Obituary: Michael Irby of Washington DC

Photo of three men in suits standing in a community hall with a stage.

Michael Irby (center) with two of his fellow church members. Photo courtesy of a family friend.

Michael Irby of Washington, D.C., passed away in the early morning of July 26. He was 65 years old. He was preceded in death by his wife, Joyce Irby, who passed away on August 5, 2018.

Michael is survived by his brother Shawn Irby and his sister Celeste Irby, as well as his daughter Mikka Irby of North Carolina.

A memorial service will be held for Michael at 7 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 9 at All Nations Baptist Church on 2001 N Capitol St NE.

Michael was a well-respected and active member of his community. A long-time member of All Nations Baptist Church, he frequently attended Bible study, afternoon services, and church service on Sundays.

A talented musician, Michael also sang and played drums for his church’s choir. Those who knew him said he had an inspiring voice. He sang a beautiful tenor. And from time to time, he would dazzle congregants when he sat-in to play the drums.

It was in this church that Michael married his wife Joyce many years ago. He had often said she was the love of his life. Joyce’s death weighed heavy on Michael’s heart over the past year. He frequently thought of her and spoke to others about the love he had felt for her.

Photo of five people smiling together indoors.
Michael Irby (bottom-center) with his family. Photo courtesy of a family friend

Michael was the kind of person who welcomed everyone in his life into his family. Younger people who knew him called him “Uncle Mike” and liked to listen to him tell jokes. Others who knew him said they liked to refer to him as “Brother Mike.”

Darrel Hines, a fellow musician and church member was one of Michael’s closest friends. Together, they volunteered at church events, where they would serve those less fortunate than themselves. They had plans to move into a house together in Baltimore, Maryland, next month before Michael passed away.

Church was not the only place where Michael touched the lives of others. He was also part of another community in NoMa. For some time, Michael slept in a tent on a sidewalk alongside other neighborhood residents who did not have homes. He was similarly well known there for his charity. He had a reputation for being a trustworthy neighbor and loyal friend.

Michael would frequently help others find shelter when there was not any to be found. He helped secure and put together tents for those who could not do so for themselves. He often offered to look after others’ things when they were not around. And many people said they relied on him because he was so dependable.

Michael never let on that he needed anybody’s help, because he simply did not believe he was in need of any help himself. Instead, Michael wanted to give to others. And so, he did.

While Michael had slept in a tent on a sidewalk for the last year of his life, that was not where he lived.

Michael continues to impact the lives of those he had come across, even after his death. Many of them strive to live by his example.

Issues |Death|Encampments|Living Unsheltered

Region |Washington DC

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