It's with great sadness we report that Mr. John K. Irish passed away at his home on Tuesday, November 27.
John was a driving force behind the Coast Guard Foundation in its early years and served us well during our transition from the Coast Guard Academy Foundation to the Coast Guard Foundation. He was also a champion of our event recognition program, most notably the annual Coast Guard Foundation Salute to the Coast Guard in New York City.
John was a 1952 graduate of the Coast Guard Academy and a former U.S. Army Medical Corp member. After completing his military service, he went on to help run his family's successful coal business in New Jersey.
John is survived by his wife, Mrs. Jane Irish.
John had great disdain for funerals. To honor John's wishes, Jane Irish and family will host a small "Irish Wake" at the Sailfish Club in Palm Beach. It will be an intimate family affair with local friends.
"John was a pillar of strength during the early days and I felt honored to work with him on projects particularly the first New York Dinner. It was a great success and showed the way for future fund raisers providing a base for the Foundation to move forward. John will be missed by his many friends and the Foundation for his contributions," said CGF Trustee Emeritus Robert J. Halcro, a friend of John's.
Under John's guidance as chairman, the Coast Guard Foundation that we know today was established. We looked through our archives and found this great photo of VADM John Costello, USCG (Ret.), then Pacific Area Commander, with Dick Swig and John Irish at the dedication for the Petaluma Aquatic Training Complex, a project the Coast Guard Foundation championed in the 1980s.