Our dear uncle, Harold Louis “Bud” Irving, age 91, of Escanaba, went to his Heavenly home on Thursday, July 13, 2023 at the D.J. Jacobetti Home for Veterans in Marquette. Bud was born on January 19, 1932 in Escanaba to Rockford and Clara (Wanberg) Irving of Danforth. He was the youngest of nine children. Like all the children in his family, he was baptized and confirmed at Bethany Lutheran Church in Escanaba. Once Christ the King Lutheran Church was established in North Town, Bud became a Charter Member there.
Proudly inducted into the U.S. Army on September 11, 1952, Bud served his country and was injured during the Korean War. In addition to earning several medals and citations, he also received the Bronze Star and was awarded the Purple Heart Medal. One of the highlights of Bud’s life journey was going on the U.P. Honor Flight with his nephew, Dave Salminen, as his companion. Bud was certainly touched by all the memorials they visited, but the one that meant the most to him was the Korean War Memorial. It brought back so many memories for him. As he began sharing some of those memories with his family, we better understood and appreciated the fact that the freedoms we enjoy today are due to the service of so many, like our Uncle Bud, who were willing to fight for them on our behalf.
Once discharged from the U.S. Army, Bud became a Merchant Marine and began sailing on the Great Lakes freight liners until his retirement. Most of his years were spent on the Sansibar ship where he was affectionally known as “Sansibar Sam.”
Soon after his retirement, Bud adopted a special pup he named “Chubbers.” Just a few years later, he welcomed another buddy, “Choppers.” Both dogs were trained to become service dogs. Once the furry companions completed training, the three of them were on their way! Bud and his dogs visited hospitals, nursing homes, and veterans’ facilities bringing smiles and love to all they met.
Bud then became a volunteer driver for the State of Michigan. He began driving people to doctors’ appointments, hospital appointments, or anywhere else they needed to go - always one or both of the dogs accompanying him to provide comfort for the passengers.
Bud and Choppers even visited Soo Hill School once a week and became “reading buddies” for the students.
The three of them participated in countless parades and took part in many festivities in the area. The dogs also joined Bud each Sunday for worship at Christ the King Lutheran Church. No one was happier to see the three of them than all the Sunday School students at the church.
Service to others was always first in his heart. Bud was a member of the Shriners, Masons, Purple Heart Organization and delivered baskets to Veterans each Christmas. He was humbled when he was awarded the Michigan Volunteer of the Year from the State for his services. He always gave the credit to the two “best friends” who traveled with him. He believed Chubbers and Choppers were the REAL volunteers.
Although Bud was never married nor had any children, he touched the hearts of so many people in many walks of life. He was truly loved and will be dearly missed by his many nieces and nephews as well as by his longtime housekeeper and friend, Betty.
In addition to his parents, Bud was preceded in death by his siblings and in-laws, Edith Irving (infant), Elmer Irving (infant), Wallace (Mabel) Irving, Viola (Oscar) West, Hubert (Lorraine) Irving, Lucille Lehman Milkovich (Clayton Lehman and Anthony Milkovich), Delbert (Adeline) Irving, and Charles (Patricia) Irving. Also preceding his death are Bonnie Aderman (niece), Kenneth West, Robert West, Randy Irving (nephews), and great niece, Kim Roberts.
Visitation will be held from 2:30 p.m. to 4:45 p.m., Thursday, July 20, 2023 at the Anderson Funeral Home in Escanaba. Military Honors will be conducted at 4:45 p.m., Thursday, in the Anderson Funeral Home Chapel. Funeral services celebrating the life of Harold “Bud” Irving will take place at 5:30 p.m. at Christ the King Lutheran Church in Escanaba with Rev. Lon Hider officiating. A meal will be held at the conclusion of the services. In lieu of flowers, memorials can be directed to Christ the King Lutheran Church or the U.P. Honor Flight.