FALLS CHURCH, VA — The Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors (PHCC) Educational Foundation announced that Raymond R. "Dick" Irwin passed away on Monday evening at the age of 93.

When Irwin first proposed the creation of the PHCC Educational Foundation in 1985, he worked tirelessly to get the industry support required to get the organization off the ground. His vision was the creation of a PHCC organization dedicated to serve the industry with a sole focus on education, but the response was often wary. Even the two candidates for PHCC election that year, John Ward and David Fox, both opposed it. Undeterred, Irwin concluded the proposal had been brought too quickly and that PHCC members and leaders needed a fuller understanding of what a Foundation would do and not do, since some worried that its role might compete with the association rather than complement it. He developed a “Why a Foundation” paper, and he and members of the executive committee talked about the proposal at every opportunity on the state and national levels.

“Whenever there was a question or a concern, we immediately addressed it,” he said. One example is that Irwin sought out the newly elected John Ward and in a private one-to-one conversation, laid out his arguments for the Foundation. Ward listened and changed his mind, joining those early supporters. In the end, both Ward and Fox became strong supporters.

Through his influence and efforts, the creation of the PHCC Educational Foundation was approved at the 1986 PHCC Annual Meeting and Convention in San Francisco. The next year, in 1987, he started his term as co-chair of the new Foundation and served until 1991.

The Foundation family sends their condolences to the Irwin family with gratitude on behalf of the countless people who have benefitted from Dick Irwin's vision and actions 35+ years ago.