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James H. Irish III

Company B-1

3 Oct 1936 - 23 Mar 2017

Place of Death: Seattle, WA

Interment: TBD

It is with great regret and sorrow that we must notify you of the death of our Classmate, Jim Irish, on March 23, 2017, in Seattle, WA, of heart failure.

Jim was predeceased by his wife, Donna. He is survived by his daughters, Virginia Irish and Melissa Irish.

The memorial service to honor the life of James "Jim" Irish is scheduled for July 3, 2017 at Christ The King Church 405 North 117th Street Seattle, WA 98133

Jim's sisters, Virginia and Melissa Irish, have invited all members of our class at West Point and the Prep School Class of '57 from Stewart Field to attend this event.

Condolences may be sent to Virginia and Melissa Irish, PO Box 30852, Seattle, WA 98113.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations in memory of Jim be sent to the American Heart Association, PO Box 742030, Los Angeles, CA 90074-2030.

Well done, Jim.  Be thou at peace.


Class Memorial Pages\B-1 Jim Irish.pdf


Taps Tribute:

Cullum No.600671 | March 23, 2017 | Died in Seattle, WA

James Herbert Irish III was born in Syracuse, NY on October 3, 1936 to James H. Irish II and Arline Marie Herbrecht. His family relocated to Carthage, NY, where Jim attended Carthage High School. Following graduation, Jim enlisted in the Regular Army and later was selected to attend the Army’s preparatory school for West Point at Stewart Field, near Newburgh, NY.

The United States Military Academy Preparatory School (USMAPS) was established following World War II as a venue dedicated to providing refresher schooling for military personnel who had become candidates for West Point.

Admission to service academies is governed by various categories of appointments, most given by the United States Congress. The Regular Army is allocated some appointments to West Point. During Jim’s year of 1956, there were 28 appointments. Of the 128 military students at USMAPS, there were Air Force and U.S. Army Reservists as well.

Of the 95 USMAPS students who entered West Point on July 2, 1957, three were from the Regular Air Force, 12 were from the Reserve components, two had presidential appointments, three were sons of deceased veterans, and 47 were appointed by members of Congress. Jim was one of those qualifying for a Regular Army appointment.

Jim and his classmates had the good fortune of receiving their initial cadet training, variously known as New Cadet Barracks or, in cadet slang, “Beast Barracks,” in the summer of 1957 under the leadership of the Class of 1958. All positions, from squad leader on up, were held by the First Class. In prior years the other upper classes, the sophomore “yearling” and junior “cow” classes, were involved to various degrees, as they would be in subsequent years. The significance of the First Class being in charge was palpable. They were arguably the most mature cadets as a group, destined to receive commissions the following summer and depart on active duty in the Regular Army, Air Force and, in some cases, the Marine Corps. The age differential alone made the relationship between new cadets and the senior class formal and lasting. A well-known saying emerged: “Everything I am, or ever hope to be, I owe to my Beast Barracks squad leader.”

Among the many activities in which Jim and his classmates were involved, athletics became supremely important. Every cadet received the equivalent of Basic Combat Training during Beast Barracks, so each was in top physical condition by the start of the academic year. Every new cadet—“plebe” as they are called once summer training is complete—learned to box, wrestle, swim and practice gymnastics.

Every plebe had the chance to try out for the Academy’s athletic teams. Jim tried out for the Rifle Team, based upon his prior military service.

All new cadets were given a detailed orientation on the importance of intercollegiate athletic programs as a part of developing a winning attitude. This was particularly true with the major sports: football, basketball, track and field and baseball.

In Jim’s yearling year, West Point’s Football Team was undefeated. Colonel Earl “Red” Blaik, Army’s head football coach, had created a nationally recognized program nearly as famous as the one that had featured Felix Blanchard and Glenn Davis, the dynamic running back duo nicknamed “Mr. Inside” and “Mr. Outside” during the 1940s. 

The atmosphere during Jim’s sophomore fall season was electric. The United States Corps of Cadets felt a sense of pride in their football team seldom to be equaled ever. Army excelled in all sports, and Jim was an avid fan. Just to watch the Army team’s practice was thrilling to him and his classmates.

Jim left West Point in the fall of 1959 and entered Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where he received an engineering degree.

On September 3, 1960, he married Donna Virginia Ross. During their 52 years of marriage, they had two daughters, Virginia and Melissa, both of whom entered military service. Virginia chose the United States Marine Corps, serving 10 years. Her sister, Melissa, decided to serve in the United States Navy. It must have been difficult for Jim and Donna each year during the Army-Navy Football Game, and Amy-Navy athletic events of all kinds, wanting to support their daughters but feeling extreme loyalty toward West Point. Jim and Donna also were proud to have two grandchildren: Jessica and Michael.

Jim decided to pursue a career in real estate appraisal and found it tremendously satisfying. Over the course of that career, Jim worked for firms in New York state, the Federal Home Loan Bank Board in Topeka, KS, a major real estate appraisal group in Seattle, WA, and finally at his own Firm: Irish and Associates in Seattle.

Sadly, Jim’s devoted wife, Donna, was stricken with Alzheimer’s disease, and Jim was her caregiver for many years. She passed on November 18, 2012.

However, Jim remained active in the Jaycees and was also heavily involved in working on behalf of the Appraisal Institute-Seattle Chapter, as a member of the legislative affairs committee.

Jim died suddenly March 23, 2017 from cardiac arrest while hospitalized due to congestive heart failure. 

He will always be remembered as a dedicated soldier, father and patriotic citizen.

Well Done, Jim; Rest in Peace.

— Virginia and Melissa, daughters; and USMA and USMAPS classmates