Irvin Gorrell Speas, 98

Irvin Gorrell Speas, age 98, passed away quietly on Tuesday, May 7, 2024, with his daughter at his side.

He was born July 12, 1925, in Winston Salem, NC, to Herbert Lee Speas, Sr., and Ruby Lucille Davis Speas.

He was a member of the Oak Ridge First United Methodist Church since 1951. 

Irv graduated from High Point High School in North Carolina in 1946. He served two and one-half years during WWII in the U. S. Army Signal Corps, including one year in Europe as a Technician Sergeant. He then attended Duke University and graduated

in 1949 with a B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering. On June 7, 1949, the day after both graduated from Duke University, he married Rita Marie Shoaf in the Duke Chapel. 

The newlyweds moved to Charlotte, NC, where Irv worked for Duke Power Co. as a power plant design engineer. In 1951, Irvin, Rita, and young daughter, Patricia, moved to Oak Ridge, TN, where Irv went to work for Union Carbide in the Y-12 Plant Engineering Division, and their son, Gary, was born. Irv held the positions of Design Engineer; Piping Design Section Head; Plant Process Engineering Department Superintendent; Engineering Mechanics Department Superintendent; Engineering Consultant, UCC-ND Health, Safety, and Environmental Affairs; and Martin Marietta Energy Systems Safety Director. After retirement from Martin Marietta in 1990, Irv did consulting work for several local companies for six years. Irv and Rita enjoyed a long and happy marriage until Rita passed away on March 21, 2020, after which he relocated from Oak Ridge to Shalimar, Florida to be closer to his daughter. 

Irvin was preceded in death by his parents and brother, Herbert Lee Speas, Jr. 

Irvin is survived by his daughter, Patricia (“Tricia”) Speas Grinsted, and son-in-law, Albert (“Ace”) H. Grinsted, III; and his son, Gary Weldon Speas, and daughter-in-law, Rita Sugg Speas. He is also survived by 4 grandchildren: Jennifer Speas Pantleo, and husband, Phillip Pantleo; Justin Grinsted; Evan Grinsted; and Byron Speas; and 4 great-grandchildren: Collin Porter; Sawyer Porter; Dawson Porter; and Ryker Porter.

Irvin was an avid golfer and served many years on the Oak Ridge Country Club Board of Directors and as Club President. He and Rita also loved to attend high school football and basketball games, dance and travel, going to places all over the globe. In typical style, they won a jitterbug contest on a cruise at the age of 65!

A memorial service will be held for Irvin on Tuesday, May 28, 2024, at Weatherford Mortuary in Oak Ridge, TN. The family will receive visitors at noon, with the service at 1:00 P.M., and burial to follow immediately at Oak Ridge Memorial Park.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorials to the Keystone Adult Day Program at First United Methodist Church, 1350 Oak Ridge Turnpike, Oak Ridge, TN 37830.

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