On May 23, 2020, at 87 years old, Irene Hrdina Vincent left this earth. She passed peacefully with her daughter by her side. Born on May 3, 1933 in Zlín, in Czechoslovakia, she was the only child of Jaroslav and Ludmila Hrdina.
At a young age she traveled with her family throughout Europe and the Far East due to her Father’s work with the Bata Shoe Company. When she was 3 years old, her mother passed after an appendectomy in Harbin, China. At 5 years, her father remarried, and they moved from Czechoslovakia to the Philippines where her father established a shoe manufacturing and distribution partnership on behalf of Bata in Manila. Life seemed sweet again with a pet monkey & beautiful gardens until WWII broke out. Jaroslav Hrdina was captured by the Japanese in 1942 while heading a group of Czechs assisting the US & Philippine forces by clearing the bombed roadways. Although her father survived the Bataan Death March and years of captivity; while captive on a Japanese war ship with over 1600 other prisoners, the ship was inadvertently bombed by the US Forces and he was killed.
After the war, she moved with her stepmother to the United States so that her stepmother could work in the accounting office for Bata in Belcamp, Maryland. She proudly became an American citizen at 12 years old. She graduated from Western High School at 16 years old after skipping 2 grades and then attending the University of Maryland and becoming a Pi Beta Phi sorority sister. For 35 years she worked for C&P Telephone Company which became Bell Atlantic and then ultimately Verizon; only taking a short break from work to raise her two daughters. Sokol America was a big part of her life; partaking in and teaching gymnastics in her youth to helping to run their annual bazaar with her close-knit group of Czech Sokol friends. In her retirement she taught Czech lessons through the Berlize Language Center and collaborated with her former supervisor at the phone company to create a literacy program for the Hampden Elementary School providing free books for each child and all in hopes to share her enthusiasm for literature. In 2009, she moved from Baltimore to Cape Cod to be closer to her younger daughter and grandsons in Massachusetts.
She was the loving mother of Eugenie Vincent of Baltimore, Maryland and Tamara Joyce of North Falmouth, MA and a dedicated grandmother to her grandsons: William Joyce of San Francisco, California and McAlister Joyce of Tampa, Florida. She was predeceased by both of her beloved parents, her devoted step-mother Emilie Martinek and her former husband William C. Vincent.
Irene had perfect grammar in both Czech and English. She never had a wrinkle or a hair out of place, loved music, reading, specifically history and travel. She advocated for her father to be recognized by the United States, Czechoslovakian and Philippine governments and ultimately was granted a Philippine Liberation Medal, Philippine Defense Medal, and The United States Prisoner of War Medal.
Services will be privately held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, hug your mom, bake Czech pastry, plant Forget-Me-Not seeds in your own garden, adopt a cat at MSPCA or People for Cats. Donations can be made in her name to a charity of your choice, or to The Royal Health Group Charitable Foundation, Inc. Scholarship fund as her family is so grateful for the years of loving care the staff at Royal Megansett gave to her.
Na zdraví Irene