SEBEC - Bill Irwin, 73, was ushered into heaven March 1, 2014, after a two-year battle with prostate cancer. Bill was born the oldest of four children in Birmingham, Ala., to the late Howard and Louise Irwin. He married Patricia Armstrong and attended Howard College of Birmingham, Ala.
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Bill enjoyed a varied early professional career as a medical technologist, chemist, teacher, and founder of Birmingham Clinical Laboratories. After re-locating to Burlington, N.C., Bill served as V.P. training at Roche Biomedical Laboratories. In 1987, he surrendered his life to God and began his recovery from Alcoholism. This marked the start of his new life and career as a family and marriage counselor, speaker, health consultant, and author.
Bill became the only blind man to complete the 2,100 mile thru-hike from Georgia to Maine on the Appalachian Trail with his guide dog, Orient in 1990. After marrying his best friend, Debra, he moved to Sebec where he enjoyed hiking, camping, kayaking, snowshoeing, and biking with his friends and family. He served as director of Free Indeed Ministries until the day he died, where he could be found counseling by phone from his bed. He welcomed any opportunity to help those who suffered from addictions as he once did. Although the home he and many others worked on for 18 years was never completed, it stands as a reminder of his motto, "Never lose faith and never give up."
He is survived by his devoted wife of 18 years, Debra Irwin; four children, Marianne and Brooks Cash, Billy and Cheryl Irwin, Jeff Irwin, and Amanda McCroy; four grandchildren, Gabriel Irwin, Jake Irwin, Madison Cash, and Grayson Cash; sister, Midge Irwin "Mary"; brother, Lynn Irwin and Peggy; niece, Kristi Healy and Dennis; and many loving cousins and friends.
A memorial service will be held 2 p.m. March 8, at Bangor Baptist Church, officiated by the Rev. Pete Campbell. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to billirwin.org to further the ministries that were dear to Bill's heart.
Published in BDN Maine on Mar. 5, 2014