died Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017, while in hospice care at The Terrace Nursing Home in Waukegan, Illinois.

She was born April 3, 1921, in Ironwood, Mich., to the late Fabian and Amanda Remes. Irene grew up in Erwin Township. It was a typically large farm family, numbering seven girls and two boys. Namely, Vienna Manki (Einar), Eva Niemi (Arvo), Olga Nelson (Evertt), Ruth (Doyle), Wayne (Gladys), Gerty, Amby and Toivo, all deceased. One remaining sister, Florence, resides in Zion.

Irene married twice, Michael Cortichiato and then John Tomich.

Irene is survived by two sons, Frank Cortichiato (Kumi) of Pence, and Michael Cortichiato (Patty) of Waukegan; a third son, John Tomich (Sarah) of Lombard, died on Dec. 27, 2013; five grandchildren, Nicole Cortichiato of Austin, Texas, Tara Purtell (Michael) of Waukegan, Michael Cortichiato of Portland, Ore., Anton Tomich of Riverside, Calif., and Stella Tomich of Lombard; eight nieces and nephews, John Niemi (Muriel), Betty Ann Traynor (Roy), David Manki (Alice), Sal Benisatto (Cherii), Charnaine Najor (Louie), Ken Spenser (Denise), Eero Remes (Jessica) and Dale Piet (Cindy); and also of family, mother's great friend, Lolly Vandevoorde of Pence, who was there for her in all seasons.

And not to forget the kindness and genuine neighborliness of Linda and Joe Manzanares and Paula and John Windt who made it possible for mother to live alone by herself for so many years. Thank you.

Our beloved mother, "Aiti" will be greatly missed. Her sense of humor and native ability to tell stories of life on the farm during the Depression and after are very much cherished, and they are still passed on in the family story. Also her holiday dinner parties and family special events will always remain special in our minds. She was a unique cook that combined Finnish, Italian and American cuisine in her own special way. She called it "no recipe" cooking. And it was truly memorable.

As a young woman, mother worked in Lake Forest, Ill., for back in those times, the 30's and 40's, ads were placed in newspapers in Northern Minnesota and Wisconsin and the U.P. looking for young women with Finnish and Swedish backgrounds. These young women were highly prized for their conscientious work habits and their desire to learn new skills. It was at this time, that mother says she gained her "15 minutes of fame." While working for one of those wealthy Lake Forest families she had the opportunity and privilege to serve the then Governor of Illinois, Adlai Stevenson, his favorite breakfast of poached eggs. She would tell the story with some pride and delight.

Mother held strong beliefs, both as a Christian and an Adlai Stevenson Democrat. Her beliefs in both were strong, durable and life-sustaining. And so mother will now join all of her loved ones, and her departed sisterly friends, Ester Baker, Amelia Corsi and Hilda Polso.

A memorial service with family and friends is pending.


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