Ian Irwin was a ‘man of true grit’

The late Mr Ian Irwin
The late Mr Ian Irwin

A quiet man of great character and understated style. A resilient businessman of true grit who always put family first. The late Ian Irwin has left a huge legacy in business and to the community he loved.

Such was his tenacity, resilience and grit, Mr Irwin had to rebuild his business four times from scratch because of a variety of setbacks.

Born on December 17, 1946 to Robert Alexander (Alec) and Elizabeth Rachel (Bessie) Irwin in Dollingstown, William Henry Ian Irwin was the middle child. His older siblings are Gordon and Margaret and younger sisters Helen and Rosemary (Rosie).

He attended Maralin Primary School and Lurgan Model Primary School before attending Portadown College.

His son Richard revealed his father, when referring to his school days, often made the joke that he and Rory Best shared a common bond of both playing hooker for the First 15 at Portadown College.

He won a Sir Richard Arkwright scholarship and studied textile engineering at Leeds University.

On graduating, he returned home and in 1968 he started a new wing of the family business.

It was a textile dyeing business in Portadown supplying fabrics to the Broomhill family business.

He greatly developed that side of the business and ran it until his retirement in 2012.

Apart from being a businessman, Mr Irwin was very involved in church life and was well known for his generosity, quietly giving support to many people throughout his life.

Though a very successful businessman, he was a humble man who treated everyone equally and lived out his faith in the way he treated others with respect, compassion and fairness.

His children recall a happy childhood and a loving and peaceful family home.

He and his much-loved wife Dorothy, were a great team who loved nothing more than welcoming friends and family.

Mr Irwin was a highly educated man with a deep intellect and a quick wit.

He saw business as a challenge - not just to make money but a creative and productive pursuit.

He understood the value of gainful employment, and his employees remember him with great affection as a kind man who cared about them as people.

Indeed, at a recent Thanksgiving service in his memory, there were many accounts of his quiet generosity, including those who said ‘he put a roof over my head’.

His life was business and family and was a very dedicated grandfather to his 11 grandchildren who regarded him as fun-loving and playful.

In his heyday in the 1990s, he employed around 150 people and to this day the firm employs 100 staff.

He was successful because he built a business to last and made extremely prudent business decisions. He was a master of his craft.

They had four children Katie, Richard, David and Jenny.

Mr Irwin passed away on July 1 at his home ‘Perrymount’ Waringstown after which there was a Service of Thanksgiving in Magheralin Parish Church on July 4.

His passing is deeply regretted by his sorrowing wife, daughters, sons, sons-in-law David and Andrew, daughters-in-law Emma and Chrissy and grandchildren Jacob, Joel, Jonny, Kara, Robbie, Hope, Ben, Luca, Ruby-Grace, Leo and Anna.