Eulogy by Irene's son Charles W. Lotzar
Irene Dolores Maher was born at her family home on St. Paul Avenue, on the lower east side of Detroit.
Irene was the second of five daughters born to Mary and Gilbert Maher Her parents had married late in life. Mary was 35 and Gilbert, or “Bert” as he was commonly referred, was 42. Her mother was a convert to Catholicism.
Irene was baptized at Annunciation Church, a few blocks from the home in which she was born, in the same church her father, as a young man, had been an alter boy and usher.
In her early and formative years she was exposed to the devoutness to the Catholic faith of her parents and to the importance of her Irish heritage.
She was always a striking beauty, and she had a “presence” when she entered the room. She loved to be around people, & people loved to be around her.
She graduated from Annunciation high school. Her 12 years there were happy and she made many friends – but her closest friends would always be her four sisters.
After graduation she went to work at Western Union and quickly became an office manager. She had fond memories of her years working there.
She met her future husband, Charles Lotzar ( “Chuck” ) , on the Friday evening after Thanksgiving in November 1958, while attending a Catholic Young Peoples Dance in Detroit. They were introduced by a mutual friend, Tex Martin. Despite being from the same parish (Annunciation), and despite Irene sharing class with Chuck’s younger sister Dorothy, Chuck and Irene had never met.
Early the next summer they became engaged and were married on October 3, 1959. They were married for 45 years.
Their first son, Charles William was born on July 25, 1960.
With her full support, her husband Chuck entered Law School at Detroit College of Law in September 1960, working full time during the day, & going to law school at night , leaving Irene to care for the children. It would take four years for Charles to graduate and qualify to take the Bar.
A second son, Robert Gilbert ( “Bob” ) was born on October 17, 1961 and Irene was pregnant with third son Gregory Edwin ( “Greg” ) at the time her husband finally received his law degree.
An informal survey by her husband concluded that, in addition to
academic problems, that as many as 25 – 30% of his married classmates
dropped out from night law school due to marital problems. Irene
had spent countless evenings and weekends alone with her infant
sons while her husband attended classes and studied. It was a remarkable
sacrifice with no guarantee of the outcome. Chuck remains forever
grateful for Irene's steadfastness and commitment in raising their
three boys during those long lonely four years.
Irene liked to talk of her prowess in bridge, golf, tennis, or,
bowling. Although her family often teased her about this, there
was never a doubt in anyone's mind that knew her that her primary
vocation was a proud “stay-at- home-mom”.
She celebrated her children's accomplishments and was a strong and
steady force during their troubles. Irene was not only a vocal cheerleader
at numerous baseball, hockey and basketball games, but also a patient
listener with keen insights into people in general.
She was particularly proud that each of her children were recipients of both undergraduate and post graduate degrees - 2 lawyers and one MBA.
Irene was also a very loving and warm person to extended family, she consistently conscientiously concentrated on developing relationships. She loved people.
Irene had a wide range of friends from all walks of life. She simply sought out and attracted quality people.
She also had tremendous will and perseverance, which were great examples to her children. Less than two weeks before her death, she was still getting together with her friends to play bridge. They were wonderful companions, often picking Irene up, preparing special meals, driving her home, making sure she was ok, and I think, sometimes letting her win. Everyone knows Irene liked to win!!
Irene treated many people like her own children, including many
of her nieces and nephews. The Lotzar house was always open to the
boys’ friends. Irene loved to entertain. She was always the center
of attention, both good and bad. On the good side, she was a talker
and enjoyed people who liked to talk. On the bad side, no guest
ever went hungry at the Lotzar house. Many of her children's friends
eventually learned to say they weren't hungry in order to eat just
a little, and be relieved of Irene's insistence on feeding them.
Years after the boys had left the house, many of their buddies would still drop by to chat with Irene at the Lotzar kitchen table becaused they enjoyed her company so much.
Irene felt blessed to have two wonderful daughter-in-laws, Mary Sue and Heather. Irene talked to them frequently and was a great care-giver in times of need, such as the birth of her precious grand children.
Irene was a very active grandmother to her five grandkids, Charlie, Patrick, Bobby Kelly Irene and Melissa. Her face would light speaking to them on the phone, hearing their stories, and sharing their dreams.
For almost 5 years she battled cancer with an unwavering determination, a smile, and a strong faith in God. She rarely complained to anyone throughout her ordeal, instead choosing to focus on others. In the end, though her body was frail and tired, her soul was enormous, she was ready for eternal life with her Lord & Savior, Jesus Christ.
Thanks to her many friends & caregivers, most notably Dr. Alvez, who cared for her like she was family.
In short, it was a wonderful life. Time well spent on people and relationships while concurrently encouraging and celebrating the successes of others.