John F. Irvine passed away peacefully at his home, with his wife by his side, on Friday, November 15, 2019. A period of fellowship and refreshments will be held from 6pm-7pm on Thursday, November 21, 2019 at the Blunt Elementary School Gym in Blunt, SD, with a prayer service to follow. Funeral services will be held on Friday, November 22, 2019 at 2pm at St. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Pierre, SD.
John F. Irvine was born June 5, 1941 to Frank and Margaret Irvine (Hall) in New London Connecticut. At the age of two, John’s family moved to San Diego, California after his father’s passing. There John attended grade school at St. Didacus. He then attended St. Catherine’s Military Academy where he made his silver screen debut alongside Charlton Heston in 1955’s The Private War of Major Benson where he can be seen portraying the company’s bugler. John then attended St. Augustine and Hoover High School, followed by San Diego City College. In 1959, John joined the United States Air Force where he served 6 months before being honorably discharged following the death of his younger brother Michael.
John worked at several jobs including everything from construction to tending to the goats at a hippie commune. John’s real passion was his music and he joined The Alpine Band, a bluegrass band, and they played on Catalina Island. This was when John met the friends he would go on one of his life’s greatest adventures with. In the summer of 1975, John and three friends set sail for the Marquesas Islands. After 44 harrowing days at sea, they landed in Takaroa, some 500 miles off course of their intended destination. From Takaroa he traveled to Niau, where he lived for about a year. He helped native islanders build American style homes.
He returned to the United States in May of 1976. Shortly thereafter, he flew to Pierre, SD to spend time with his older brother Bill. After spending what was supposed to be his return fare, he went to work for Morris Irrigation, where he worked for 16 years. In March of 1977, he met the love of his life, Dolores King. That same year, he embarked on another one of his life’s great adventures, and married Dolores on July 29, in Blunt, SD. In 1979, they were blessed with the birth of their first child, Jeremy John. A few years later in 1984, Joshua (Doozer) Daniel joined the family.
They lived in Pierre and Ft. Pierre for 7 years, before buying their first and only home in Blunt, SD. 1992 was a big year in the Irvine house, as John started his positon with the City of Pierre as the City Building Inspector (later to become the City Building Official) and also was elected as the Mayor of Blunt. He spent 24 years with the City of Pierre, where he made many lasting friendships. He spent 12 years as mayor, and the accomplishment he was most proud of was the planning and approval of a diversion channel to save Blunt from springs floods.
After moving to South Dakota, John was able to pursue his passion for music, and played in several bands over the years, including Small Prophet, The Trailsmen, Tail Water, Borderline and Second Wind. He met some of his dearest friends during his years of playing bass guitar.
He is survived by his loving wife Dolores, his sons Scott (Lori) of Foothills Ranch, CA; Jeremy (Terra) of Pierre, SD; and Dooz (Sam) of Blunt, SD; grandchildren Ryan, Mya and Deacon; sister Catherine Irvine of Easly, SC; brother William of Canyon Lake, TX, and numerous nephews and nieces. He was preceded in death by his parents, sister Mary Alice, brother Michael, and his father-in-law Bud King.