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Irene Kerwin

Irene Kerwin

Irene Kerwin

Irene Kerwin

Irene Kerwin

Profile Information

  • Maiden Name:
  • Nickname: Pepper
  • Hometown: Peoria, IL (US)
  • Throwing Hand: Right
  • Batting Hand: Right
  • Born: November 3, 1925
  • Died: November 29, 2023

Irene KerwinHistory

Team Position Uniform #
1949 Peoria Redwings First Base 16

Helen Irene “Pepper” Kerwin, Nov. 3, 1925 – Nov. 29, 2023 

Helen Irene “Pepper” Kerwin, age 98, passed away on Monday, November 27, 2023, at Carle Health Methodist Hospital in Peoria, IL.
Irene was born on November 3, 1925, in Peoria, a daughter of Daniel and Minnie (Spresser) Kerwin. She is survived by two nieces, Eileen Hobin and Joan Hartman; great-niece, Cheri Beever; and great-nephew, Dan Semlow; as well as many more great-nieces and nephews.

Irene was preceded in death by two sisters, Ruth Kenner and Ethel Judd; three brothers, Everett, Bernard and Lloyd Kerwin; and her dear friend, Colleen Byrnes.

She graduated from Illinois State University with a Bachelor’s degree and went on to teach Physical Education in the greater Peoria area for over 25 years. Irene played professional baseball for the Peoria Red Wings in 1949, and later for the Chicago Blue Birds through 1953. She also played amateur softball for the Caterpillar Dieselettes, beginning in 1944; the team later became the Sunnyland Lettes, then the famed Pekin Lettes, and she played with them off and on for over 20 years.

Irene was honored to be a member of the Greater Peoria Sports Hall of Fame and the ISU Sports Hall of Fame. After she retired from teaching, she participated in the Senior Olympics in the Midwest for over 30 years, winning hundreds of medals.

She was an avid bicyclist. Irene also enjoyed traveling, taking many trips to Ireland and Western Europe with Colleen. And there wasn’t a single garage sale she could ever pass up!

Irene was a member of St. Philomena Catholic Church. Visitation was from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday, December 3, 2023, at Wright & Salmon Mortuary. A funeral Mass was held at St. Philomena Church on Monday, December 4, 2023, at 10 a.m., with a half-hour prior visitation. Fr. Daniel Dionesotes officiate and burial followed at St. Mary’s Cemetery in West Peoria.

In lieu of flowers, memorials in Irene’s name, may be made to the Peoria Historical Society, 611 SW Washington St., Peoria, IL 61602.
Friends and family are encouraged to log onto to sign the online guestbook, submit photos and share Irene’s memorial page via social media.

Funeral arrangements were made under the direction and care of Wright & Salmon Mortuary, 309-688-4441.


Author: Unknown

Contributed By: Carol Sheldon

Copyright: Published in Peoria Journal Star Nov. 29, 2023:

LeagueBatting Record

1949 27 73 2 10 0 0 0 1 2 7 12 .137

Irene KerwinPhoto & Video Album

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