QUINNESEC - Frank Irish, 83, of Quinnesec, passed away on Thursday, June 7, 2012, at his home, surrounded by the music, tears and prayers of his family and friends.
Frank was born in Elkhart, Ind. on May 25, 1929, the son of Marian Tuttle Irish and French Irish. He graduated from Central Michigan University with a bachelor of music degree in 1951. He served in the U.S. Army Counter-Intelligence Corps from 1951 to 1953, then earned a master of arts degree from the University of Michigan.
Frank married Virginia Rae Otterbein on Dec. 28, 1951, and they celebrated their 60th anniversary last December. They moved to Rochester, Mich. in 1953. He was the vocal music director at Rochester High School for 31 years, the minister of music at St. Paul's United Methodist church for 25 years, and the director of the Southern Michigan Youth Chorale for eight years. Throughout that time, he directed 18 high school musicals and countless concerts for the school, church and community. Highlights included his annual alumni choir singing of the Hallelujah Chorus, his retirement concert in the Detroit Orchestra Hall, and singing the National Anthem in Tiger Stadium.
After retiring, the Irishs moved to Quinnesec in 1984, where Frank became involved in a number of community service programs. He held various director positions with the Dickinson County Community Theater, the Dickinson County Area Concert Association, the First Presbyterian Choir, and the Dickinson County Community Chorus. He served as a church deacon from 1985 to 1988 and was a church elder until his passing. In 1992, Frank was influential in founding the local affiliate of Habitat for Humanity, serving as a board member from 1993 to 2000. He was also a founding board member for the Pine Mountain Music Festival, serving on the board from 1990 to 1994.
In his free time, Frank enjoyed travel, woodworking, birding, tennis, golf, fishing, camping, singing to his children, and considering his favorite type of pie, which was usually the one he was eating at the moment.
Frank is survived by his wife, Virginia (Dinnie) Irish of Quinnesec; and his children, Sandy and (Mark) Ehlert of Crystal Lake, Ill.; Wendy Irish of Escanaba; Nancy Irish and (Vince Villa) of Marquette; Tim Irish and (Maricell Morrobel-Irish) of Crystal Lake; Jeff Irish and (Michelle Chapin) of Enterprise, Ore. and his exchange student son, Adelbert (Mike Hoff) Hallewas of Lake Orion, Mich. He is fondly remembered by 11 grandchildren and three great- grandchildren.
Visitation will be Saturday from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. at First Presbyterian Church in Kingsford.
Memorial services will follow at 11 a.m. at the church. Rev. Michael March will officiate.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be sent to the First Presbyterian Church, the Frank Irish Young Artists Award with the Community Foundation of Greater Rochester, or the Menominee River Habitat for Humanity.
Condolences may by expressed on line to the family of Frank Irish at ernashfuneralhomes.com
The family has entrusted the Erickson-Rochon & Nash Funeral Home with the arrangements.