Rex Lee Irwin was an electrical lineman and served 6 years in the Kansas National Guard. More than anything though he was devoted to “taking care of his girls.”
Rex was born December 6, 1952 to Harold (Sam) and Bertha (Yarnell) Irwin in Chanute, KS. He passed away July 24, 2020 in Wichita, KS. He is survived by his wife of 36 years, Denise (Hiebert) Irwin, his daughter Jacqueline Irwin, PhD., an extended loving family, and his life-long friend and fishing buddy, Mark McClure. Rex graduated Circle High, Towanda, KS in 1970.
He was proud of being an electrical lineman and having worked for KG&E / Westar for forty years, first as a card-carrying union member journeyman lineman. As he always said he was “cursed with leadership,” he then moved into management in 1999 in Arkansas City and then Lawrence, finishing his career as the Southwest Regional Director in Wichita, KS in 2013. He most enjoyed taking convoys of crews to the hurricanes and blizzards knowing that he was helping people in need. He had many stories to tell and retell for their adventures.
Post retirement, Rex taught future lineman at Pratt Community College for two years. He then returned to a love of his youth in riding and restoring motorcycles. He developed lasting friendships with a group of riders as they went on weekly rides to small towns to eat lunch and cross-country excursions. He also bought a fishing boat, Justified, and went fishing with his good friend, Mark. They mostly left the fish alone and spent their days talking. Rex was known for his skill in smoking ribs and cooking in general, a skill he learned at his mother’s side and passed on to his daughter.
Denise and he enjoyed traveling and took a trip of a lifetime to Tanzania in 2016 as well as trips to Ireland, the UK, Germany, Canada, France, and Costa Rica. The family enjoyed spending many a Thanksgiving in Key West. They first bought Wichita Shockers season tickets in 1984 and have remained loyal fans since, including traveling with the Shockers as well as to the Final Four.
Due to Covid restrictions, a private memorial service will be held. A memorial fund is being established for vocational scholarships at Butler Community College. Cards and gifts may be directed to Carlson Colonial Funeral Home, 200 S. Star, El Dorado, 67042. Please sign his online guestbook and leave a memory of Rex at www.carlsoncolonial.com
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Vocational Scholarships c/o Butler Community College Foundation
901 S. Haverhill, El Dorado KS 67042