Our Dad was born on August 3, 1923 in such an isolated part of Nebraska that his brother John many years later had to sign a statement that he was born in the United States. He was the last of eight children born to James Jessie and Martha Waltrip Irby. Royce was preceded in death by his wife, Geneva, in December of 2013 and by his parents, sisters and brothers. He is survived by four children, Constance Irby Corn of Boise, ID, Norman Irby and wife Marlies of Battleground, WA, Patricia Irby Dorton and husband Danny of Gresham, OR, Steven Irby and wife Kenda of Spangle, WA, nine grandchildren and 19 great grandchildren.
Dad entered the Navy on November 30, 1942 and was assigned to the USS New Mexico which was based in Pearl Harbor, HI. Having fought through nearly continuous battles, the ship was struck by a suicide bomber in January 1945 which hit killed her commanding officer and 29 others. In May of 1945, she was hit by another suicide bomber, leaving 54 crew members killed and 119 wounded. The ship was repaired and began to prepare for a planned invasion of the Japanese islands. News of the end of the war reached the ship at Saipan on August 15 with the surrender witnessed on September 2, 1945. The New Mexico sailed homeward arriving in Boston on October 17. Dad left the Navy on November 17, 1945 and returned to Idaho. For his service, Dad received the Phillipine Liberation Medal (1 Star), the American Area Campaign Medal and the World War II Victory Medal.
Our parents married during a leave on October 20, 1943. They lived in Payette, ID until 1953 when the family moved to Burns, OR with Dad working in the lumber industry. They moved to La Grande, OR in 1965. He worked at the Boise Cascade Particle Board mill from 1970 until his retirement in 1987.
Upon retirement, Dad and Mom became snowbirds, traveling to Parker, AZ each October for 25 years. They made many good and lasting friendships during their travels and enjoyed visits from fellow snowbirds at their home in Summerville.
Members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars offered their support to Dad for several years and have allowed us to plan a Memorial Service for him in their Cove facility in May of 2018. Service details will be updated soon.