Albert Edmund Irwin

Ab was born August 7, 1914 in Plumas, MB and completed his schooling there. He began working around the area, mainly as a farm laborer until the outbreak of WW II. In 1941 he travelled to Winnipeg to enlist in the Canadian navy and was posted to Victoria for training (on the train trip west at the ripe old age of 27 he was called "Pops" by the other enlistees whose average age was 17-18). During his early training he was found to have a medical condition which barred him from active sea duty. As a result he was posted to the Fleet Mail Office in HMCS Naden, the Victoria BC naval base where he served throughout the war, rising to the rank of Petty Officer.
On May 9, 1942 he married his sweetheart Mary Uhrynuk in Victoria and they were blessed with three children, all born in Victoria: Della, August 24, 1943; Darrol, July 12, 1947; and Judy, February 23, 1949. After the war, Ab took a crash course in furniture repair and finishing, obtained his diploma, and with another former navyman started a furniture repair and refinishing business in Victoria. The firm, "Specialty Finishers", was a success as the city was a growing town after the war with military and civilians moving in and about continuously. It became so successful Ab's brother Allen moved to Victoria from Winnipeg to become the third working partner in the business.
Ab was totally taken by the beauty of Vancouver Island and felt it was a privilege to live here so decided to stay, buying a home in town to raise his growing family. Later he bought an old cottage on Shawnigan Lake, approximately 20 miles north of Victoria, and over the years renovated and made additions till it eventually became the family home. During all those years many were the weekends when relatives and friends enjoyed Ab and Mary's warm and wonderful hospitality.
After retiring he enjoyed life, wintering with Mary in Hawaii almost every year, finally selling their Shawnigan Lake home in the early 1990s. They purchased a condo in Victoria, finally moving to Vancouver, BC where Ab died January 3, 1998.

(submitted by Ken Stokes, Victoria, BC)

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