Ruby Irwin, teacher, amateur gardener and longtime resident of northern California, died Friday, Feb. 20 in Lodi. She was 95. Born Feb. 25, 1919 to Matthew Tripp Jr. and Bessie Fields Tripp in La Grange, N.C., Ruby Isabel Tripp moved away from the self-proclaimed “Garden Spot” after graduating high school to attend classes at Southern Junior College (now Southern Adventist University) in Collegedale, Tenn. While there, she met John D. Irwin, of Jacksonville, Fla. They were married soon after he began service in the U.S. Army as the country entered World War II. The couple moved to California while John awaited his transfer to overseas duty.
While her husband served in the South Pacific, Mrs. Irwin attended classes and worked at Pacific Union College in Angwin, Calif. After the war, the couple lived in Calistoga and, soon after, moved to Lodi, where both remained for the rest of their lives.
After a brief employment as a social worker in Stockton, Mrs. Irwin began teaching grade school classes at New Haven Elementary in Manteca. She spent the majority of her time at New Haven -- more than twenty years -- teaching kindergarten, which she most enjoyed. She retired in 1984.
Mrs. Irwin loved growing things and she turned her spacious backyard on Watson Street in Lodi into a small orchard, with peach, pear, cherry and apple trees yielding bountiful fruit and a large, raised-bed garden providing tomatoes and other vegetables, most of which she gave to neighbors and family.
She was a devoted mother, grandmother and churchgoer and served in retirement as librarian at English Oaks Seventh-Day Adventist Church in Lodi.
Mrs. Irwin is preceded in death by her husband, John D. Irwin. She is survived by her two sons, J. Charles Irwin, of Lodi and James Irwin, of San Francisco; granddaughters Laura Gore, of Angwin, Calif. and Kathryn Irwin, of New York; grandsons Zachary Irwin of Boise, Idaho and Kent Irwin, of Reno.
Visitation is scheduled for 1 p.m. to 8 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 26, at Cherokee Memorial Funeral Home at 831 E. Industrial Way, Lodi, CA 95240
A funeral service will be held at 1 p.m. Friday, Feb. 27 in Evergreen Chapel at Cherokee Memorial Park, Hwy 99 at Harney Lane, Lodi, CA 95240
INTERMENT: Evergreen Chapel Garden, Old Park
Burial will take place after the funeral at Cherokee Memorial Park. 360-degree view of approximate location of burial space shown below. Contact us at (209) 334-9613 regarding burial spaces near this location