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Obituary: Wilmot Irish, 1928-2022

Emeritus professor of agricultural engineering was known for his kindness and positive spirit

Published November 25, 2022 at 6:00 a.m.
Updated November 25, 2022 at 3:28 p.m.


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Wilmot Irish - COURTESY
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  • Wilmot Irish
Wilmot W. Irish, age 94, an emeritus professor of agricultural engineering at Cornell University, passed away peacefully on November 20, 2022, at his residence in Shelburne, Vt. He was known for his kindness, positive spirit and helpfulness by all who met him.

Born on July 15, 1928, in Burlington Vt., he was the son of the late Leo Pearl Irish and Cornelia Wheeler Irish of Shelburne. He graduated from Shelburne High School in 1945 and the University of Vermont in 1950, where he was active in ROTC. After graduation, he met and married the love of his life, Barbara Moffett, while working in Canandaigua, N.Y. He served in the U.S. Army as a first lieutenant in Korea and was awarded the Bronze Star for actions on Sandbag Castle.

After returning from Korea, he completed his MS degree at the University of Illinois in 1955, then worked in Storrs, Conn., as an assistant professor at the University of Connecticut. In 1960, he joined the Department of Agricultural Engineering at Cornell, where he specialized in farm structures, with responsibilities for the Extension Plan Service and directing the formation of the Northeast Regional Agricultural Engineering Service. During his time at Cornell, he worked in the Agricultural Engineering Department Extension Service improving dairy structures throughout New York State and designed facilities for loose cow housing at the William H. Miner Agricultural Research Institute in Chazy, N.Y. He was a registered professional engineer in the state of New York.

He was an active member in Rotary International and the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers and served as secretary-treasurer of the North Atlantic Region. In 1981, he was awarded a Fulbright Grant to develop an agricultural engineering program at the University of Gezira in Sudan. After returning, he and Barbara became very involved with the New York and National Federation of Music Clubs. After Barbara’s death, he continued this work with his friend and companion Sophie Albrecht in Elyria, Ohio. In 2017, he returned to Shelburne to live his final years in the town where he grew up.

Wilmot was predeceased by his son Wendell; his wife, Barbara; his sister Ruth Morrow; and his grandson Zeke Kassel. He is survived by his son Paul; daughter, Carol; their spouses; several grandchildren; nieces; nephews; and one great-grandson.

A memorial service will be held on Wednesday, December 14, 2022, 11 a.m., at the Shelburne United Methodist Church in Shelburne, Vt. In lieu of flowers, please donate to a church, food shelf or music organization of your choice.

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