Irving O'Leary

In Remembrance of
Irving “Irv” O’Leary


Irving O’Leary, age 50, died Tuesday, March 12, 2002, after a courageous battle against brain cancer. Irving was a long time employee of Pharmacia in Kalamazoo and member of the Kalamazoo Section of the American Chemical Society. Irving was active in public outreach for the Kalamazoo Section. In particular, he loved doing Chemistry for students in the Mattawan school district.

Born April 19, 1951, in Benton Harbor, Irving grew up on a family centennial fruit farm in Coloma. He went on to distinguish himself at Coloma High School, winning the Green and Gold Award for good citizenship and attaining the honor of Eagle Scout. He was president of the senior class and played football, basketball and golf.

He attained a bachelor’s degree at Western Michigan University and a master’s degree at the University of Detroit with a scholarship from the American Cancer Society. He performed cancer research with the esteemed Dr. Jerome P. Horowitz at the Michigan Cancer Foundation, was an analytical chemist for Revlon Pharmaceuticals in Tuckahoe, N.Y., and made his final career move to Upjohn (now Pharmacia) in Kalamazoo in 1982.

He worked at Pharmacia even after his cancer was diagnosed and up until seven months before his death. Throughout his illness, he contributed samples and knowledge to cancer research being done throughout the country.

Irving was a member of the Lions Club and St. John Bosco Parish. He loved to fish, farm, work on tractors, coach soccer and especially spend time with his family, who will miss him greatly.

Loving father, husband and brother, he is survived by his wife, Kelly; children, Matthew and Caitlin, of Mattawan; brother Richard, of Coloma (special friend Michalene Reeves); and sisters Pat Holwerda (Jerry) of Jackson, and Becky O’Leary Meier (Jim Meier) of Benton Harbor; and many nieces and nephews who will miss their Uncle Irv. His parents, Bill and Nan O’Leary, died before him.

In lieu of flowers, please send donations to: The West Michigan Cancer Center, 200 N. Park Street, Kalamazoo MI 49007, or to the Mattawan Lions Club, PO Box 62, Mattawan MI 49071 in his memory.