Dr. Robert Irwin, a leader of men originating in the SouthWest Region of Mentor Discover Inspire, passed away December 3, 2019 of complications due to cancer. An orthopedic surgery specialist living in Whittier, California, he graduated from Loma Linda School of Medicine. He leaves behind relatives including wife Connie, children Amy, Carylyn and Rob, and a countless number of men and women who so admired his selfless giving, precious care and steady leadership. For the Legacy Magazine in 2015, he wrote a story of his battles with cancer HERE. For MDI, he goes beyond 2019’s man of the year, with so many men knowing so well Irwin’s garage in Whittier as the home for many leadership trainings. As he vies for the man of the decade, some of his men’s words are found below.
James Smith – Dr. Robert Irwin impacted hundreds if not thousands of lives of men, women and children. His willingness and want to help others has saved many marriages and families, including mine. Irwin often wanted “it” for other men more than they did.
Among men, he was THE man. Every man in the Big Stick Division knew we could trust and depend on Irwin. When a decision was to be made Irwin was the one we looked to for approval. Irwin was the most genuine, gentle, honest man I’ve ever known.
He sponsored and paid for many men to get to weekends. I was lucky enough to be one of those men. In 2007 Irwin asked me if I wanted to do a weekend. I had never been to a team meeting and had no idea what a weekend was. I said yes because I trusted him. I did my Sterling Men’s Weekend, and my life was forever changed because of Irwin.
Many men have a story similar to mine. When I didn’t care about myself Irwin cared and challenged me to do better. He taught me to tell the truth and keep moving forward. That is something he did until his last days.
Doc lived longer than expected and passed away at home with his family around him. Irwin was a winner until his last breath, and all he wanted is for men to win.
The world needs more men like Irwin. We have truly lost a great man, but we can carry on his legacy through the actions he taught us.
Brian Childers – I knew Dr. Irwin to be a generous man committed to serving others and mentoring men on their journeys into mature masculinity. He was always open to contributing to lifting others up. I will miss him.
Michael Fowlkes – Doc Irwin was great man, leader, teacher, student, husband, friend, father and grandfather. A true winner.
Bob Bihr – I was compelled to visit one of my oldest and most treasured friends Monday night (December 2). I met this great man when I was ten, and at fourteen I was his golf caddy for some big tournaments. I learned so much from him. He will always be someone I look up to as a man of great honor and discipline, a mentor, and trusted partner and friend in the many moments we shared. His presence is with me and many of my loved ones.
On Monday night before his passing, I told him what a great job he did as a man, husband, father, and mentor to many; and how he supported me throughout our friendship. He held my hand and passed a few thoughts to me and that was just another lesson for me.
God bless Robert Irwin and all his loved ones. I will carry on with many of things we created and experienced together. As I told you, my life would not be the same without you being there with and for me.
So long for now, my friend.
“We are the Ones we have been waiting for”
On December 18, 2019 at a Masonic hall in Buena Park, approximately 120 men were present to say farewell to one of their own. They spoke of the gratitude for the gift of being in the men’s division and how Bob Irwin fostered that experience. Irwin had a vision for what this evening might look like, and the men made it happen. It was a night for those in attendance to reflect on how Irwin showed up around training, leadership, service and enrolling men to live honorable lives.