Obituary of Irene D. McHugh
Irene DiBiase McHugh, 88, of Point Pleasant passed away peacefully on Saturday, November 5, 2022 in Friends Village, Woodstown.
Born in Newark and raised in Belleville, she grew up in a warm and loving Italian American family, amidst many aunts, uncles and cousins, in a time and place she often felt to be the most opportune and exciting in our history. She carried that sense of good fortune and optimism throughout her life.
Irene attended Upsala College in East Orange where she met her future husband, John (Jack) McHugh. After their marriage, and seeking teaching jobs, Irene and Jack found their way to the Jersey Shore, settling in Point Pleasant. Both found careers in the fast-growing Point Pleasant school district. Irene found her calling in the kindergarten classroom, a position she held for over thirty years. She would often quip that it was a job she would happily do without pay. She found ample reward instilling the timeless and elemental lessons of love, self-esteem, curiosity and cooperation to over a thousand children over her long career. It’s no surprise that a fair number of current teachers in the Point Pleasant School District trace their educational roots back to Irene’s classroom with the big rocking chair. She especially loved reading to her students, a passion that continued with all her grandchildren.
In the 1960’s and ‘70’s, she and Jack along with several other area educators operated a boys and girls summer camp in Belgrade Lakes, Maine. This fortuitous start led to fifty-seven (and counting) glorious summers for the entire McHugh family on that special lake in Maine. For her family, Irene’s love was a constant, and it warmed their lives as reliably as the sun warms the earth. Irene maintained a childlike enthusiasm and sweetness throughout her life. Along with being an excellent artist, she was always attuned to the beauty of nature, a flower, or the aesthetics of a room or well-set table. Irene’s last couple of years were challenged by dementia. While this insidious disease stripped her of memories and abilities one by one, it was no match for her sweet character and boundless optimism. These traits endured until her final days. Even though she might not remember a name, the smile on her face and the sparkle in her eye said “I love you” with as much meaning as it ever did.
Irene was predeceased by her husband, Jack in 2017. She is survived by her three children, Jack McHugh, Jr. of Point Pleasant, Tom McHugh and his wife Kate Kerrane of Woodstown, Kristin McHugh and her husband Andrew Schmidt of Bloomfield, her four beloved grandchildren, Sheila McHugh, Colin McHugh, Aidan Schmidt and Stella Schmidt. She is also survived by her sister Mary Wittenmeyer of Bayville, her brother, Joseph DiBiase of Nazareth, PA and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews.
A memorial will be from 1 - 4 p.m., Sunday, December 18 at the Pable Evertz Funeral Home of Point Pleasant, 901 Beaver Dam Road.
In lieu of flowers or gifts, please consider a donation to the Point Pleasant Foundation for Excellence in Education, PO Box 3171, Point Pleasant, NJ 08742 or visit www.point-foundation.org
Tributes and condolences are welcome at www.pableevertzfuneralhome.com
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901 Beaver Dam Road
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