Irene Rechnic

May 24, 1934 ~ July 19, 2022 (age 88)


Irene Rechnic of Evansville, passed away on July 19, 2022. Candid, articulate, and a champion for human rights, Irene, like her parents, persevered and moved beyond her early life during the Holocaust in Dabrowa Gornicza, Poland, where she was born in 1934. The Rechnic family managed coal mines and a factory.

Then, in 1939, Germany invaded Poland. At age five, Irene was forced into a ghetto along with her family. Conditions were crowded, food was scarce, her parents endured forced labor and all were under constant threat of death. They tried but were unable to escape. In January 1944, Irene’s father was able to get her out of the ghetto to live with a Polish family he knew from the coal mine.  That same month, her parents were taken to Auschwitz along with most of her relatives.  Few survived.  Irene’s parents survived the ghetto, the labor camp, the death camp, and the death march.  When liberation came, they were severely malnourished and in bad health.  After months of recuperation, they were able to reunite with Irene.   They left Poland where most of their family had been murdered and their property had been stolen.

After WWII and eight years living in Belgium, Irene and her parents immigrated to the United States and settled in Evansville, IN, where an aunt was living.  That was 1953.  Having started high school in Belgium, Irene finished at Bosse H.S.  She earned a B.A. from University of Evansville.  Fluent in four languages, Irene became a translator at Columbia University Medical Center and then a teacher in New Jersey.   A few years later, she went to the University of Wisconsin where she worked toward a PhD and taught French. 

In 1982, Irene returned to Evansville to be with her father after her mother, Regina Rechnic (nee Kanarek), died in an auto accident.  Irene’s father, Edward Rechnic, died in 1985.  He had founded Edwards Manufacturing Company and operated that clothing business until his retirement in 1980.  

Irene traveled extensively throughout Europe and went to Israel and Egypt.   She made frequent trips to New York City, and she enjoyed excursions to Chicago, Nashville, and Florida.  Irene loved to visit art museums and enjoyed Broadway theater and U.E. theater.  She also enjoyed foreign language films, jazz, and fine clothes.  Irene participated in numerous book discussion programs at St. John’s College (Santa Fe, N.M.) in person and more recently by Zoom.  She enjoyed the book group at North Park Library.  Though there was a lot of sorrow in Irene’s life, she found joy and took pleasure in many things, especially those of an intellectual nature.  She liked to discuss and debate issues.  She loved to read and discuss articles in The New Yorker, to which she subscribed for over 60 years.

Irene had a wonderful mind and memory, a sharp wit and charitable spirit.   She will be remembered fondly by her friends and family including cousin Simon Spiegelman, of California and his daughters Annie Buzbuzi, Dr. Augusta Gooch, Dr. Carol Wills, and Sharon Baldree; cousin Rick Feldman of NYC; and cousins Orit Levi, Elana Shalev, and Dov Zoltak in Israel.

In 2020, Irene established the Edward D. and Regina Rechnic Holocaust Series at USI through an endowment gift to the USI Foundation.  This fund will support annual speaker programs in Holocaust remembrance. The first in the series will be September 2022 at USI.

Graveside Services will be held at 9:30 a.m., Thursday, July 21, 2022, Mt. Carmel Cemetery, Evansville, with Rabbi Gary Mazo officiating. A Live Stream will be available beginning twenty minutes prior to the service time. Please visit, select Irene’s obituary, scroll to the bottom of the page, and click View Live Stream.

Memorial contributions may be made to the USI Foundation at 8600 University Boulevard, Evansville, IN 47712 or at

Arrangements are being handled by Boone Funeral Home East Chapel — A Family Tradition Funeral Home, 5330 Washington Avenue, Evansville, IN.

Condolences may be made to the family online at

To send flowers to the family, please visit our floral store.


Graveside Service
July 21, 2022

9:30 AM
Mt. Carmel Cemetery, First Avenue, Evansville
UTM 16 449920E 4209263N
Evansville, IN 47711

Video is available for this event

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