Irene Colby, a longtime resident of Pittsfield, died peacefully at her home on Monday, April 15, one week short of her 96th birthday. Born in New York City on April 23, 1923, she was the daughter of Shepard and Rose Berger.
Mrs. Colby settled in Pittsfield more than 70 years ago with her husband, Dr. Raymond Colby, who practiced medicine for more than 40 years before retiring in 1987. She also spent a number of winters with Dr. Colby in Highland Beach and Delray Beach, Florida.
Married for 72 years, Mrs. Colby was devoted to her husband in every way. After he retired and his health declined from debilitating surgery, she was by his side virtually every moment with loving care and encouragement. She also was a generous, attentive mother and grandmother who was always available to share her opinion and provide advice.
Mrs. Colby was an active member of the Berkshire District Medical Society Women’s Auxiliary and did volunteer work at the Berkshire Medical Center. As a member of Temple Anshe Amunim’s congregation, she joined Hadassah and the Temple Sisterhood.
World travel was one of Mrs. Colby’s greatest pleasures and she and Dr. Colby toured extensively, visiting all the continents with the exception of Antarctica. Until Parkinson’s disease took its toll, she stayed physically active playing golf and tennis at the Pittsfield Country Club. In her later years, she and Dr. Colby took frequent walks together around her neighborhood and in town, always hand and hand. One of her favorite pastimes was bridge, which she played for as long as she possibly could, earning numerous Masterpoints.
Mrs. Colby was fortunate to have her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren living close by for all her life; they are comforted by wonderful memories of holidays, celebrations and time spent together. She is survived by her two daughters and their spouses, Ellen and Joseph Fabino of Pittsfield and Jill and Donald Shulman of Boston. She also leaves five grandchildren all of whom reside in Massachusetts: Robert Fabino of Methuen; Amy Michael (with her husband Stephen) of Concord; Christopher Fabino (with his wife Heidi) of Lenox; Alex Shulman of Brookline; and Lydia Shulman of
Stockbridge; and five great grandchildren. Her family will be eternally grateful to her longtime caregivers for their skills and exceptional devotion, and the compassionate assistance from hospice during her final weeks. She will be missed by all who loved her.
In lieu of flowers, friends may make donations to the Parkinson’s Foundation or an organization of their choosing, in care of the Devanny-Condron Funeral Home, 40 Maplewood Ave. Pittsfield, MA 01201.