Irene Widen Imbrogno

March 30, 2021

CHARLOTTE – Irene “Rene” Widen Imbrogno, 89, died peacefully on Tuesday, March 30, 2021 in the Stewart Health Center at The Cypress of Charlotte surrounded by her children.  She was born on April 15, 1931 in Salem, Massachusetts and was the daughter of the late Robert Juno and Alice Goodhue Widen.  Rene graduated from high school in Williamston, MA in 1949 and from Middlebury College in Vermont in 1953.

Rene and her late husband, Lou, lived in Lynchburg, Virginia for over forty years.  Prior to that time, she lived in St. Louis, Missouri and Columbus, Ohio and most recently, lived at the Cypress of Charlotte.

Rene’s faith was deep.  She was a life-long Episcopalian and was an active member of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Lynchburg and Christ Church in Charlotte.

Rene was a loving wife and mother and was devoted to the care of her family and loved spending time with her eight grandchildren.  She also was deeply committed to serving others and found joy and purpose in giving back to her community.  Rene fed the hungry for twenty-two years at Lynchburg Daily Bread and received a volunteer award for her long-time service to the organization.  She worked with youth as a Big Sister for over fifteen years and was Big Sister of the Year in 1991 for the Carolinas/Virginias Region of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. Rene served on the altar guild of St. John’s Episcopal for twenty years.  She also ministered to a disabled couple in Lynchburg, providing groceries, transportation, financial guidance, and companionship for over twenty years.

Rene lived an active and vibrant life.  She competed on the ski team while an undergraduate at Middlebury College.  Rene loved to walk and exercise and did so every day until her stroke four years ago.  She also loved tennis and golf, and enjoyed playing with her husband, children, grandchildren and friends.  Later in life she traveled the world with her family; she traipsed across Rome with her children and grandchildren trailing behind, whitewater rafted in Canada for her 80th birthday, and at the age of 83 she hiked Machu Picchu.

Rene is survived by her four children, Fred Imbrogno and his wife, Debbie Elsinger, Lou Imbrogno and his wife, Alison, Ed Imbrogno and his wife, Annette and Marci Imbrogno and her husband, L. D. Simmons; eight grandchildren, Zack Imbrogno and his wife, Maxxe Sternbaum, Michael Imbrogno, Ginny Imbrogno, Jayne Anne Imbrogno, Eddie Imbrogno, Grace Lee Simmons and her husband, Eric Sachs, Andy Simmons and Will Simmons.  She is also survived by her sister, Lee Pittenger and brothers, Bob Widen and his wife, Denise and Butch Widen and his wife, Sylvia and their loving families.  Rene was preceded in death by her husband, Louis Imbrogno and her sister, Alice.

The family offers special thanks to the staff at the Stewart Health Center, especially Catherine Obi and Saty Jagdeo, who provided attentive and compassionate nursing care during Rene’s four years there.  Additionally, we would like to thank the CNA staff who went above and beyond to lovingly care for Rene and Rose Hargrove who cared for her with kindness and love during the pandemic.  The dedicated staff at Hospice & Palliative Care Charlotte Region was invaluable, and Lisa Falkner and Jill Martino cared for Rene like family.

The family also is very appreciative of the loyal friendship of Joan Hornaday and the kind letters she tirelessly and faithfully wrote to Rene which always brought her a smile.

A service to celebrate Rene’s life will be held at 11:00 AM on Saturday, June 19, 2021 at Christ Church, 1412 Providence Road, Charlotte, NC 28207.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in Rene’s memory to Hospice and Palliative Care Charlotte Region, PO Box 470408, Charlotte, NC 28247 or Lynchburg Daily Bread, 721 Clay St. Lynchburg, VA 24504 (

Arrangements are in the care of Kenneth W. Poe Funeral & Cremation Service, 1321 Berkeley Ave., Charlotte, NC 28204; (704) 641-7606. Online condolences can be shared at

Share your memories & condolences


  • Meecy Carmichael

    My family & I had the privilege of getting to know Irene when she became a close friend to our father, Charles Carmichael, at The Cypress. She was a lovely lady!