PLYMOUTH — Ira J. “Jake” Irwin, 85, of Plymouth, a retired colonel in the Marine Corps Reserve, who served in two wars, and holder of the Silver Beaver Award, highest honor in scouting, died of cancer Saturday [January 8, 1994] in Pilgrim Manor Nursing Home.
A cub master, scout master, explorer advisor and council commissioner for the Boy Scouts in Quincy and Boston, he received the Silver Beaver for distinguished service to boyhood in 1966, and the Ben Hodgkinson Award for outstanding service to the City of Quincy in 1968.
Col. Irwin enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserve in 1928 and during World War II was called to active duty with the 1st Marine Raider Battalion, participating in landings and seizures on Tulagi, Guadalcanal, the New Georgia Islands and the occupation of Emirau Island.
During the Korean War, he was executive officer of the 8th Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, and after the war was executive officer of the 2nd Infantry Reserve Battalion. He received many commendations and medals, retiring from active reserves in 1957.
He was a member of the Marine Corps Reserve Officers Association, the Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands Association, Edson’s Raiders Association, the Marine Corps Association and the Retired Officers Association.
Col. Irwin was born in Kingston, grew up in Cambridge where he graduated from Ringe Technical High School in 1925 and lived many years in Quincy. He spent the summer on Peddocks Island for several years.
Except for his active military service, he worked for Boston Edison from his high school graduation until he retired to Plymouth in 1972.
He is survived by his wife, Octavia C. “Tess” (Buck) Irwin; two sons, Richard W. Irwin of Collingswood, N.J., and David P. Irwin of Hull; a daughter, Diane C. O’Brien of Weymouth; a sister, Sarah Ledin of Stoughton; four grandchildren and a great-grandson.
A funeral service will be held at 10 a.m. Wednesday in Shepherd Funeral Home, Carver. Burial will be in Massachusetts National Cemetery, Bourne.
Visiting is from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday in Shepherd Funeral Home, 116 Main St. (Route 58), Carver.
Contributions may be made to Wellspring, 814 Nantasket Ave., Hull 01045.