Irene D. Klufas – Pawtucket

Irene D. Klufas – Pawtucket

Irene D. Klufas 91, of Pawtucket, R.I., passed away October 8, 2018, with her immediate family at her side. She was the widow of the late Emil J. Klufas, MD. They were married for 58 years.

She was born in Yavoriv, Ukraine, the daughter of Mychajlo and Julia (Karchut) Flys. Her childhood was spent in Ukraine and Poland. During World War II, in her teen-age years, Irene and her parents fled war-torn Ukraine and post-war were resettled in a Displaced Persons refugee camp in Berchtesgaden, Germany. She would frequently reminisce about the many positive experiences she had and lifelong acquaintances she established with fellow Ukrainians during this period. She completed her gymnasium (high school) studies in Karlfeldt, Germany, and studied dentistry at Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich.

She married Emil Klufas in the spring of 1949, and several months later the couple emigrated to the United States. They lived in New York City for several years before moving to Rhode Island in 1953 where her husband completed his medical training and established a thriving medical practice. Irene would help manage her husband’s medical office while successfully raising their five children. She most enjoyed spending time with her immediate family, as well as frequent trips to visit relatives and attend cultural events in New York City and the Catskill Mountains region of New York State. She remained active until the last weeks of her life, spending as much time as possible at her children’s summer home in Charlestown and Narragansett.

Irene instilled the values of faith, hard work, perseverance and Ukrainian cultural identity in her children. A woman of deep religious faith, she was a devoted parishioner of St. Michael’s Ukrainian Catholic Church in Woonsocket, R.I. She was also very active in the Ukrainian American community. For many years she was the local chapter president of the Ukrainian National Woman’s League of America. She visited and generously helped her family in Ukraine, making an immense difference in their lives. She donated countless medical supplies and an advanced ultrasound system for the Children of Chernobyl Relief Fund. This ultrasound was delivered to a medical center in Kyiv, Ukraine, and helped provide advanced diagnostic services for many children and adults affected by the 1986 nuclear disaster in Chernobyl, Ukraine.

Shortly after Ukraine regained its independence in 1991, Irene and Emil were among the earliest and most generous supporters of the Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv, Ukraine - the only Catholic university on the territory of the former Soviet Union. On the campus of the university, Irene’s family funded the first state-of-the-art auditorium and lecture hall that bear their parents’ name. The UCU has been hailed by The Economist as the “jewel of higher education in Ukraine.” The cornerstone for the new UCU campus in Lviv was blessed by Pope John Paul ll during his historic visit to Ukraine in 2001.

She is survived by her daughter, Lydia A. Klufas, DDS, and husband, John Tkach; sons Alexander Klufas, MD, and wife, Roma; Adrian Klufas, MD, and wife, Anna; Michael Klufas, MD; and Roman Klufas, MD, and wife, Lydia L. Klufas, MD.

She leaves behind 12 grandchildren: Paul Klufas, Matthew Klufas, Melanie Klufas, Thomas Klufas, Michael A. Klufas, MD, Stephen Klufas, Daniel Klufas, MD, Timothy Klufas, Marko Tkach, Andrew Klufas, Alexandra Klufas, Larissa Klufas; as well as a great-granddaughter Katherine Klufas.

Relatives and friends are kindly invited to visiting hours on Friday, Oct. 12, 2018, 4-7 p.m. at the Costigan- O’Neill Funeral Home, 220 Cottage St., Pawtucket, RI, 02860. Panakhyda service will be at 7 p.m. A funeral liturgy will be celebrated on Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018, at 10 a.m. at St. Michael's Ukrainian Catholic Church, 394 Blackstone St., Woonsocket, RI, 02895. Interment will follow at the Holy Spirit Ukrainian Catholic Cemetery in Campbell Hall, New York.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Ukrainian Catholic Education Foundation, UCEF, 2247 W. Chicago Avenue, Ste 5, Chicago, IL 60622.