Arthur Irwin passed away peacefully on January 7th, 2019. He led a full, active, and eclectic life. He was an energy consultant, professional musician, long-time CBC Maritime Noon home heating expert, photographer, journalist, ski enthusiast, volunteer in the community, and proud Yellow Labrador Retriever owner.
Born and raised in Sheet Harbour, Nova Scotia, son of Elmer and Marion (Turner) Irwin, he began his heating career on graduation from a three-year course in Heating & Ventilation Technology at the Halifax Regional Vocational School (1955). He was elected Head Boy, and received the Birks Medal on graduation. For twenty years, he was employed with wholesaler Wm. Stairs Son & Morrow Ltd., where he established and managed the Industrial Heating Department specializing in commercial heating equipment sales. For eighteen years, he was employed with the Department of Energy, Province of Nova Scotia, as a consultant and was involved in the development of many programs throughout the province.
For eight years, he was employed with heating equipment manufacturer and wholesaler, Kerr Controls Limited, acting as a consultant to their nine branches across Atlantic Canada.
In 2002, he established own consulting practice, Irwin Energy Consulting Services, within which he carried out energy assessments on new and existing structures including both building envelope and heating system.
He served on many committees including the National Research Council, Energy Mines and Resources Canada, Canadian Standards Board for twenty-seven years, Nova Scotia Homebuilders Technical Advisory Committee, The Combustion Research Laboratory, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Long Island, New York (Combustion Research for the US Dept of Energy). He developed and delivered many energy and commercial heating related courses in the US and Canada, including at Dalhousie University’s Continuing Education. He was a guest speaker at many energy and HVAC conferences across Canada. He wrote for several trade publications, and published many articles, including as recently as December 2018.
He joined the Halifax Chapter of The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers Inc. (ASHRAE) in 1965, and organization with now more than 55,000 members; he was President of the Halifax Chapter 2004-2005, received the Chapter Service Award 2009, and Awarded Life Membership in 1998. Later in January 2019, he will be awarded the ASHRAE Distinguished Fellow Award at the annual meeting in Atlanta, Georgia.
For twenty-nine years, he was a monthly guest on CBC Radio, Maritime Noon phone in show, answering energy related questions for callers across Atlantic Canada, and beyond.
A professional musician, he performed on radio, TV and in many dance bands as a percussionist. He had his own musical groups (Ensemble Plus, the Artie Irwin Trio), and played as part of groups with Cliff Ledger, Glen Sarty, Lloyd Peach, Erno Reti, and the Dixie Tech Seven. He was also a tenor in Halifax’s Swing Easy jazz choir under the direction of Cheryl McCarthy in the early 2000s, and was drummer and publicist for the Armdale Choir under Mary Dee Gerrior, and was part of Singalong Jubilee. He went to Toronto, and was successful in convincing Capital Records record the choir.
As a professional photographer, he enjoyed success in owning Irwin Photographic & Communications for 47 years. He was a graduate of the Kings College (Halifax) Public Relations program, and used his writing talents in many ways. For many years he was the official photographer for the Halifax Jazz Festival. He and Eileen travelled the world on 15 jazz cruises, on which he created a wide collection of photographs of world class musicians, including Oscar Peterson, Jimmy Heath, Martin Drew, Jeff Hamilton, Freddy Cole, Benny Golson, Clark Terry, Bud Shank, Carol Sloane, Joe Williams and many others. He even sat in on the occasional session with them.
Artie was the PR Chairman of the Canadian Ski Association in the seventies, is a Life Member of the Canadian Ski Hall of Fame and Museum, Past President of Ski Wentworth, and Director of the Wentworth Valley Development Company. He had many friends and fond memories of skiing in Nova Scotia, including giving ski lessons on the Ashburn golf course.
On a number of occasions, he was invited to Austria as a guest of their government, to write and photograph their beautiful scenery, foods, hotels, and the Austrian way of life. As a result of his work, in 1974, he was presented with the “Gold Medal of Honor and scroll for Outstanding Merits in the Field of Tourism”, by the Austrian government. He was the second person outside Europe to receive the award.
His photographs and articles were published in numerous newspapers and publications, including the Chicago Tribune. His photography and ski writing coverage included several World Cup Ski competitions in both Canada and Europe (including Kitzbühel), his weekly ski columns, travel page articles, and photographs have been carried in publications such as Ski Canada Journal, Alpine Skiing by Al Raine and Nancy Greene, Atlantic Advocate as well as other national newspapers.
He was very proud of being Vice President of Development for JazzEast Rising which has been organizing the Halifax Jazz Festival for thirty-one years, as well as being a Life Member of the Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron, and a Life Member of Heritage Trust of Nova Scotia. Among his many community volunteer activities, he was President of the Commercial Club of Halifax, President of the Halifax Bengal Lancers riding school, President of the Nova Scotia Equestrian Federation, Regional Chairperson for the Nova Scotia/Newfoundland Pony Club, National Director of the Canadian Pony Club, President of the Halifax Unit of the Canadian Cancer Society, Board Member of Veith House – Halifax Children’s Foundation, and Board Member of the Halifax Children’s Aid Society.
He is survived by his loving wife of 57 years Eileen (Dauphinee) Irwin, beloved daughter Anne Irwin of Halifax, sister Sheila (John) Rowand, Victoria, B.C, brother, Robert (Marion), Calgary, sister-in-law Joyce Boland, Vancouver, BC, sister-in-law Sharyn Dauphinee of Waverley, many cousins, nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his parents Elmer and Marion (Turner) Irwin of Sheet Harbour, NS, sister Barbara (Ron) Nickerson, Pleasantville, NS, sister-in-law Lalia Johnston, Halifax, and brother-in-law Charles W. (Chuck) Dauphinee. Cremation has taken place.
Many thanks to the Nova Scotia Cancer Care Program, the team at the QEII HSC Emergency Services Department, Dr. Nancy Morrison, Dr. Karsten Gehrig, and countless other medical and health team personnel for caring for Artie through the years.
A service will be held Sunday, January 13th at 2pm at the J.A. Snow Funeral Home, 339 Lacewood Drive, Halifax, B3K 3S5. A reception will follow at the Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron, Saraguay House location at 360 Purcells Cove Rd, Halifax from 3:30pm – 5:30pm. Please join us in celebrating Artie’s wonderful life.
Contributions in Artie’s memory can be made to the Saint Michaels & All Angels Anglican Church, P.O. Box 99, Sheet Harbour, N.S. BOJ 3BO, or to music education at the JazzEast Rising Association at PO Box 33043, Halifax, NS B3L 4T6, or a charity of your choice.