It is with great sadness that I must report the passing of Irwin R. Vogel. Irwin was a Director of the Society and one of the most senior members of Western Cover Society holding membership #300.
Irwin’s family came to California during the depression. His father was in charge of a ladies shoe department in one of Los Angles’ largest department stores. After high school Irwin’s love of photography landed him a job in a small camera shop next to Grohman’s Chinese Theater. It was at that location that he crossed paths with many of the Hollywood stars of the day. When WW2 broke out Irwin took a job to support the war effort as a blue print reproducer for Lockheed Aircraft and after several months volunteered for the Navy where he soon found himself in Hawaii hanging out of airplanes shooting pictures of the ships and planes of the US Fleet. As a young sailor station on Ford Island, a few yard from the sunken USS Arizona, he met Mary Frances who was aviation mechanic working on fighter aircraft engines. They married shortly after.
After the war Irwin established a business based on the purchase of bulk surplus tools that were then resold to individuals. A love of western history would soon lead to the purchase of the first of many western covers. His accumulation of material increased along with his understanding of the mails. Always a wheeler-dealer by nature He would rather trade than sell you a cover. I met with Irwin on July 24 and we traded covers. I told my wife that Irwin had gotten the best of me; we had a great time. He passed a few days later on July 27.
I first meet Him at stamp show in Chicago in 1986. He told me that I should join Western Cover Society if I was serious about collecting covers and really wanted to have a good time. Most society members do not know how much Mr. Vogel supported the Western Cover Society through the years and in his passing. I will always remember how he would stop and give some money and a few kind words to people on the streets as we would return from dinner in San Francisco. When I ask him why, he replied that he had enough and they needed it. That was the kind of man he was, kind and generous. I will miss his friendship.