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ERIC IRWIN  Obituary pic

ERIC IRWIN

Born: Sep 06, 1955

Date of Passing: Nov 24, 2017

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ERIC IRWIN On November 24, 2017, Eric Brock Irwin passed away suddenly at the age of 62. His spirit will live on in his family through his wife Kim, his sons Sean and Ryan, his daughter Erica, and his brothers David and Keith. It will also live on with his friends from down the road and around the world, and his community, for whom he served with passion and dedication. Eric was born on September 6, 1955 in Neepawa, Manitoba. He faced tragedy early in life and lost his mother at the age of two. At the age of three, Eric was adopted by Lloyd and Margaret Irwin of Isabella, Manitoba. He was the oldest of three brothers. He grew up on their small family farm where he developed a deep love for sports and competition, playing hockey and running track and field during his high school years. After graduation he attended his parents Alma Matter, Brandon University, where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts in history. Eric then went to the University of Manitoba to study law. Perhaps most importantly, while there he was the quarterback of the law school's football team, and led them, on a snowy day in 1978, to the University of Manitoba intramural championship. Eric and Kim met in the winter of 1978 and were married on May 4, 1979. After the wedding they promptly left for Europe on a six-week honeymoon. It was their first adventure together, but not their last. The trip kindled a life long passion for travel and exploration that over the years took them to the great cities of the Far East, to the azure waters of the Caribbean, to the rocky cliffs of the Mediterranean, to the historic cities of Great Britain, and to the bustling metropolises of the United States, among many others. Upon their return from their honeymoon they moved to Dauphin, Manitoba. Eric began his legal career articling at the legal aid society. In 1980 he started his own practice and established the business that is now located in the city's downtown. An ever-passionate advocate for workers, farmers, and building community, he ran for the New Democratic Party in the federal election of 1988. He lost that race, but not the drive to make people's lives and their community a little bit better. Eric is famous for being a tireless volunteer and community builder. One of the first organizations Eric became involved with was the Dauphin Consumer's Co-Op. Shortly after joining the board of directors in 1982 he became its president. This was a position he held until his passing, a tenure that made him the longest serving president of a Co-Op district in the federal organization's long history. As president he played an instrumental role in growing the organization into the cornerstone of the community that it is today. He took great pride in guiding the expansion of the Co-Op's products and services over the years, as well as the new gas bars and, most recently, the new food store, which he regularly boasted was "the real deal". Another of Eric's great passions was Countryfest, for which he served as the volunteer president for over 30 years. Inspired by his love of music and community, he was a driving force behind making Countryfest what it is today, the longest running, most beautiful, most community driven country music festival in the country. For the last 20 years the festival brought the greatest country music artists of the day to the small city of Dauphin, doubling its size for a weekend. The artists didn't always know how to pronounce the name, or how to find the place, but many fell in love with the small city, its picturesque setting, and its people who projected an energy unlike anywhere else. Not only was Eric proud of the success of the festival, but also of what it meant for building the community and the region. Countryfest has supported the construction of the Dauphin Recreation Centre, the Countryfest Community Cinema, and has provided countless donations to dozens of community organizations over the years. The next time you are at Countryfest, take a moment to look out over the crowd. Look at the thousands of people singing along to one of the greatest musicians of our time, and think of Eric. Eric's drive to build the city of Dauphin and improve the lives of its residents led him to serve as a city councillor from 1998 until 2002. At the time he fought passionately for the construction of the new city hall and for the restoration of the beautiful and historic CN building. In 2010 he ran and was elected mayor, and in 2014 was re-elected by acclamation. His priority was to raise the quality of life of Dauphin's residents. This included city beautification projects, improvements to city parks, increasing efficiency, and lowering taxes. Eric believed that Dauphin was "the greatest little city on earth." Eric had many other accomplishments that gave him great pride and joy. He was a Rotarian for over 30 years and a Paul Harris Fellow. He was a life bencher of the law society of Manitoba. He was an award winning Irish whiskey taster, a Master-Angler, a karaoke king, a scuba diver, and a man who touched the lives of people near and far. In short, he was a force of nature. Needless to say, fully capturing Eric's life, with all its grandness and dynamism, is not possible here. Many people know Eric for his passion and dedication to the community of Dauphin, but he was also a family man without peer. He spent countless hours in rinks and hotels coaching and supporting his son Sean as he played hockey across Manitoba and Saskatchewan. He also relished their annual father-son fishing trip to remote Northern Manitoba, a tradition that they carried out for over 15 years and which continued right up to this past spring. With Ryan he was a giant. Whether it was playing for hours on the floor, going out for lunches, throwing rocks in the canal, or cozying up together on the couch every Christmas morning to open presents, Eric meant the world to Ryan, and in turn Ryan meant the world to him. Erica was his little girl and he was her hero. Whether they were having their Friday night debate session, going on trips to the garbage dump on the weekend, or spending lazy summer days in the boat fishing, they did countless activities together. Their greatest adventures happened at home in Dauphin but also around the world where they were able to share their passion for travelling. In every person's life there is a someone who provides the love, support, encouragement, and sometimes frank advice that is needed to keep one's eye on the horizon. For Eric that person was his wife Kim. Eric's accomplishments are hers as well, for without her he would have not had a guiding light. A celebration of Eric's life will take place at one of his favourite places to laugh and play, the Credit Union Place hockey rink in Dauphin, Manitoba. It will be on Saturday, December 9 at 2:00 p.m. Everyone is more than welcome. In lieu of flowers, a donation may be made to the Dauphin and District Community Foundation in memory of Eric Irwin.

As published in Winnipeg Free Press on Dec 05, 2017

Condolences & Memories (2 entries)

  • Eric Irwin was a true Renaissance man. He was cosmopolitan, inquisitive, thoughtful and always industrious. He thought globally, exlored and exprienced the larger world we live in , and acted locally with immense impact. He is the gold standard for community leadership. We have never met anyone with his phenomenal energy which enabled him to successfully pursue a very broad range of interests , activities and projects. The extended Parasiuk family on the West Coast have always been close to Eric, Kim, Sean, Ryan and Erica in spite of our having moved west from Winnipeg some 30 years ago. We know how close they were, and are, as a family. We extend to them our deepest sympathy and condolences. We will miss him, as will his community. Wilma and Wilson Parasiuk - Posted by: Wilma and Wilson Parasiuk (Aunt and Uncle) on: Dec 07, 2017

  • Thanks to Eric and Kim for taking me under their wing when I was a reporter for the Dauphin Herald way back in 1980-82, inviting me to their rustic home just outside Dauphin or dragging me to the drive-in on a summer evening when the downtown theatre closed. In those days Eric was the scruffiest lawyer in the courthouse and proud of it, and the most spirited. I remember his rough-and-ready manner, his sardonic wit and readiness to share a joke or make fun of himself over countless lunches after court at Boston Pizza. I recall his deep commitment to his many Aboriginal clients and to social causes reflected in his run for the NDP nomination in 1981. I wish now I had kept in touch with Eric over the years - the last time I saw him was after I returned to Montreal and he came down to catch an Expos game. He was a good friend even in the short time our paths crossed and I'm sorry I missed the best of his years as true hero to the community of Dauphin. My condolences to Kim and the rest of the family. Ted - Posted by: Ted Wakefield (Friend) on: Dec 06, 2017

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