Charles Irvine

Charles "Chuck" Irvine

1937 - 2018

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Obituary of Charles Irvine

In the loving embrace of his wife, Maggie, and surrounded by his five children and other loved ones, Chuck Irvine went to be with our Lord Jesus Christ on Friday, September 7, 2018.  He lives on in the memories, hearts, hope, and the many lives he made immensely better in ways we cannot begin to capture in this obituary.

Chuck was born in Seattle, Washington, on September 14, 1937; 81 years away from the day we will celebrate his funeral and his extra-ordinarily full and meaningful life.  He was just 3 years old when his mother died; and because it was war time and resources in the way of care for small children was limited, he – along with a number of his 9 siblings – was sent to Our Lady of Cabrini Orphanage, where he spent five years.  Then, from age 8 until 17, he endured a difficult childhood – but, it was one that left him with countless stories of courage, perseverance, and all kinds of reasons to become bitter and angry.  He didn’t.  Chuck instead spent the rest of his life choosing to rise above these beginnings.

After four years in the Navy, where he proudly served as a cook on the submarine USS Tilefish – and if you don’t know any of the many stories he tells of that time in his life, ask around, as others who knew him well will be more than happy to share some – he enrolled at Idaho State University. During his first and only semester, he met Maggie Zillner, a force of nature when it comes to loving, laughing, and caring.  They married on June 22, 1958, in St. Thérèse the Little Flower Catholic Church in Burley, Idaho.  Shortly after, they moved from Idaho to Seattle, where Chuck worked as a foreman in Gai’s Bakery.

In Seattle, Maggie and Chuck welcomed into the world four of their five children, Paulie, Shawn, Kelly, and Colin. In the spring of 1972, Chuck, Maggie and the kids moved to Boise, where Chuck began work in construction, one of his first projects being the house he helped to build at 10220 Roan Meadows.  It is in that house that Chuck and Maggie raised their four kids and, in 1980, welcomed their fifth child, Krista. 

Perhaps the most significant decision of Chuck’s career came when, after 13 years of building houses in the Boise Valley, he accepted the position as the Head of Maintenance at Bishop Kelly High School.  He loved Bishop Kelly, and he worked tirelessly – often from as early as 4:00 AM and until late into the evenings on weekdays and weekends – in service to its teachers, coaches, and, most of all, its students.  He was the world’s best worker, the world’s best colleague, and the world’s best boss.  He is loved and admired by generations of BK Knights.

When he wasn’t working (and also when he was working), he was fully present with his family and friends.  He was also very much a gamer. He honestly and genuinely enjoyed whatever his kids and grandkids wanted him to enjoy.  He would camp if Maggie and the kids wanted to camp.  He would hunt and fish if the kids or in-laws wanted him to hunt and fish.  He would go to movies, soccer matches, and basketball games…whatever.  He would help with dinner, with dishes, with ironing, laundry, cleaning, fixing, painting, and, again, whatever else needed to be done – and he would do all of these kinds of routine, necessary chores and projects with joy both at home and at the homes of any number of family or friends who needed and, no doubt, enjoyed his help.

He had his own opinions and passions, too.  He could rage about some topic or issue, slamming a fist on the closest table or countertop for emphasis. Then, if presented with compelling evidence to the contrary, he’d often change his mind right there on the spot – for Dad, opinions and being right about something mattered much less than relationships and were only worth anything if they were formed through honest, open engagement with others.

And as for his passions, he watched Notre Dame Football and Boise State football (with the volume turned all the way up and a beer in hand).  He planted and maintained the world’s best garden (with its “intricate watering system”), and he loved to travel, to binge-read history books, to attend mass, to dance, and, most of all, to spend time with his wife, his kids, and his grandkids. 

He will be remembered fondly for how he so often found ways through telling stories about all of the above to widen his loving influence, to help everyone he knew for years or days, or, in many instances, merely minutes, to know that they are truly special.  He will be missed every day by all of us who so lovingly called him “Dad,” “Charlie,” or “Chuck.” 

He is preceded in death by his older sister, Anita Gehring, his brother-in-law Boon Zillner, and his sister-in-law Kay Irvine.  He is survived by his wife, his 5 children, 17 grandchildren (with 1 on the way), and 11 great-grandchildren (with 2 on the way).

The vigil will be at Summers Funeral Home at 1205 W Bannock, Boise, ID 83702; the funeral services will be held on Friday, September 14 at 11:00 AM at Risen Christ Church in Boise.