Madison - Irene Sordini Kropp, age 88, left this world June 17, 2020. She will be missed by her daughter Jeane Kropp, her son-in-law Jay Laurie (whom she unsecretly liked better than Jeane), her sister Alberta Kinne, brother-in-law Richard Kinne and sister-in-law Ellen Kropp Galligan. There’s also a multitude of nieces, nephews, some grand, others not. And cousins, whom we would name if we actually knew their names. Her grand doggie, Bourbon (NOT a good boi!) will miss her too – and the fact that she wouldn’t feed him cold hotdogs, only warm ones.
Irene spent her early years in New York City, initially meeting her husband Bill when they were just kids. She could regale you with stories of her father’s butcher shop and all the colorful, only-in-NYC characters who frequented it. She spent the majority of her career as an executive assistant (but then known as a “secretary”), at which she excelled because she liked telling people what to do.
Moving to the ‘burbs of NY was big, as homeownership was a novel idea to most city dwellers born during the Great Depression. So, Irene and Bill made their way slightly outside the city, to a hamlet (perhaps settled by Shakespeare?) that was inhabited by Italian and Irish families. Neighbors were fun, loud and sometimes drunk. Irene was known to delight (aka “terrify”) the kids on Halloween with her witchy cackle. She also found a way to have unpaid child labor, by disguising washing the kitchen floor as a “dance party,” during which Jeane and friends each stood on a towel and boogied around the kitchen.
Life took Irene and Bill to Wisconsin, where they were simultaneously repulsed and confused by “Midwestern nice,” but soon adapted to it and learned to love cheese curds and Da Pack! Retirement took them to North Carolina, where they were immediately embraced by ex-New Yorkers. They had a wonderful friend group there and we appreciate all they did to make them feel welcome.
Bill’s brain broke (dementia), so Irene and Bill moved back to Wisconsin to be near their daughter. Many new friendships were formed. Irene joined a “stitch and bitch” group, although she strangely called it knit club. She became the #1 fan of Rachel Maddow, and I deem that a WIN. She also had a dear neighbor friend, whom she referred to as her “friend with benefits.” When we mentioned she might want to revisit that phrase, she responded “I Know What it Means.” **Narrator: She did not know what it means.**
Okay, boring stuff out of the way, let’s get real. The Irene, as she is known in some circles, largely the circles in which Jeane could talk about her without her knowing, was quite the character. Particularly as she aged, she saw the world in her own unique way. Irene was frequently opinionated, yet often wrong. She swore that I hate spinach. Nope, I love it. When I offered her a chair at a friend’s BBQ, she yelled, “Where do you get all this guilt from!?” She turned ordering food at a restaurant into a timed competition. “Hello, I’ll be your waitper….” “I WANT THE LASAGNA!”
She was a great mom, a great wife (I can’t believe I just typed that), and an all-around great person. While she feared getting the coronavirus, no one saw that flesh-eating bacteria coming. I wish we were kidding.
If you would like to donate in memory of The Irene, please give to the Dane County Humane Society, or any animal rescue place of your choice.
The Irene didn’t want a fuss, so no service will be held. Honor her in whatever way you see fit.
P.S. She wanted professional obit photos done for a Christmas present. After we got them for her, she said they made her look like a marshmallow. She hated them. But yet here we are, with a marshmallow photo. To view and sign this guestbook, please visit: www.ryanfuneralservice.com.
Ryan Funeral Home & Cremation Services
2418 N Sherman Ave
To send flowers to Irene's family, please visit our floral store.