7 November 1948 – 15 September 2016
The faculty and staff of the ARC Theatre Department sadly announce the passing of their beloved friend and colleague, Bob Irvin. Summarizing the life of Bob Irvin seems like an almost impossible task. In his 67 years he played so many varied roles, and played them all with a light humor:
Devoted husband. Loving uncle, granduncle, son-in-law, brother, and son. Actor, writer, and director. Artistic Director. Educator. Amazingly affectionate and attentive friend.
All who knew Bob well agree that his singular talent was for making the person in front of him feel like the only person in the world. He paid attention, listened, and gave his time generously. His laughter was infectious, spontaneous, and seemed, at times, to startle even him with its eruptive joyousness. Bob could always be counted on to temper grave situations with his uniquely balanced touch of humor and gentle compassion.
It is difficult to underestimate how many lives Bob touched in his 31 years as a Theatre Arts Instructor at American River College. Many of his former students now make their living as actors, designers, directors, writers, and theatre educators as a direct result of Bob’s influence and example. Some of his ARC productions include "Peter Pan," "Torch Song Trilogy," "Honky Tonk Parade," and "Before Amelia," which Bob also wrote, about African American aviation pioneer, Bessie Coleman. Students in his classes, which ranged from Introduction to Acting to Film History and Diversity in American Drama, describe an instructor with a dry, engaging wit, an affection for his students, and a deep well of knowledge for the subject matter. As a colleague, he was an amazing sounding board, an unending resource, and a director who guided with humor, intelligence and love for everyone involved in the process of bringing a show to life. His incredible sense of humor also made him the most welcome person at a faculty meeting!
During his lifetime Bob was involved in the production of several hundred theatrical plays in the greater Sacramento area as an actor, writer, adaptor, and director. He served as Artistic Director for the Old Eagle Theatre, The Nevada Theatre, Garbeau’s Dinner Theatre, and, for the past 21 years, The Fair Oaks Theatre Festival (in partnership with ARC Theatre since 1998). One of the more accurate appraisals of Bob’s theatrical life was penned by the Sac Bee critic Alfred Kay: “Bob Irvin has done everything there is to do in the theatre except shoot Abraham Lincoln.”
Bob’s devotion to his friends and family was no less prolific. In addition to the many hundreds of “adopted children” he gained through his career as an educator and theatre professional, Bob was privileged to be a doting uncle and granduncle to the children who survive him in his family: nephew John (girlfriend Kim), nieces Mandee (husband David) and Jamie (husband Brian), and their children Laurie, Rebekah, Kevin, Ethan, and Austin. He enjoyed strong and healthy relationships with both of his sisters Judee and Sue, and, during their lifetimes, his parents as well. Above all, Bob’s mother-in-law Merete Bryant can attest to the fact that the light of Bob’s life was his partner and spouse Joe Hart, with whom he shared 28 laughter and song-filled years. The indivisibility of their affection for one another is so well known that they have nearly always been referred to in the singular: “BobAndJoe.”
A celebration of life, hosted by the Fair Oaks Theatre Festival, will be held on November 12, 2016 . For more information go to www.fairoakstheatrefestival.com, or the Fair Oaks Theatre Festival Facebook page.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in memory of Bob to the Fair Oaks Theatre Festival via their webpage, or by mail: PO Box 1231, Fair Oaks, CA 95628-1231.
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