Irene Dunbar

March 2, 1924 ~ February 4, 2022 (age 97)


Irene Dunbar, of Hazelwood, died peacefully on February 4, 2022 at the age of 97. 


Daughter of the late Russell Miller and Margaret Smith (Lewis), Irene was born on March 2, 1924, in Fayette County, Pennsylvania. During WWII, she left her family’s farm in Saxonburg at the age of 16 and moved to Pittsburgh, where she lived with her aunt and uncle in the Homewood neighborhood of the city and worked for many years downtown at Mitchell’s restaurant. On July 3, 1948, she married Frank Peter Dunbar, an army veteran formerly of Hazelwood, who passed away on March 16, 1980.


In October of 1973, Irene started working as a housekeeper at UPMC Shadyside before being moved to the newly built Hillman Cancer Center in 2002, where she would continue to work full-time for the next 48 years until she passed, never wishing to retire. During UPMC Shadyside’s 150th anniversary celebration, she was featured in the hospital’s publication of The VOICE, Faces of Shadyside, where she was asked to share some tips for good housekeeping. Indicative to her no-nonsense, go-go-go attitude, her response was, “Just do it!” before heading briskly back to cleaning. Her work and all of the people she had the pleasure of meeting over the years brought her so much joy; the hospital was truly a second home and family to her and she deeply cherished all of the relationships she built there.


Preceded in death by four of her siblings, Irene is survived and will be greatly missed by her son, Frank P. Dunbar, Jr; beloved grandchildren Ashley, Dylan, and Chelsea Dunbar; two great-grandchildren; sister, Helen Abbott of Port Clinton, Ohio; numerous nieces and nephews; very dear friend of many years, Kelly Mroz; and her great-granddog, Louie, whom she adored and loved to sneak treats to.

Friends will be received on Wednesday and Thursday from 2-4 and 6-8 P.M. in the Edward P. Kanai Funeral Home, 500 Greenfield Ave, 15207. A Farewell Service will be held at 7:30 P.M. on Thursday in the Funeral Home. Burial Friday at 11:00 A.M. at Calvary Catholic Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Little Sisters of the Poor of Pittsburgh, an organization whose mission was very special to her.

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