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“Irene was a wonderful Lady she will always be in my heart. ”
1 of 10 | Posted by: Sue Schupska - Madison, OH

“Aunt Irene was one of the most amazing women i have ever had the chance of knowing. I spent a lot of my childhood and early adulthood at her house,...Read More »
2 of 10 | Posted by: Abigail Petry - Perry

“We loved Aunt Irene she was the best neighbor ever. You are walking the streets of Heaven today with all your doggies. Debby and the Petry kids ”
3 of 10 | Posted by: Debby Cattell - Painesville, OH

“To Irene's family,A wonderful woman who was very inspiring in helping our troops! I am blessed for having known her. ”
4 of 10 | Posted by: Jane Riel Stange - Painesville, OH

“Ma Silliman you are the best there's a lot of use will never forget you.May you RIP. ”
5 of 10 | Posted by: Bruce&Barb Murphy - Mentor, OH

“I had the honor of knowing Irene and sharing her dream to ensure that our American service members deployed overseas would never be forgotten. I...Read More »
6 of 10 | Posted by: Patricia-Lee Pirog - Flat Rock, NC

“my sympathies to irenes family..she was a very caring lady....she contributed immensely to our military men & women..may she rest in peace... ”
7 of 10 | Posted by: sue

“God bless you at this difficult time. Know that you are all in my prayers. May God grant you all the strength you need. ”
8 of 10 | Posted by: Kathy Nikula - Tenino, WA

“The Ladies of the Madison V.F.W. 8548 will miss Irene,she was always there to give us a helping hand, a lot of our service welcomed her Toastie Toes...Read More »
9 of 10 | Posted by: A friend

“Goodbye good friend. Rest in peace with your Bob, Denny and Linda. You will be missed by many. ”
10 of 10 | Posted by: A friend


Irene Silliman, age 87, of Madison, Ohio, passed away Thursday, February 21, 2013 at Cardinal Woods Skilled Nursing and Rehab in Madison, Ohio. She was born January 5, 1926 in Champaign, Illinois to Matilda (Hettinger) & Sam Meeks.

Irene was the original founder of Operation Toasty Toes. She began the organization in 1997, when a grandson serving in the U.S. Navy requested her homemade slippers for he and his shipmates. She started knitting slippers and recruited her friends to help. From there, the organization has grown today to 21 Chapters across the United States and Canada. In 1998 she was honored in the U.S. House of Representatives by Congressmen Dennis Kucinich and Steven LaTourette as a "true patriot" devoted to her country and the well-being of our servicemen and women. She had also been employed and active at the Perry Outdoor YMCA Center. Irene enjoyed traveling to flea markets with her husband selling her jewelry creations.

She is survived by sons, Richard (Kay Kindice) Ward of Chagrin Falls, Robert (Trudy) Ward of Austinburg; 8 Grandchildren; 4 Great Grandchildren; sister, Jackie Fassaso of Chicago; many close friends, and "Tommy-Boy."

She was preceded in death by 1st husband, Ernest Ward Jr.; 2nd husband, Robert Silliman; daughter, Linda Ward; son, Dennis Ward; her parents; 1 brother, and 2 sisters.

No visitation will be observed. A memorial service will be held at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Hospice of the Western Reserve, 17876 St. Clair Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44110-2602.

The Behm Family Funeral Homes, 26 River Street, Madison, Ohio is entrusted with arrangements.