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Irene Pigeon Salay Gunderman
December 9, 1935 ~ September 7, 2023 (age 87) 87 Years Old
Irene Pigeon Salay Gunderman, 87, of North Versailles passed from this life into the arms of her Savior, Jesus Christ, at her home on September 7, 2023, following a courageous, lengthy battle with cancer.
Irene was born 12/9/35 to her parents Joseph and Helen Lanco Pigeon.
Irene had many names - Ma, Mom, "I", Bat, Grammie, Grandma, Gram I, Aunt, Reney - and she loved being called by them all. "Ma" was a creative, artistic, fun-loving woman who loved designing, drawing, and painting and could watch Bob Ross paint for hours - as long as there wasn't a Steeler, Pirate or Penguin game, a Roger Federer tennis match, or the "Reba" show on TV which always made her laugh. Over her years, Irene was a Bentleyville majorette, worked as a shoe salesperson for Haas Shoes in Charleroi, served as a Deputy Sheriff in Wyoming, and worked as a nanny in Georgia. Life for Ma had its ups and downs but she said that, after accepting Jesus as her Lord and Savior on Easter Sunday, 4/11/93, she began to know better how to live, Who (Jesus) to depend on, and how to accept and give His Love. She then became a member of St. John's Lutheran Church in N. Versailles where she faithfully served God as a kitchen coordinator, evangelism facilitator, and lovingly came alongside others in hard times as a Stephen Minister and also as a certified Red Cross Volunteer. One of her joys was helping children, working in the After-School Care program at St. John's and also alongside her daughter for the inner-city children program at City of Hope Church in Duquesne. Ma's life didn't necessarily get easier, especially her health; nevertheless, she persisted, having a goal to live to be 100 so she wouldn't waste her "new life." Ma endured her medical conditions and cancers with a warrior spirit and was an inspiration to many, including her family and friends, which also included her AHN Hospice team - Treasure, Dara, Leigh, Christa, and Amanda - all who helped her feel special and worthy when she doubted her worth. If you knew Ma, you knew she had a passion for the underdogs of the world or maybe better said the "undercats" because the feral cats she "adopted" and grew to greatly love continue to be a living testimony of her love.
Irene, a beloved mother, grandmother, sister, aunt and friend, is survived by her daughter Carol and son-in-law Vince DeUsanio of South Park; sons Randy Salay (fiancé Kristin Panzarella), Terry Salay (Cathy) of South Park; Joseph Salay, Ir. of McKeesport; granddaughters Toni Gardner, Rachael Salay, McKenna Salay, and Alicia Logan; grandsons Ryan Salay and Kingston Salay; stepdaughter Kelly Gunderman of Monroeville (Howard Wagle); sisters Lenny Basel and Fran Hohn; and nieces and nephews and many others who loved her dearly. She was preceded in death by her parents; her husbands Joseph Salay, Sr.. Robert Selvoski, and Melvin "Mike" Gunderman; sisters Diane "Dee" Luketich and Lucille Weis; and brothers Joseph, Walter and Chuck Pigeon.
A Celebration of Life Service will be held Monday, October 2, 2023, 11:00 a.m. at The Log Church, 1540 Roseberry Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15216. In lieu of flowers, according to "Ma's" wishes, memorial donations can be sent to either:
The Log Church, 1540 Roseberry Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15216
The Homeless Cat Management Team, P.O. Box 100203, Pittsburgh, PA 15233 (checks or Walmart, Petco, PetSmart gift cards)