Irwin Maguire, loving companion, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and beloved music teacher, passed away peacefully on May 26, just 25 days short of his 95th birthday. Born on June 20, 1917, in San Francisco to Arthur and May (Wadleigh) Maguire, his life-long love of music began with violin lessons at age 11. His conducting career started as an 8th grader when he conducted the band for school assemblies, followed by a request to conduct the SF Boys Club Band at age 16. He led the Boys Club Band across the Golden Gate Bridge during the opening ceremonies in 1937 – they just celebrated the 75th anniversary over Memorial weekend. Irwin majored in music at San Francisco State College where he received his BA in 1941 and later his MA in Music Education. While attending SF State he met Barbara Dias, also a music major. They were married in August 1941.
Before moving to Santa Barbara Irwin taught music in Orland and Lodi, CA, and served in the Navy during WWII as Chief Petty Officer, playing his violin in various Navy string groups and in the Honolulu Symphony. He had the auspicious assignment to perform for the generals and admirals in Honolulu at the ceremony to celebrate the signing of the Japanese surrender papers in 1945.
In 1948 Irwin began his 18-year post as Music Director and Performing Arts Director at Santa Barbara Junior High School. During his tenure at SBJHS he also found time to join the newly formed Santa Barbara Symphony in 1951, be the founding conductor of the Santa Barbara Junior Symphony, a founding director of Santa Barbara Youth Theater, and a board member of Old Spanish Days. When Dos Pueblos High School opened in 1966, Irwin began his 13-year tenure as Music Director. At both SBJHS and DPHS his music groups won numerous competitions and enjoyed a reputation as being one of the best in the state. He also had a knack for inspiring his students to do their best which many have said carried them through into their adult lives. So loved was he that over 200 people attended his 90th birthday party in 2007, a joyous reunion of students, teachers, family and friends.
After retiring from DPHS in 1979, Irwin taught Jazz Band and Pep Band at Santa Barbara City College for two years, and then spent one year at UCSB mentoring the music student teachers. Irwin was also a member of the SBCC Symphony for over thirty years, and he enjoyed being a guest conductor with the Prime Time Band and West Coast Symphony at their Fiesta concerts well into his 90s.
Besides music, Irwin loved to play golf. He joined the Montecito Country Club in 1954 and holds the record for membership longevity. The MCC staff treated him like royalty. Being on the “back three” holes was one of his favorite places on earth.
Family was also very important to Irwin. He loved planning family trips and being surrounded by his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Irwin will be greatly missed by his best friend and loving companion, Josephine Brummel, daughter Mary, grandsons Jonathan (Cynthia) and Jacob (Kimberly), seven great-grandchildren, and many close friends. He is predeceased by Barbara, his wife for 45 years, who passed away in 1987.
The family wishes to thank Dr. Erno Daniel (a former student) for his kind care, the staff at Heritage House where Irwin lived during 2011, the staff at Villa Riviera where he has lived since January 2012, and Hospice of Santa Barbara. The family will be forever indebted to Josephine for her love, support and care throughout the past 12 years. A celebration of Irwin’s life will be held on Friday, June 22, 2 PM at Montecito Country Club. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to:
Foundation for Santa Barbara City College,
SBCC Orchestra Account – In Memory of Irwin Maguire,
721 Cliff Dr. Attn: Jim Mooy,
Santa Barbara, CA 93109