Mherling "Irv" Luce
Mherling Irwin Luce
Sept 9, 1930 – March 7, 2018
Mherling Irwin "Irv" Luce, age 87, sailed away peacefully on March 7, 2018 at Homeplace Memory Care in Oak Harbor, WA. after a long battle with Parkinson's Disease.
He was born September 9, 1930 in Star Junction, Pennsylvania to Emerson Russell and Nelle Delores Luce. He was the eldest of four children raised in the nearby township of Perryopolis where he graduated from high school. After high school, he worked for two years in the Pittsburg area U.S. Steel mills until he and his buddy, Walt Cable, decided it was time for an adventure and joined the U.S. Navy.
Four years in the military service as an aircraft mechanic took him to Oakland, CA, Okinawa, Japan and Whidbey Island Naval Air Station. It was during his time in Oakland that he first laid eyes on the slightly sunburned Dorothy "Dotty" G. Beavins of Lewellen, Nebraska. After a whirlwind year of courtship, they were married March 8, 1954 in Anacortes, WA.
Following discharge from the military, they remained in the Puget Sound area where he attended Skagit Valley Community College and was senior class president in 1958. During this time, their two daughters were born - Vickeri Jayne in 1955 and Tammara Jean in 1959.
Irv continued his education at Western Washington State College where he completed a Bachelors of Education in 1960 and a Masters in Education in 1966. He was a member of the Phi Delta Kappa professional fraternity in education. He and Dotty moved to Oak Harbor in 1960 where his first professional job was at Clover Valley Elementary School as a 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th grade teacher.
In 1969, Irv became an elementary school principal where his first assignment was Saratoga Heights School attended exclusively by 500 kindergarteners. The Navy had donated the old Seaplane Base barracks building for school use - surprisingly Irv had lived in the same building during his Navy years! His next principal assignment, where he remained until his retirement in 1990, was back at Clover Valley where he was known for staff volleyball games, his artful ceramic pieces, and love of his students and staff.
Summers and holidays with the family included boating trips on the “Soul Catcher” in the San Juan Islands and car trips across the country to spend time with parents and relatives. After retirement, he and Dotty continued their love of adventure by enjoying many trips to Europe, touring the United States in their 36-foot RV, wintering in Palm Springs and spending time with their grandchildren and many cherished friends.
Irv was active in the Oak Harbor community for many years including being on the Planning Commission from 1977-1985, helping maintain tulip gardens with Hal Ramaley, and St. Patrick’s Day and Holland Happening parade entries. Additionally, he was the Oak Harbor Yacht Club Commodore in 1977 and often dressed as Santa in the annual Christmas boat parade in the harbor.
He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Dotty and daughters Vickeri Barton (Doug) and Tammara Leighton (Brian). Also surviving are grandchildren Chandra Turner (Chris) and Stuart Barton; one great-grandchild Jack Turner whom he referred to as "the little man"; and his sister, Judy Pawlowski of Belle Vernon, PA.
Irv will be remembered as a wonderful, hard working, fun husband, father and friend who loved to sing, dance, teach, boat and play with his children and grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held at 11a.m. on Friday, March 16, 2018 at Wallin Funeral Home with a reception to follow. A private interment of his ashes will be at Maple Leaf Cemetery. The family wishes to thank the staff at Homeplace Memory Care for their care of Irv over the past two years. The family suggests memorials to the Oak Harbor Education Association Scholarship Fund.
Funeral arrangements were entrusted to Wallin Funeral Home. To leave messages or condolences to the family, please visit Irv’s Book of Memories page on the funeral home website at www.wallinfuneralhome.com.