Aquatics coordinator Terence Irvis remembered as a 'can do' person

Many people on Queen Anne will be saddened to learn of the death of Terence Irvis, longtime aquatics coordinator at the Queen Anne Pool. He died of kidney and liver failure on Nov. 27, at the age of 42.

Mr. Irvis worked for Seattle Parks and Recreation for more than 20 years, most of them at the Queen Anne Pool. Deborah Artis, president of the Queen Anne Advisory Council, met him in the 1980s when he was a lifeguard there. "He was wonderful," she said. "Very personable, outgoing and genuine."

She worked with him closely over the years, always brainstorming. "He'd sit back, cross his arms, listen and think," Artis recalled. "Everything was 'can do' with Terence. He never said no to anyone's ideas, and he was very creative himself."

Artis cites many programs that Mr. Irvis initiated and are now being copied citywide: two competitive swimming programs, a diving program, a lifeguard training program, a physical rehabilitation program for professional athletes, as well as the ever-popular Dog Days.

Right before the pool is closed and drained for maintenance, it is taken over by canines for a couple of hours. First they are inspected and rinsed by officials from Animal Control; then they race around the pool and perform splashy bellyflops, playing fetch with their owners. Participants in Dog Day have included Mr. Irvis' own beloved Rottweiler, Cortez.

Naty Acierto has worked as a cashier at the Queen Anne Pool for six years. "Terence was the best boss I've ever had," she said. "I'll never forget how comfortable he made me on my very first day.

"He was our clown," she continued. "The kids loved him.

"He acted like a kid himself when he was with them," Acierto added.

Julie Whitehorn is one of many parents whose young children learned to swim from Irvis and his staff. "He was a lovely man," Whitehorn said. "Our hearts are broken."

"He was like a brother to many people," said Sheree Seretse, assistant recreation center coordinator at Queen Anne Community Center. "He was to me. His spirit will always be with me."

"It's such a hole," said Artis of Mr. Irvis' passing. "A hole in the community, a hole in our lives."

Besides aquatics, Mr. Irvis was passionate about outdoor activities, including skiing, golfing, camping, boating and motorcycling.

He is survived by his wife Fahm, son Kaili, daughter Aviele and stepson Calvin, as well as his parents, three siblings and their families.

Donations in memory of Terence Irvis may be made to the New Life Church, 15711 152nd Ave. S.E., Renton, WA 98058; and the Austin Foundation, 1918 Terry Ave., Seattle, WA 98101.

Mr. Irvis was a mentor and trainer with the Austin Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides fitness training, health education and nutrition-awareness programs for Seattle youth.

If I may close on a personal note: My children also learned to swim from Terence. They are now teenagers, but we will always remember how Terence reassuringly persuaded them to be in the water on their own and not touch bottom.

He was there at a significant moment in their lives.

My condolences to his family.

Teru Lundsten, a resident of Queen Anne, is a freelance writer and frequent contributor to this paper and the Queen Anne News, an associate publication. She can be reached via email at the address[[In-content Ad]]