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ALAN EMORY IRWIN

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ALAN EMORY IRWIN Obituary
ALAN EMORY IRWIN - ESSEX JUNCTION - Alan Emory Irwin, M.D., 66, passed away at his home in Essex Junction, on April 7, 2012, following a long battle with appendix cancer. He was born in Burlington to Edward Suter Irwin and the late Virginia Norris Irwin. He graduated from Burlington High School in 1963 and Magna Cum Laude from the University of Vermont in 1967 as a member of Phi Beta Kappa. In 1971, he received his Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Vermont College of Medicine. He continued his medical training with an internship at the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond, Va., and an ophthalmology residency at The Wills Eye Hospital in Philadelphia, which he completed in 1977. Between his internship and residency, he served for two years in the United States Air Force as a general medical officer. Dr. Irwin returned to Burlington in 1977 to practice ophthalmology and teach at the University of Vermont College of Medicine. At that time, he joined Surgical Associates, which later became the University Health Center and finally Fletcher Allen Health Care. His entire career was dedicated to the care of his patients in the Burlington area and beyond, and to the education of the future physicians who would follow him. He especially valued the friendship and loyalty of his colleagues in ophthalmology, the staff and those he called his "ATeam." He is survived by his wife of 43 years, Joanne Hilbert Irwin of Essex Junction; and his father, Dr. Edward Suter Irwin of Burlington. His three children and their spouses also survive him. They are Bonnie Irwin Royal and her husband, Paul Worden Royal, of Exeter, N.H., Brian Hilbert Irwin, M.D. and his wife, Jeanne Hayden Irwin, of Shelburne, and David Michael Irwin and his girlfriend, Dawn Williams, of Burlington. He is also survived by his grandchildren, Andrew Suter Ward Royal and Samuel Cooper Royal both of Exeter, N.H.,and Fisher James Irwin and Gwenyth Hayden Irwin of Shelburne; as well as his aunt, Lily E. Thorpe of Venice, Fla.; his cousins, Karen Bettina Gelakoski and Robert Gelakoski of St. Petersburg, Fla., and Karin and Emil Gertsch of Essex, Mass. Alan was a longtime member of the First Congregational Church in Essex Junction. He was also Troop Committee Chairperson for Boy Scout Troop 635 for over ten years and served as the District Eagle Scout Project Approval Chairman. An avid railroad fan, photographer, historian and modeler, Alan was a longtime member of the National Railway Historical Society and also a founding member and former president of the Central Vermont Railway Historical Society. When a train of interest was coming on the tracks, he had his "spies" who contacted him so he could get out a take pictures. Some of these pictures have been published in books, magazines and railroad calendars. Music also played a pivotal role in his life. It was at the University of Vermont Summer Music Session for High School Students that he met his wife, Joanne. They spent many years playing together in musical organizations. He was an accomplished amateur tuba and low brass player. Alan played for about 30 years in the Vermont Wind Ensemble and several years with the University of Vermont Orchestra. He also enjoyed participating as a member of the Green Mountain Brass and Hinesburg Community Bands. He played in a brass quintet which brought him much joy and counted its members as among his best friends. Alan cherished the summers he spent at the family lakeside camp at Spaldings West Shore in Colchester. He loved the close knit West Shore community and the opportunities that camp gave the family for relaxed hours of old fashioned fun. His favorite place in the world was the chair in the corner of the patio at sunset time. Another of his great pleasures was travel. Among his favorite trips was a 2010 trip with his wife to Australia and New Zealand. In 2011, he fulfilled a longtime dream by taking a trip with all three of his children and two of his grandsons to Great Britain and Wales to tour castles and watch the Changing of the Guard. He always made seeing family and friends a priority with his travel and always treasured coming home to his beloved Vermont. Alan was many things to many people. He was doctor, teacher, colleague friend and mentor to many. He was Pop to his children and Pop-pop to his grandchildren. He was beloved husband and best friend to Joanne. He took much pride in the accomplishments of his children and often said that his grandchildren were the light of his life. The family would like to thank all those who took such good care of him during his illness. Special thanks go to the Dr. Marc Greenblatt, Janet Ely, Jean Fey and all of the nurses and staff at the Hematology/Oncology Infusion Center at Fletcher Allen Healthcare. Visiting hours will be held Friday, April 13, 2012, from 5 to 7 p.m. at Corbin and Palmer Funeral Home at 9 Pleasant St. in Essex Junction. A service in celebration of his life will be held Saturday, April 14, 2012, at 4 p.m., at the First Congregational Church of Essex Junction at 39 Main St. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that contributions be made to the Vermont Land Trust (www.vlt.org) at 8 Bailey Ave., Montpelier, VT 05602; or to COTS - Committee on Temporary Shelter (www.cotsonline.org) at P.O. Box 1616, Burlington, VT 05402.

Published in The Burlington Free Press on Apr. 11, 2012
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