John V. Irwin A Dedicated SLP and Public Servant In Appreciation
In Appreciation  |   August 01, 2001
John V. Irwin
Author Notes
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Hearing Disorders / Special Populations / Older Adults & Aging / Professional Issues & Training / ASHA News & Member Stories / Language Disorders / Speech, Voice & Prosody / In Appreciation
In Appreciation   |   August 01, 2001
John V. Irwin
The ASHA Leader, August 2001, Vol. 6, 1-27. doi:10.1044/leader.IA.06142001.1
The ASHA Leader, August 2001, Vol. 6, 1-27. doi:10.1044/leader.IA.06142001.1
John V. Irwin, 85, ASHA Fellow, Honoree, and 1968 president, died July 10 at his home in Lexington, KY.
A native of Muskogee, OK, Irwin’s long career in speech-language pathology included positions at the University of Minnesota, University of Wisconsin, University of Kansas, Memphis State University, the Blue Grass Research Association, and, most recently, Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) where he was visiting distinguished lecturer and consultant from 1980 to 1993. In addition to his service to ASHA, he also chaired and served on advisory and project committees for the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Department of Education (ED), and numerous other organizations.
His career was marked with numerous awards and honors, including a 1969 citation for distinguished service from the ED’s Bureau of Education for the Handicapped, the Honors of ASHA in 1970, an Honorary Degree of Science from EKU in 1985, and honorary life membership in the Wisconsin Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology Association. In 1972, he was named as a Kentucky Colonel, an honorary title conferred by the state’s governor in recognition of community service.
Julie F. Bolling, director of EKU’s communication disorders program, first met Irwin as she began her career and later came to know him as a good friend and colleague when she assumed her current position at EKU in 1985. She says Irwin was “always supportive, complimentary, and willing to give advice whenever asked.”
Irwin’s 1968 term as ASHA president he was also executive vice president from 1963 to 1966 coincided with a turbulent era during which many members pressured ASHA to take action in social and political arenas. At ASHA’s 1968 Convention, Irwin turned his presidential address over to Orlando Taylor, a leader of ASHA’s newly formed Black Caucus, and John Michel, a member opposed to the Association becoming involved in political issues. Each man spoke to the question, “What Should Be the Role of a Professional Association in a Conflict Society?”
Irwin authored dozens of books, chapters, and articles on many topics, including the seminal 1958 text, Voice and Articulation, which he co-authored with Charles Van Riper. In the late 1950s, he conceived and planned a series of short films, the “Great Clinician Series.”
A 1937 Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University, Irwin earned a master’s in speech and hearing science from Ohio State University in 1940 and a doctorate in speech pathology and audiology from the University of Wisconsin in 1947. From 1942 to 1946, he served in the Army Air Corps as a B-17 pilot.
“Dr. Irwin was a handsome, humorous, intelligent gentleman,” Bolling says. “He contributed more than his share to the profession and to the betterment of services for individuals with communication disorders. His early leadership in the field paved the way for the rest of us.”
Irwin is survived by his wife, Peggy Barton Irwin; son, John O. Irwin of O’Fallon, IL; daughter, Nancy Maxwell of Boston; and two granddaughters. Contributions can be made to the Alzheimer’s Association (
Submit a Comment
Submit A Comment
Comment Title

This feature is available to Subscribers Only
Sign In or Create an Account ×
August 2001
Volume 6, Issue 14