Irene Karcz Kalinowski

Irene Karcz Kalinowski died peacefully during her sleep Feb. 23, 2022 in Virginia after a full and extraordinary life.

She was born in Nieswiez, Poland, to Stanislaw Matuszak and Leonarda Piekutowski on April 13, 1928. She grew up in Warsaw, Poland; was a member of the Polish Resistance and fought in the 1944 Warsaw Uprising during World War II. After a year in a German prisoner of war camp, she made her way to Nazareth, Israel, where she graduated from a Polish high school.

After a year in London, she immigrated to the United States in 1949. In June 1950 she married her first husband Jerzy Feliks Karcz. They had five children, Jan, Mysia, Jerzy Jr., Bartholomew, and Joseph. Jerzy Sr. died in December 1970.

In December 1979 she married Marian Kalinowski with whom she spent 20 years. In October 2012 she married Roy A Silverlock and joined him in his home in Lakenheath, England. Roy predeceased her in 2018.

Irene was a strong, resilient, independent woman who met the challenges of life head-on. She was a loving wife and mother who sought out opportunities to improve her children and herself while enjoying life. She was a very successful Realtor in Santa Barbara, and was deeply engaged with the local Polish community.

A caring person, she supported many liberal causes and charities throughout her life. She enjoyed getting together with her friends and hosted many gatherings at her house.

Irene was a wonderful grandmother and great grandmother. She would have her grandchildren for weeks at her house, and they still remember the fun times they had there.

She never let the circumstances of life hold her back. Widowed at 42, she set out on a new course, that of a successful businesswoman. She supported her children and helped care for her in-laws while continuing to help the disadvantaged. She loved to garden and was passionate about orchids. She met her third husband Roy while touring Nepal to see orchids.

Loving travel, Irene visited many places throughout the world, going to different cultures and countries. She and our dad took five children to Europe in 1967 to show us where we came from. With Marian, she visited places such as New Guinea, Thailand and China. She and Roy continued to travel through their late 80s.

A passionate photographer, Irene was always taking pictures wherever she went. We are blessed to have wonderful photos of her adventures.

Irene was a devoted mother to her five children, Jan, Mysia, Jerzy, Jr. (deceased in 2018), Bartholomew and Joseph. Her younger brother Zbigniew Matuszak, died in August 1952. Her sister Maria Napiorkowska lives in Warsaw, Poland. Irene leaves behind eight grandchildren, two nephews, and four great grandchildren.

A celebration of her life will be held at 11 a.m. May 20 at the Old Mission in Santa Barbara.

Donations in her name can be made to the Alzheimers’ Association.