June Allison Irvine (June 23rd, 1945 - August 1st, 2023) knew firsthand that a college degree was not a given for everyone. After all, it was not until well into her adult life that she earned her BS in information technology from Granite State College in 2004, followed by an MBA in 2008 from St. Joseph’s College in Standish, ME, where she served for 16 years as an adjunct faculty member.
Spurred by her own life experience, June encouraged her undergraduate St. Joseph students, especially those from financially tenuous backgrounds, to stay the course. In her final position as Program Manager for Academic Support Initiatives, she mentored and encouraged many students, giving them the final push they needed to cross the finish line. She fortified those students with more than just platitudes covered with frosting and sprinkles; those treats she saved for the celebration cakes that she made to rejoice over the joyful achievements of the race well run.
June and her husband of 42 years, Robert G. Irvine, met in the late 1970s while working at a security firm headquartered outside of Boston. However, it was Maine that they would call home for 27 years. First settling in Lovell, June served as Town Administrator in nearby Fryeburg. Part of the job’s responsibilities included officiating at town hall weddings. She loved that. In 2005, they moved to Standish when June began working at St. Joseph’s.
Born in New Bedford, MA, June moved with her parents (Vincent B. Allison and Zelda Lackey Allison) and three siblings to the North Shore of Chicago in 1952. “Vin and Zee” were musicians, performers, and teachers, and they assumed that each child would play an instrument. The parents had high hopes for a family “orchestra,” with mom on the piano, June on viola, and the other kids playing flute, trumpet, and French horn. That lasted just one summer, but June’s joy in making music never waned. She sang in choirs, played the piano, acted in musicals, taught herself the guitar, and in recent years was a stalwart member of Dana Reed’s, Sebago Lakes Ukulele Society, fondly known as the SL’Ukes. Mr. Reed recalled how June’s enthusiasm for the group led her to become an integral part of it. He was delighted and surprised when one of their rehearsals fell on his birthday, and there was June with a cake . . . and, of course, sprinkles.
June and Bob loved to travel around the United States and made a point of walking in each of the 50 states. In recent years that was often done with their stalwart companion, and sweet “Little Boy,” Milo, “the pup.” He was one of many beloved dogs and cats June had over the years. An ardent animal lover, she made sure her home always had “furry companions.”
Especially beloved by June were her many grandchildren, nieces, and nephews. She and Bob never missed an opportunity to celebrate their birthdays and graduations or Christmas and Valentine’s Day. June had a stash of appropriately festive cards and plenty of stamps. She and Bob would weekly review the anniversary list, and off Bob would go to the post office. The cards ALWAYS arrived on time, if not early!
June died at Newton-Wellesley Hospital on August 1st from complications of a stroke she suffered in January 2021. She was surrounded by three generations of family, who said prayers and sang “Amazing Grace. “Playing June’s favorite music on their phones, family members shared fond memories about the woman who used her one life to share her joy and affirmation of life’s sweetness with all those she met.
June is greatly missed by the family she loved so dearly, including her husband Robert G. Irvine, her daughters and sons-in-law Kristin and Bill Shreeve and Allison and Raveen Sharma, her stepchildren and in-laws Paula and Barry Reopell, Brian and Suzanne Irvine, and Lisa Settlemyre, and her ten grandchildren. In addition, June is survived by her sister Linda Allison Haslach, her brothers and sisters-in-law Blake and Nancy Allison and Taber Allison and Pamela Hathaway, and many nieces, nephews, and cousins.
Burial will take place in a private family ceremony on August 18th at Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, MA. A memorial service celebrating June's life will be held on September 9th, 2023, at 11:00am at the United Parish of Auburndale, 64 Hancock St., Newton, MA, 02466. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to one of June's favorite charities, ChildFund International, or to your local humane society.