Michael Irwin, 55, of Dallas, died unexpectedly on Tuesday, Aug. 11, at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, Ga.

The son of Joyce (Doty) Irwin of Richmond, Ind., and the late Frederick Leland Irwin, he was born Sept. 24, 1953, in Quantico, Va. He was a talented and accomplished educator who graduated magna cum laude in 1975 from the University of Cincinnati with a bachelor of science degree in education with an emphasis in English and French. He earned his master of arts in theater from Stephen F. Austin University in Nacogdoches in 2004.

Irwin’s honors include being inducted into the Ohio Thespian Hall of Fame in 2008 and being named Atlanta Journal-Constitution Teacher of the Year in 1989. He was also honored many times by the various school districts he served diligently and selflessly.

These honors are among a few associated with a 34-year career in delivering fine arts education and administration in three states including, Reading Local Schools in Cincinnati and Newton County High School and Woodward Academy in the Atlanta metro Area. In Texas, Irwin worked at Trinity School of Texas in Longview, as interim head of school while providing classroom instruction in English and theater a classroom teacher in English and theater at Rowlett High School in Rowlett and most recently as chair of the visual and performing arts department at Parish Episcopal School in Farmers Branch.

Irwin was a member of the Oaklawn Methodist Church in Dallas. He was a member of Phi Delta Kappa Educational Theatre Association, director of the Governor’s Honors Program at Valdosta State University in Georgia and a member of the State Thespian Board of Directors, the Black Tie Dinner Board of Directors for four years and the Black Tie Dinner Advisory Board for one year.

Irwin was preceded in death by his father and grandparents, his companion John Burton, brothers, Matthew Kimble Irwin and Mitchell Kelly Irwin, nephew Brandon Kevin Irwin, sister-in-law, Lori Wickline Irwin, three aunts and two uncles.

He is survived by his mother, Joyce (Doty) Irwin of Richmond, Ind.; a brother, Mark Irwin, and his wife, Linda, of Richmond, Ind.; a sister, Michelle Irwin-Kingsolver, and her fiancé, Nick Whitt, of Ashland, Ky.; three nieces, Brooke VanHoorebeke and her husband Jason of Marion, Ill.,  Bethany Stofferahn and her husband, Charles, of Richmond, Ind., and Kara Kingsolver of Ashland, Ky.; two nephews, Kyle Kingsolver of Ashland Ky., and Matthew Irwin-Henricks of Scottsdale, Ariz.; three great nieces; two great-nephews; two aunts, Dorothy Bailey of Brunswick, Ohio and Peggy Kay Schuyler of Reynoldsburg, Ohio; two uncles, Larry Irwin and wife Karen of The Villages, Fla., and Paul Doty and wife Ruth Ann of Fort Worth; many cousins and a legion of friends spread throughout the U.S.

A celebration of Irwin’s life is pending arrangement at the Davis-Turner Funeral Home in Lynchburg, Ohio. A memorial service is also being planned in Dallas at a date and time to be announced later.

Bobby "Luke" Thomassie, 29, of Dallas, died at his mother’s home in Shubuta, Miss., on July 31.

A native of Shubata, Thomassie graduated from Quitman High School in Quitman, Miss., in 1999. He had lived in the Dallas area for 10 years, and worked as a bartender at Mickey’s.

Thomassie is survived by his mother, Terena Rogers, and stepfather, Ed Rogers of Shubata; his brother, James Bailey, and his wife Amey and daughter Bethany, of Shubata; and his grandmother, June Arrington of Stonewall, Miss.

A funeral service was held Aug. 4 at Wright’s Funeral Home in Quitman. A reception in Thomassie’s memory will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 22, at Mickey’s, 3851-A Cedar Springs Road. The family asks that memorial contributions be made to Compassus Hospice in Meridian, Miss., or to Resource Center Dallas.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 14, 2009.
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