Donald Irvine

Obituary of Donald Fredrick Irvine

(July 31, 1934 – August 3, 2022)

London, Ontario

We are sad to announce that our father, the Reverend Dr. Donald Fredrick Irvine, died at Parkwood Palliative Care in London, Ontario on August 3, 2022.

Our dad was a radio telegraph operator, letter press aficionado, dedicated calligrapher, swimmer of laps, rider of bikes, chief chef of his famous Texas two-alarm chili, and professor of philosophy and theology. Donald was the much-loved husband of the late Joyce Jaqueline Jean (nee Reid), father to Karl Fredrick (Vicki Burns), Kathryn Elizabeth, and Peter Andrew (Emily Drake) and the proud grandfather to Benjamin and Hannah.

Donald spent his formative years in East Hastings, Vancouver B.C. We are grateful for his enduring friendship with Paul Birch and his family who so graciously offered hope for a different life – one with new understandings of family, of a university education and the possibility of love. After an epic journey as a teenager from B.C., Don found his way to Ontario where he met Joyce at Toronto Bible College. He was ordained an Anglican priest and completed his doctoral work in philosophy. Under the mentorship of former principal John Grant Morden, Donald Irvine began a varied and interesting career at Huron College as a young professor of philosophy and theology, later as Dean of Theology, and sometime workshop facilitator for ethics in purchasing management with the Ivey Business School. 

We admired Dad as he grew older. Upon his retirement, he commenced graduate studies in Theology at Wilfred Laurier where he was awarded a gold medal for his work, a feat he frequently and gleefully mentioned to his children. He read philosophy — again. Later, he studied Greek because he felt it was important to read the bible in the language in which it was written.

Don pursued the passions that gave a spark to his life. His pursuit of a relationship with God took him in many directions. When questioned about his interest in evangelical writers he said, “I want to know God.” To his final days he believed in the power of prayer and reported that often his prayers were answered.

Dad believed in connecting and listening for the genuine in others as well as himself. He had a knack for making others — even his negligent children — feel important. 

Perhaps the practice he held most dear was meeting in small groups with others who, like him, sought something deeper, more personal, and meaningful from life. For dad this was the real work of the church. We children were fortunate to get a small taste of that.

We’re only now getting a sense of the dense web of close friends and connections our dad was a part of in his time here, and we take great comfort in getting to meet you or continuing our connection.

We know that our dad, Donald Fredrick Irvine, was loved, and he will be long remembered.

To share a memory or send condolences, please visit Woodland Cemetery.

No flowers please. Rather, it would tickle him, and serve the relationship he had with all of you, if instead you would join with friends over coffee or dinner to tell stories, share memories, prayers, and blessings, and reflect on a life lived and have some laughs.

If you want to part with some of your hard-earned money, a worthy donation can be made online to Parkwood Palliative Care by visiting  St Joseph’s health Care Foundation and designate Palliative Care in the area of care.

The Reverend Dr. Andrew Fullerton, in cahoots with Reverend Canon Dr. Bob Wright, will lead a service for Donald Irvine at Elmwood Presbyterian Church at 111 Elmwood Avenue, London, Ontario on Saturday August 20, 2002, at 11am. Please dress comfortably.

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