Cover photo for Irene Bayorek Tesfai's Obituary
1941 Irene Bayorek Tesfai 2022

Irene Bayorek Tesfai

November 1, 1941 — August 2, 2022

Irene “Rene” Tesfai passed away at the age of 80 on August 2, 2022. Rene was born on November 1, 1941 in Yonkers, New York, and was raised in Croton-on-Hudson, New York, the eldest daughter of Stanley and Genevieve Bayorek.
Rene’s love of travel and adventure began at an early age. Upon graduation from Marywood College in Scranton, PA, she spent two years serving in the Peace Corps in Ethiopia, where she met the love of her life. After returning to the States, Rene and Ahferom were married and settled in Columbus, Ohio.

Reni worked at The Ohio State University in the Department of Geodetic Science for 30 years, serving as a graduate program coordinator for most of her tenure. She was a friend, mentor, and like a family member to many international students, helping them learn English and acclimate to a new culture. Many of these students became close friends whom Rene would later visit in her travels to their home countries.

Reenie was a devoted member of the St. Thomas More Newman Center, served by the Paulist Fathers, and a supporter of their mission. She enjoyed attending centering prayer every week, led by Fr. Vinny McKiernan. She was active in Lydia’s House and The Merton Group, religious study groups through which she made numerous lifelong friendships. Her love of God and spiritual practice and study expanded far beyond her traditional Catholic upbringing. Prayer, meditation, and spiritual reflection were part of her daily routine.

Reny was a dedicated docent at the Wexner Center for the Arts for close to 20 years. Anyone who went on a tour of the museum with her will remember how much fun and excitement she brought to the exhibits. Rene was not only a lover of art, she was also a creator of beautiful dot art works that were often gifted to friends and family. It was always a treat to get mail from Rene with an envelope that was decorated to reflect something that was personal to the recipient. She entered her work in the OSU Faculty and Staff Art Show on several occasions, and received the President’s Choice Award in 1995 and the Vice President’s Award in 1997.

Renie was a voracious reader and a beloved member of the Whetstone Library Book Club for decades. She instilled a love of reading and a pursuit of knowledge in her children. Her house was filled with books on art, religion, travel, origami, cooking, health, and countless novels and biographies.

Rini was a loving mother who would light up with excitement any time her children called or visited. She instilled in them a love of learning which extended to her curiosity about their interests. She taught by example how to be kind, patient, gracious and forgiving.

Renee is survived by her sister, Terry Bayorek, and her son and daughter, Michael and Susan. She was preceded in death by her parents, Genevieve and Stanley Bayorek.

Rene will be honored in a celebration of life from 12:30-4:00 on Sunday, September 24 at the Park of Roses Shelter House, 3901 N High St, Columbus, OH 43214. Rene liked to dress in brightly colored clothing and jewelry and her artwork also reflected her love of color. Please take this to heart when choosing your attire.

To attend the event via Zoom, please email Susan at to receive an invitation link with additional details.

To order memorial trees in memory of Irene Bayorek Tesfai, please visit our tree store.


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