Shrewsbury – Irene Hammarstrom, 97, left us peacefully Nov. 13, 2018.
Irene, the 7th of 8 children, was born in Worcester to Stephen and Mary (Warlinska) Michalak in July, 1921. She was raised in Shrewsbury, attended Ward School through the 6th grade, Calvin Coolidge School through the 9th grade, then Beal High School, graduating with the class of 1939. After graduation, she attended comptometer school prior to working for Rockwood Sprinkler until 1956 in Worcester as a cost accountant in payroll.
Irene married Carl ”Babe” Hammarstrom, her high school sweetheart, after his honorable discharge from World War II military service in 1945. Babe and Irene welcomed a son, Stephen in 1946 and a second son, Lee in 1956.
Babe and Irene made their home in Shrewsbury. Throughout her life, she was a very active individual, playing field hockey in high school, swimming, skating, and enjoying other outdoor activities. She additionally loved to play card games, especially pitch, as often as possible. She was particularly fond of candlepin bowling and golf, belonging to numerous leagues. Irene and Babe bowled in the Mr. and Mrs. League at Bowling Green Alleys in Worcester and later in the Ladies League at Sawyer’s Bowladrome in Northborough. She and Babe were members at Saddle Hill Golf Course in Hopkinton until Babe’s passing in 1981. Irene then became a member at Green Hill GC and was very active in the Worcester County Women’s League, winning many tournaments and individual awards.
Throughout her life she was an active member of St. Anne’s Catholic Church in Shrewsbury, serving as manager of the parish’s CCD office for 2 years, as a CCD instructor for 7 years, and a member of the Daughters of Isabella.
Irene loved to travel, especially the annual spring trips she and Babe took to Florida to play golf. One of her fondest memories was her 1968 trip via truck camper with Babe and Lee to Alaska to visit son Stephen. Other highlights included an ocean cruise trip through the Panama Canal, numerous trips to Alaska to visit her two sons, and her regular visits to the casinos in Connecticut.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Stephen and Mary; husband Babe; brothers Joseph, Carl, and William Michalak; sisters Fran Milde, Rose McCardle, Vandis Jewell; and grandson Lance Hammarstrom. She is survived by her brother Frank Michalak of Shrewsbury; sons Stephen (wife Cheryl) Hammarstrom of Sterling, Alaska, and Lee Hammarstrom (wife Marnee Beverage) of Homer, Alaska; granddaughter Julie (husband Paul) LaFrance of Wasilla, Alaska; grandson Sean Hammarstrom of Lakewood, Washington; granddaughter Stacey Bowden of Eagle River, Alaska; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Family and friends will celebrate Irene’s life Wednesday, Nov. 14, from 5-7 p.m., at the Chiampa Funeral Home 〜 The Sumner House, 5 Church Road, on the Common, Shrewsbury Center. The funeral for Irene will be held Thursday, Nov. 15, at 10 a.m., with a Mass of Christian Burial at St. Anne’s Church, 130 Boston Tpke., Shrewsbury. Burial will follow in Mountain View Cemetery of Shrewsbury.
The family would like to thank the staff at Shrewsbury Crossings Assisted Living and Coleman House in Northborough for their loving and professional care provided to Irene these last few years.
In lieu of flowers, Irene’s wish is for donations to be made to St. Anne’s Thrift Store (Shrewsbury) in her memory.