Richard James Ireland, 83
Southborough – Richard “Dick” James Ireland passed away at 83 years of age Nov. 30, 2009, at the MetroWest Medical Center in Natick, due to respiratory and cardiac complications and failure.
Born Dec. 4, 1925, in Johnstown, N.Y., to Stuart James Ireland and Isabelle Stanton Ireland, he was the youngest of five siblings. He was a 1943 graduate of Johnstown High School, a 1944 graduate of Tabor Academy and a 1948 graduate of Rhode Island School of Design.
Sept. 15, 1956, he married Odette Josephine Boccard at St. John’s Church in Johnstown, N.Y., and the couple had four children, Anne, Stuart, Isabelle and Elayne. Stuart died in an auto accident in 1995. Mr. Ireland also had two grandchildren, Rebecca and Michael Umstead.
During his early years, he attended the Gloversville-Amsterdam YMCA camp Agawam at Speculator, N.Y., in the summers of 1936 and 1937. He served in the U.S. Navy (1944 to 1946) and trained as an Aviation Ordnanceman and Combat Air Crewman at NATTC Norman, Ok. He also served with occupation forces in the Pacific at the end of World War II.
In August 1946, Mr. Ireland attended summer school at Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Me., and then attended Cornell University School of Engineering from 1946 to 1948. In the summer of 1948, he attended the summer session at Rhode Island School of Design (RISDI). In September 1949, he attended RISDI Mechanical Design Department. He majored in Machine Design with other courses in Advertising Design, Design Theory and Industrial Design. He gained valuable design experience on several defenserelated projects at ERCO, helping to organize a flying club at ERCO and obtained his Private Pilot License for Single Engine Land and later earned his rating for Single Engine Sea.
While living in Washington, D.C., Mr. Ireland became active in the Sunday Evening Club of the National Presbyterian Church, attending many functions and designing sets for three “better than amateur” stage productions.
After three years as Designer at ERCO, he and four other engineers started a research company, INC, Inc., in Arlington, Va. He also developed electrical wiring devices with renowned electrical inventor Steven N. Buchanan. In addition, he also headed up the design team as Senior Engineer with Howard Research Corporation of Washington. The project was the design of training facilities for the Navy’s Polaris Program.
In January 1965, Mr. Ireland was hired as an Action Officer with the Army Nuclear Weapons Surety Group at Fort Belvoir. He was then connected by the Army Material Command Headquarters with promotion to Senior Project Officer. He was involved with development and program management of several Army weapons systems. The Headquarters was reorganized in 1976, resulting in his transfer to the Navy Clothing and Textile Research Facility at Natick. He served as Director of the Environmental Sciences Division and eventually as Laboratory Manager before retiring in June 1987.
Mr. Ireland also followed a second career in the Naval Reserve and was active from June 1961 until July 1985, when he retired with the rank of Commander. He was also a member of the Masonic Lodge, Fulton Montgomery Masonic District, N.Y. State.
During retirement, he spent time writing, vacationing in the Adirondacks, working with his church as Vestryman and, most recently, sailing. He loved sailing with friends and family out of Marion and sailed to both Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard on his sail boat, “Top Seacret.”
A memorial service will be held Saturday May 1, at 11 a.m., at St. Mark’s Church, 27 Main St., Southborough. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Knox Trail Council of the Boy Scouts of America, 490 Union Ave., Framingham, MA 01702. Arrangements are under the direction of the John Rowe Funeral Home of Marlborough.
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