Irving MacDowell

Obituary of Irving Eden MacDowell

Irving (Irv) Eden MacDowell, resident of Princeton, NJ and Pawcatuck, CT died unexpectedly on February 15, 2019.  He was 74. 


Irv was born in New Brunswick, NJ in 1944 to Irving and Ruth MacDowell.  He graduated from New Brunswick High School a proud ‘Zebra’, was a camp counselor at Knollwood Country Day Camp as well as Camp Treetops in Lake Placid, NY and also worked at E.J. Korvettes where he honed his acting skills by using his melodious voice to announce sales and store specials.  But it was his love of education that drew him to attend Trenton State College graduating with a degree in English Studies, and onto a 38-year career teaching English literature and other subjects at Franklin High School in Somerset, NJ.  Upon his retirement from Franklin High he continued to teach, spending 8 years teaching writing at Bucks County Community College in Newtown, PA and working a brief stint as a substitute teacher at the John Witherspoon Middle School in Princeton, NJ.  By all accounts, Irv was born to teach.  His intelligence, sense of humor, quick wit, sarcasm, kindness, love of books and reading and his respect for the lifelong value of education made him an influential and thought provoking teacher.  Irv, in the words of his many former students, was a life force who touched more lives than he could have imagined, made learning what could have been boring and mundane entertaining and enjoyable, was a vital spirit, a class act, and a beautiful soul who is alive in every student he changed.


Outside of teaching, Irv had a rich and happy life living in Cranbury, Lambertville and Princeton, NJ,  and then most recently imbibed in his love of the sea and boats in Pawcatuck, CT where he would fish or spin an occasional yarn and a cocktail with his father-in-law.   Irv was a prolific writer and spent many hours musing and waxing in lengthy Facebook posts on issues such as education, politics, cooking, sailing and offering his reflections and observations about the world and culture.  He was a lover of history, literature and long conversations that went well into the night with many a bartender, friend, and barfly.  He was one of Lambertville’s original Handsome Men, and a founding member of the He-Man Woman Hater’s Club of Lambertville NJ later renamed the Visigoth Horde of Lambertville NJ.  Irv was a nappy dresser, a playwright, actor and storyteller, a Delaware River rower and rowing teacher, an avid Jeopardy viewer, and a master of NY Times crossword puzzles among his too many to mention hobbies and interests, but he maintained a life long love affair with wooden boats, fly fishing, ocean sailing, hats, dogs, cowboy television shows and reading.  He was a great and wonderful man, a faithful friend, an enamored spouse, a loving brother, a true salt of the Earth, and upstanding human being.


Irv is preceded in death by his father, Irving Higgins MacDowell, his mother Ruth Eden MacDowell, and nephew Richard MacDowell, Jr.  Irv is survived by his wife, Kathy Krepcio of Princeton, NJ and Pawcatuck, CT; his brother Richard W. MacDowell and his wife Barbara of East Brunswick, NJ; his sister Louise Cassino and her husband Richard of Lambertville, NJ; his nephew Jonathon Cassino of Yardley, PA and his niece Patricia Kastner and husband Chris of Milltown, NJ as well as countless other family and friends, former teaching colleagues, and former students who will deeply miss his remarkable wit, laughter and extraordinary capacity to engage everyone who met him.  “Sail on, Sailor, Sail on”.


A memorial gathering and celebration of his life will be held Sunday, March 3, 2019 from 1 – 4 pm at the Prallsville Mills in Stockton, NJ.

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