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Chillicothe News - Chillicothe, MO
  • The Ongoing Journey of John Melvin Irvin (1911- )

  • It is an honor and privilege to provide some insight into the life of one of Chillicothe's oldest and most respected residents: Mr. John M. Irvin.
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  • Note: The Constitution-Tribune apologizes that this article is not included in a Blog format, as this website does not yet to have that capability. Additionally, not all photographs submitted for this article could be uploaded onto this website to accompany this article. We anticipate that the technical difficulties will be be corrected. By Gary Don Thomas Welcome to a new series entitled Grand River Days. It will be about the people, places, and events that have, and will continue to shape our community. There will likely be no multipart blog entries for this work, so my "chapters" will be considerably longer than a typical post. For the initial chapter, it is an honor and privilege to provide some insight into the life of one of Chillicothe's oldest and most respected residents: Mr. John M. Irvin. I asked John's permission to do this piece a few weeks ago. His professional achievements and community service pursuits are well documented. I used in part, the Constitution-Tribune, the Constitution-Tribune Dateline Vol. II book, and the fine 1981 history published by the Retired Senior Volunteer Program. But, in addition I asked John to provide stories and note people that have influenced his journey to this point. Not long after, I received an envelope with a great deal of information. Included was a neatly typed three page letter; personally signed by John. Well, I reread John's letter just now to ensure that I had covered most of the key things and his signature caught my eye. It truly is a work of art. So, I decided to entitle this chapter. "Sincerely, John Irvin." His late brother Fred was a noted professional artist and illustrator and his father an accomplished pianist. We should not be surprised. Until recently, I only knew of John and a few of the dozens of buildings he was responsible for in our town. But living away, I knew nothing of John and Virgie's giving spirit and admirable community service. Ensuring that our schools and other buildings are built right is important. His company has been highly successful and has created many jobs for our town. But, there is much more to tell. For example, Hope Haven has been a passion of the Irvin's since they donated the company's 304 Clay Street property in 1965. John and Virgie have been vital in ensuring that our developmentally challenged have meaningful work. Such work improves their self-image and self-worth. It has allowed these citizens a way to make Chillicothe a better place. In this article, only a few of the Irvin's contributions to our town are included. I will relate his story in terms of a timeline spanning more than 100 years. Happily, the final chapter is yet to be written.

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