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Anna Geraldine White Irwin

Anna Geraldine White Irwin, 96 of, Salem, died in her home on Friday, December 11, 2015.  Known as Anna professionally, she was “Jerry” to her friends, and “Mom” to her family.

Daughter of Stephen and Geraldine White, she grew up in Braintree and Dorchester, until marrying C. Robert Irwin and spending their married life in New York City where they raised three children. She moved to Salem in 2009.


Jerry graduated from Thayer Academy in 1938, and from Regis College in 1942.  During World War II, she served as a weather officer and cryptographer in the U.S. Coast Guard.  On returning to civilian life, she attended Harvard University on the GI Bill and earned a Masters of Education, teaching lower school while earning her degree.  In 1949, she married the man she met at her junior prom at Thayer Academy twelve years earlier, eventually settling in Manhattan to raise their family.


Once her children were in school full-time, Jerry returned to her professional career as a health educator for the City of New York where she designed and initiated the first anti-smoking campaign in the city public school system.   She later served as the Director of the YWCA’s Ballard School focusing on vocational training for adult women.  Jerry then worked for the City Commission to the United Nations where she developed a host family program to welcome and acclimate members of the diplomatic community and their families upon their arrival to the city.  Her last position was as a Director of Personnel and Staff Activities in the Human Resources Department of the United Nations Secretariat until her retirement in 1984.


Throughout her professional endeavors, family always came first.  (Her english and gordon setters were a close second.)  She is survived by a daughter, Alison M. Irwin of Salem, and a son, Robert W. Irwin and his wife Pamela of Ipswich.  Her daughter, Maribeth I. (Lynch) Brittle, predeceased in 2012.  Jerry is also survived by two grandchildren, Robert Scott Lynch, Jr., his wife Erin Quigley and their daughter Fiona of Virginia and James White Lynch also of Virginia. She is also survived by her sister, Paula Bostrom, of Holbrook and many nephews and nieces. Her sisters Mary Shaw and Peggy Mordas predeceased. 


Visiting hours will be held at the Whittier-Porter Funeral Home, 6 High Street, Ipswich, from 10 am to 12 noon on Tuesday, December 15, 2015.  There will be a brief prayer service at 12 noon, followed by interment in the New Highland Cemetery, Town Farm Road, Ipswich. Family and friends are respectfully welcomed. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in her name may be made to the The Open Door Food Pantry, 28 Emerson Avenue, Gloucester, MA  01930.

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