Ted Irwin - Obituary - Paul Vileno
IRWIN, Michael Theodore "Ted" 74, of St. Petersburg, passed away surrounded by his loving family on Feb. 5, 2015. He lost a valiant fight to multiple myeloma while receiving treatment in Little Rock, AR. He was an incredible man who will be tremendously missed by so many. Ted leaves behind four children, Michelle (David) Payne, Teddy Irwin, Trey Irwin, Taylor Irwin, and two beloved grandchildren, Alexandra and Pearson. He is also survived by his brother, Bill Irwin and the love of his life, Peggy Rowe.
He was born in Elizabeth, NJ, moved to Florida at a young age and began his lifelong passion for sailing. He was 15 when he first began his dream of designing and building boats in his parent's backyard. He went from building his first commercial racing sailboat, Voodoo, in 1963 to opening a production factory, Irwin Yachts, in 1966. Irwin Yachts manufactured over 6,000 sailboats which can still be seen sailing in all parts of the world. Ted's passion for speed, style, comfort, and affordability became evident as his innovative designs developed and revolutionized the sailboat industry. He was a self-made entrepreneur designing and building something beautiful and tangible, and a person that delighted being with family and friends. Ted enjoyed belonging to the Young Presidents Organization, St. Petersburg Yacht Club and Suncoasters.
He was a kind, thoughtful family man who in recent years found pleasure in supporting his grandson at regattas and sharing his passion for sailing and designing with all those who would listen. A memorial service will be held March 6 at 10:30am at Pasadena Community Church, followed by a celebration of Ted's life at the St. Petersburg Yacht Club at 1pm. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society or by phone 888-HELP.LLS or to SPAR/Irwin in care of SPYC 11 Central Ave., St. Petersburg, FL, 33701 to create a fund for youth sailing.