Irvin David Molotsky passed away on Tuesday, February 21, 2023, at the age of 84, having contracted COVID and then suffering heart failure soon thereafter. It was a swift decline and he did not suffer. His wife of 63 years, Iris, and his daughters, Ellen and Michele, were able to be at his side.
Irv was born in Camden, New Jersey in 1938. He loved high school and was voted both class clown and class wit. He’s remained active in his high school alumni association. Camden played a significant role in his life and was constantly writing a book about his hometown.
He attended Temple University and graduated with a degree in business. He wasn’t particularly interested in business but it was the only degree that didn’t require classes in a foreign language. At Temple, he met his life’s two loves: his wife Iris and the newspaper business.
While in college, his great friend, Paul Levy, got Irv a job as a copyboy at the Philadelphia Inquirer, and a newspaperman was born. Later, when the Inquirer was on strike, Irv had picket duty with Paul and Grace Madley who had a lovely niece, Iris! They got married in 1960.
One of Irv’s first newspaper jobs was with the Trentonian where he got in trouble for an opinion piece endorsing John F. Kennedy. He made his way to Newsday and eventually to the New York Times. Irv held various reporting and editing positions at the Times including the Metro desk, Long Island Bureau Chief, and several assignments in Washington, DC.
Irv’s first front page byline was a 1977 piece about a law prohibiting eating in public on Fire Island, N.Y. Other stories ranged from a butterfly farm on Long Island to the death of Pope Paul VI, which occurred when the family was vacationing in Rome. Irv also coordinated the Times’ coverage of the Democratic and Republican Conventions twice.
After retiring from the New York Times in 2000, Irv took a part-time job as a substitute editor at the International Herald Tribune in both Hong Kong and Paris. This opportunity led Irv and Iris to buy an apartment in Paris where they’d spend half the year and were often gracious hosts to family and friends.
Irv and Iris frequently traveled which allowed Irv to taste beer and contribute to “Irv’s World Beer Tour.” They particularly loved Italy although Irv wasn’t enamored of the beer there. So, he drank red wine.
Irv was generous, respectful, and kind to family, friends, and strangers. His impact on people was substantial, yet he remained a humble man. He taught us to appreciate nature, all creatures great and small, and that war is not healthy for children and other living things. He was knowledgeable in many things, thanks to a curious mind. He deeply loved his wife, two daughters, and three grandchildren Katie, Troy, and Sam, who loved and respected him greatly.
Celebrations of life are being planned for later this month or early April.