Joseph K. Irby V was born Sept. 23, 1955 in The Dalles, Ore., the first of five siblings born to Christian parents, Joe and Myra Irby. After an intense 3½ year battle with cancer, he died peacefully at home, Dec. 26, 2017, with loving family beside him. From our arms into the arms of Jesus.
Joe led an adventurous life. His early childhood was spent living on the family ranch in Olex, Ore. At age nine, his family moved to England for two years, then to Lebanon, Ore., for a year. They traveled to Jerusalem, walked the Fourteen Stations of the Cross, explored pyramids in Egypt, then they crossed North Africa in a VW bus before returning home to the States. He graduated from Tigard High School in 1973.
Joe moved to Cordova, Alaska in 1976. He worked on the road crew in canneries and Cordova Powerhouse as an Operating Engineer. He joined IBEW 1547 and was a local 1547 steward.
He met Pamela Desirée Halgren through a mutual friend a year before they married on Feb. 15, 1979, on top of Mt. Eyak. The couples’ first home was out at Eccle’s lagoon surrounded by forest, with no electricity or running water. It was very peaceful.
Joe held many jobs throughout his life. In 1980 he moved his family to the ranch in Oregon where he worked side by side with his dad and brother farming wheat and raising cattle. He next worked for Northwest Aluminum, moving to The Dalles the spring of 1984. His most rewarding job was when he joined IBEW 48 in 1985. They provided excellent training, employment and remarkable benefits which provided him with the opportunity to become a Journeyman Level Electrician, a 48 Steward, a general supervising electrician and a general administrator in Washington/Oregon. Joe also taught at Columbia Gorge Community College. He loved to learn.
Joe had many interests including, the great outdoors, taking his family fishing, hiking, camping and walking on the beach. He enjoyed spending time with his family, his wife, his children and grandchildren.
Joe had a passion for Jesus and music. He read his bible daily, mentored young men in jail, and played in a bluegrass band. Joe always felt a need to help those who were less fortunate. Three weeks before his passing, he had an opportunity to be on a trial cancer drug. He chose to be a part of this trial, not for himself, but in the hopes that the drug would ultimately help others with CTCL-MF.
Joe’s family wishes to express gratitude and extend heartfelt appreciation to all those who treated Joe with excellent care, kindness and compassion. Thank you to Dr. Melinda Riter of Columbia Crest Dermatology and staff; Columbia Gorge Christian Fellowship; Celilo Cancer Center, Dr. Steve Fu, Denise Watson, John Newman, Kim Bryan, Kurt Rohrbacher, Lynn, Sue, Katie, Debbie, Cindy and staff; Celilo Radiology, Dr. Keith Stelzer and staff; OHSU, Dr. Craig Okada, Iris R.N. and Dr. John Holland; Water’s Edge Dr. Emma Pieris; IBEW 48; Heart of Hospice staff, Rheva, Jennifer, Michelle, Eve, Lesley, Deb, Angie and especially Leigh; and thank you to everyone who brought prayers, encouragement and food for the family. God Bless you all.
Joe is survived by his wife of 39 years, Desirée Irby and their children Joe (Kriston), Issac (Tiffany) and Emily (Josh); his grandchildren Eden, Sakari, Kaennon, Koi, Jon and Jane; his mother, Myra; his four siblings, Matt (Bonnie), Betsy (Terry), Julia (Eric) and Sarah; a large extended family and many friends. He was preceded in death by his grandson, William James, and his father, Joe Irby IV.
His last words to his children were “Love your spouses no matter what and tell my grandchildren to tell everyone how much I loved Jesus and how Jesus blessed my life in more ways than I could ever count.”
A Celebration of Life will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday Feb. 15, 2018, at the First Christian Church, 909 Court Street The Dalles, Ore.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you send memorial contributions to Columbia Gorge Christian Fellowship P.O. Box 40 The Dalles, Ore. 97058.
Visit www.Andersons Tribute Center.com to leave a note of condolence for the family.
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