Irene (Grzeskowski) Sidel
SIDEL: Irene (Grzeskowski) Sidel, age 79 on Monday, June 22 at Mercy Hospital. Beloved wife of Philip Sidel, mother of Julia (Randy Wildera), and James, and grandmother of Denali, Ryder, and Zephyr Wildera. Also survived by her close cousin Roxanne “Rocky” Beauchamp (nee Pawlicz). Irene grew up in Dearborn Michigan. After graduating from the University of Michigan, she moved to New York where she operated electronic accounting machines and met her husband, Philip. In 1969 the family moved to Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill area where she and Philip lived for 45 of their 50 years of marriage. Living in Squirrel Hill, Irene became increasingly involved in the Jewish community and joined the Zionist Women’s organization, Hadassah. She became secretary to the regional director of Hadassah’s Youth Movement, Haschachar/Young Judaea, where she could work during the hours her children were in school and have them with her after school at her place of work. A few years later, she became the regional director and served as a guide and often “second mom” to cohorts of third- through 12th-raders for more than a decade. After a months-long interruption with a bout with cancer and subsequent radiation treatments in 1986, Irene went back to her role as regional director and began the process of formally converting to the Jewish faith. Irene retired from her directorship in the later 1990s, but continued for some years having open-house reunions for her Young Judaeans on successive Thanksgiving weekends. In the next decade she served as outlying community chapters coordinator for the Pittsburgh Hadassah Region, and later as a volunteer historian, organizing and documenting the regional Hadassah archives. Rabbi Burt Schuman conducted a Memorial Service last Thursday at Schenley Gardens Senior Living Center. In lieu of flowers, donations in Irene’s memory can be made to Hadassah, Young Judaea or the charity of your choice.