Irwin Zahn
Irwin Zahn November 16, 2021 San Diego, CA
Irwin Zahn died on November 16, 2021 at the age of 95 at home in San Diego. He approached the world with an insatiable curiosity and joy in discovery, and lived that way until his death.
The son of Nathan and Bessie (Dorfman) Zahnstecher, Irwin grew up in New York City, one of four brothers. He graduated from Stuyvesant High School in 1944 and earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from the City College of New York in 1948. In 2016 he received an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from San Diego State University.
Irwin's journey as an entrepreneur began in 1954 in New York City, where he founded the General Staple Company, later renamed Autosplice, Inc. Over the next 57 years, Autosplice grew into a global manufacturing company with operations in nine countries; Irwin was awarded 20 patents for his inventions in interconnect technology.
At the age of 84, his desire to nurture a new generation of innovators led to the creation of the Moxie Foundation. For a decade, the Foundation invested in organizations and leaders making big bets to build a better world, notably at the City College of New York, San Diego State University, and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in San Diego.
Irwin was an avid traveler, poet, golfer, and lifelong learner. He was pre-deceased by his second wife, Florence earlier this year. He is survived by his children: Karen Paterson, Peter (Rachel) Zahn, and Ellen Waddell; grandchildren Daniel (Cheyenne) Neukomm, Sam, Max, and Nora Zahn, and Kate and Eli Waddell; step grandchildren Christian (Gemma Hammond) Paterson; great-grandchildren Charlotte, Mackenzie, and Wyatt Neukomm, and Lilia and Amber Paterson.
A private burial was held on November 21, 2021 in New York. Irwin requested this epitaph on his headstone: "I'd rather be in San Diego".
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made in his name to the Jewish Community Foundation of San Diego, 4950 Murphy Canyon Rd., San Diego, CA 92123.

Published by San Diego Union-Tribune on Nov. 26, 2021.
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For me and my late husband, Fran... Irwin was always been a shining star and a very SPECIAL person. Fran and Irwin shared the love of business, engineering, and both making the world a better place. AND THEY BOTH ACCOMPLISHED THAT!!! The world is better because Fran and Irwin were in it. His love of life, beauty, music, culture, traveling, and making MOMENTS....that is how I will remember and miss him the most! A beautiful soul has left us, but he always gave a part of that beautiful soul to all he loved. So we, now, are the lucky ones! I will miss you my dear friend, and you will never be forgotten! Wendy
Wendy Powell
December 1, 2021
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