Beloved Irene was born April 14, 1928 in Minnesota to her proud parents, Frank and Helen (Gusten) Podraza. Irene remained with her family in Minnesota until she married the love of her life, Russell. She was a military wife for 21 years traveling abroad and in the USA. They retired from the military life and moved to California In 1962. The family continued to grow once in California raising six children. Irene was a mother of many talents; devoting her life to her children and husband. She loved sewing her children’s clothes and enjoyed making crafts. Together they raised their children to be hard working, loving, and responsible adults. Later, she worked for the Richmond Unified School District as a Special Education Aid for more than 25 years and retired at 85 years old. In her spare time, Irene was known for her generous volunteering, reading to First Graders and assisting in local soup kitchens. For many years, she was a member of St. John’s Catholic Church in El Cerrito and decorated the altar. Above all Irene’s love of her family was the most important and to her husband Russell and cared for many years after he fell Ill. She especially enjoyed her family coming together for celebrations and the Holidays. It was very important that her family “stay together”. On November 12, 2021, Irene Mary Blair was greeted in Heaven by her husband of 55 years and those that passed before her. She was 93 years young.
The family left to carry on Irene’s legacy are her six children, Juliana Farr, Jim Blair (wife Janice), Kathleen Baker (husband, Thirl), Mary Jusinsky (husband, Leonard), Ronald Blair (wife, Eleanor), Donald Blair (wife, Nancy); her 27 grandchildren, 18 great-grandchildren and her brother, Donald Podraza and sister, Kathy Bobick; and a host of nieces, nephews and community of extended family members.
Family and friends are invited to attend services honoring Irene on the following days and locations:
Visitation, Tuesday, November 30, 2021 from 11:00am to 2:00pm at the Civic Center Chapel of Wilson & Kratzer Mortuaries, 455 – 24th Street, Richmond, CA. Funeral Mass, Wednesday, December 1, 2021 at St. John the Baptist Church, 11150 San Pablo Ave., El Cerrito; Committal Service at St. Joseph Cemetery, 2540 Church Lane, San Pablo immediately following the mass and finally the Reception being hosted at the Richmond Rod & Gun Club, 3155 Goodrick Ave., Richmond, CA 94801
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