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Herbert's Story

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Services to honor and remember the life of Herbert Irby will be 1 p.m., Tuesday, March 1, 2016 at New Life Baptist Church. He will be laid to rest next to his wife in Woodlawn Cemetery. Services have been entrusted to Rice Funeral Service. Friends may visit the funeral home on Monday from 1-8 p.m., with family receiving visitors from 6-8 p.m. Herbert passed from this life, to his heavenly home, on Friday, Feb. 26 . He was 92. Herbert Guy Irby, Jr. was born July 11, 1923 in Turley, Okla. to Herbert, Sr. and Mabel (Shockey) Irby. The Irby family made Verdigris their home in 1936 and it was in Verdigris that Herbert, Jr. met the love of his life, Myrtle “Bernice” Bacon. The young couple had practically been together since the age of fourteen. They married on May 11, 1946 and were able to celebrate 65 wonderful years of marriage before Bernice passed away in January of 2012. A young man, Herbert served his country in the United States Army Air Corps during World War II. He didn’ t speak much of his service time to his sons. However, in more recent years he recounted some of his experiences with his grandsons. Following his service, Herbert joined Bernice at Oklahoma A&M, now OSU, where he furthered his education through the G.I. Bill. Upon the completion of Bernice’s degree, they returned to the Verdigris area where they began a family and remained throughout their lives. Herbert had a career as a machinist and was employed at Douglas Aircraft, Rockwell and Boeing through the years. A neat contribution, he was able to work on the Apollo Project. In addition to his vocation, Herbert enjoyed farming and ranching on the family acreage. He and Bernice enjoyed gardening, but Herbert’ s favorite pastime was that of being on his tractor. They also enjoyed traveling and camping. A small side job for Herbert was that of a low level weapons manufacturer. This is where he made toy swords, shields, sling shots and rubber band guns for the grandkids. In his spare time he also made wooden animals that Bernice would paint and they would share with friends and family. Herbert had a second career at the Williams Center in Tulsa where he worked as a security officer on the Executive floor. He took this job seriously and enjoyed being of service to the Williams’ family. At this particular job he was sure to treat everyone he encountered with respect and taught his family that a “Mr.” or “Mrs.” could go a long way. A man with a great voice, Herbert was the “Paul Harvey of the family” having that special touch with telling a great story. His family will always remember him using his voice to sing silly songs for the kids and, at the same time, his ability to use that beautiful baritone voice as he sang praises to his Heavenly Father. Through the years, Herbert was active in the Catoosa Methodist Church where he served as a deacon, elder and song leader. He and Bernice would later become members of New Life Baptist Church where they remained active as long as their health allowed. Herbert was certainly proud of his family and the way his sons and grandchildren expressed their faith and selected careers of service to others. This gracious and pleasant man, who knew just how to make others feel special — will certainly be missed by those he leaves to cherish his memory. He is survived by: his sons: Robert Irby and wife, Cleona of Guthrie; Steve Irby and wife, Lori of Verdigris; grandchildren: Brady Irby and wife, Melissa also of Verdigris, Matthew Irby and wife Jeri of Washington, Okla., Michael Irby and wife, Emily along with Joshua Irby and wife, Katie all of Verdigris and Rachel Evans of Guthrie; He is also survived by great-grandsons: Noah and Jonah Irby of Verdigris and numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by: his parents; his wife, Bernice Irby; sisters: Elouise Dillon, Nadine Sims and Chic Brashers and a daughter-in-law, Marilyn Irby. Herbert lived a life of sacrifice so that his children and grandchildren could go to college or trade school and more importantly so that they could always attend church camp. In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting to keep Herbert’ s generosity alive by sending kids to church camp. Donations may be directed to: Youth Camp Ministries c/o Harvest Baptist Church, 24733 S. Hwy 66, Claremore, OK 74019 (where his grandson is a youth pastor). You can rest assured that Herbert would say, “And thank you for that!”
Published on  February 28, 2016
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