Stuart Irwin passed away while at home on the morning of February 18, 2015 at the age of 77. Stuart was born September 9, 1937 in Miller, South Dakota to Robert and Frieda (Kruse) Irwin.
Stu grew up on the family ranch where he helped his father raise cattle and farm the land. It was there he learned his love of the outdoors, hunting, fishing and all manner of shooting sports all with his little dog Jiggs always at his side. Stu displayed his true cowboy spirit as a bull rider in the State Championship circuit at the age of 16.
Stu was an accomplished musician at a young age starting on guitar then playing bass guitar when he formed a band named the Rock Cats at the age of 19 while at college. The Rock Cats played many venues in the Mid-West and performed with well known artists such as Jerry Lee Lewis.
It was while playing these venues that Stu met fellow musician and the love of his life, Marian Ratajczak. Stu and Marian were married on June 20, 1961. After their marriage they settled in Pierre, South Dakota where Stu took employment as a police officer. Stu and Marian were inseparable and for 53 years. They played, worked, hunted, fished, camped and raised a family together.
In the fall of 1967 they moved to Washington State where they worked at The Peerless and Faos in Oroville, as the house band. Later, as the band, The Midnighters, they travelled over Eastern Washington playing from Oroville to the Tri-Cities. From 1975-1979 they became the owner/operators of the Venture Inn in Omak. After 1979 they returned to music and formed the band Country Roads and continued playing music until January of 1990.
Stu worked many jobs in addition to his musical career throughout his life: cowboy, police officer, gas station owner, salesman at Sears, security guard at Omak Wood Products and as a school bus driver for the Omak School District. Stu also served is community as a reserve corrections officer for the Okanogan County Sheriff Office; volunteer fire fighter and EMT with the Omak Fire Department for many years.
Though an avid hunter, angler, and archer, he loved animals. He was soft spoken and kind. He was respected for his strong work ethics of reliability, duty, and honesty. He led by example, instilling into his family his character, strength, and values. Stu was a loving father, grandfather and great grandfather. He spoiled his dogs rotten.
He will be deeply missed.
He is survived by his wife, Marian of Omak; daughter, Kay (David) Sexton of Omak; sons, David (Trena) Irwin of Bay Springs, Miss., and Dennis (Krista) Irwin of Omak; grandchildren, Brandon Shafer of Douglasville, Ga.; Tiffany Shafer of Wenatchee, Wash.; Brad, Shaelyn, CamdenSamuel, Dane and Kristopher Irwin, all of Omak and two great grandchildren: Christian and Dallas Irwin.
Stu was preceded in death by his brother, Lawrence; his father, Robert; his mother, Frieda; and son-in-law, David Shafer.
Memorial donations may be given to Animal Foster Care or OK Snip. Viewing for family and friends will be held from 7 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. at the Precht-Harrison-Nearents Chapel on Tuesday, February 24. The service will be held 2 p.m. Wednesday, February 25 at Precht Harrison Nearents Chapel on Elmway. Interment will follow the Chapel service at the Okanogan City Cemetery.