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Patriot of the Month

Posted on Wednesday, January 1, 2020 at 9:43 am

Irwin Deutscher entered the U.S. Marine Corps on St. Patrick’s Day, 1943. He went to boot camp in Paris Island, S.C. and to further training in Jacksonville, Fla. where he learned to be a radioman and rear gunner in Marine fighter planes, graduating as a corporal. He was then selected to attend navigator/bombarder school in Quantico, Va. where he was promoted to sergeant.
After completing his training, he flew to the South Pacific theater during W.W. II where he served in Marine Squadron VMB-413 flying in and navigating the PBJ (B-25 Mitchell) bomber. He participated in many missions, including the Battle of the Solomon Islands and the invasion of the Philippines for which he was awarded four Battle Stars, nine Air Medals, and two Distinguished Flying Crosses.
Irwin earned his college degrees, including a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Missouri, from which he was awarded the College of Arts and Science Distinguished Alum Award in 1998. While at Missou, in the early 1860s, Irwin met his future wife Verda, who had just been discharged from the WWII Women’s Army Corp (WAC) as a staff sergeant. The couple worked with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNIC) to conduct sits-ins at lunch counters in Columbia where people of color were not served. The couple continued to actively promote civil rights throughout their careers.
Sociology was Dr. Deutscher’s career and he taught as a professor at Syracuse University, Case Western Reserve University, and the University of Akron where he is currently Professor Emeritus. He is the author of nine books and over a hundred articles and book review.
A single-handed sailer for most of his life, Irwin has sailed the American coasts, the Great Lakes, and the Baltic Sea. After retirement, he particularly enjoyed exploring and sailing the Chesapeake Bay. He currently plays clarinet and saxophone in several Washington area ensembles.
Irwin has two daughters and two grandchildren.