A sailor during World War II assigned to the Mediterranean North African war zones, Irwin was recruited to attend the officer-training program with full scholarship at Princeton.
Irwin met the love of his life, Wakako, in Japan. He was an officer on a minesweeper during the Korean War. Hugo and Wakako married in Yokohama, Japan, Feb. 14, 1951.
Irwin enjoyed more than 25 years of great Naval service. He served active duty in three wars: World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. He received 11 medals and citations and loved being in the Navy and “seeing the world.” After Irwin retired as a lieutenant commander in 1968, he earned two master’s degrees and a teaching credential, and taught for many years as a beloved middle school teacher.
Irwin and Wakako traveled extensively throughout the United States, Europe, Canada, and Japan. He assisted his wife’s Japanese poetry and flower-arranging organizations. He was a loyal, loving husband, a responsible father of three, and a generous grandfather of five.
Irwin died Feb. 25, 2019, in San Diego, Calif., at 96. In an early journal he wrote of Princeton University, “Of the school, its professors and its curriculum or its standards … for this I am eternally grateful for whatever lifted my soul another plateau with a Princeton education.”