FORMER Orange Ex-Services’ Club president Terry Irwin was a man who did ordinary things extraordinarily well, according to Father Paul Devitt.
Mourners packed St Joseph’s Church yesterday to commemorate the life of Mr Irwin who died last Thursday aged 89.
Members of the 1st/19th Battalion Royal NSW Regiment, Mr Irwin’s former unit, carried his casket from the church and RSL members formed a guard of honour to commemorate their life member.
Mr Irwin rose to the rank of chief radiographer during his career at the Orange Base Hospital, while also active in the RSL and Orange Ex-Services’ Club (OESC).
Father Devitt paid tribute to Mr Irwin and said he was instrumental in having the names of fallen servicemen and women engraved on the cenotaph in Robertson Park.
Friend and former military colleague Roger Perry reflected on Mr Irwin’s lengthy military career starting in 1943 when he joined the CMF (Citizen Military Forces), the precursor to the Army Reserve, aged 19.
“We can be sad to think we won’t see his smile again or benefit from his wisdom and knowledge, but that’s our loss, or we can be greatful for having known Terry Irwin,” Mr Perry said at the funeral.
Mr Irwin served in Morotai and Borneo during World War II.
During a break from military service he married his wife Beryl and had three children Sharon, Peter and Debbie, but his love of all things military was only in suspension, Mr Perry said.
Mr Irwin later re-enlisted and served until 1973 when he retired from active service.
Friend and former Ex-Services’ Club auditor Derek Pigot spoke about Mr Irwin’s family life, his wife, three children and 11 grandchildren and the contribution he made to turn the club’s finances around as president.
“I admired his strength and leadership,” he said.
Mr Pigot recalled an anecdote from Mrs Irwin about the couple’s honeymoon where Mr Irwin took his dog on the lengthy car journey from Cowra to Melbourne and returned from the holiday with two new pets - another dog and a budgerigar in the newlyweds’ tiny two-seater car.
Mr Irwin was recognised with a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for his exemplary military service in 1966 and in 1997 received an Order of Australia Medal (OAM) for his work in the community.