Sara Irvin learned how to water ski when she was a young woman. Her family enjoyed Lake Allatoona and occasionally skied on Lake Rabun in North Georgia.
Mrs. Irvin skied well into her 80s.
“I told her I thought she was nuts,” chuckles Bess Hopkins of Athens, Mrs. Irvin’s second cousin. “She just laughed and kept on going.”
When she stopped completely, it wasn’t for lack of stamina or desire. “Know why she quit?” asked her son, Michael Davis of Atlanta. “My stepfather has Parkinson’s disease and she was worried about him. She said, ‘If something happens to me, who is going to take care of him?’ She could have skied two or three years longer. She didn’t just ski, she slalomed, too.”
Sara Lacy “Sally” Irvin, 85, of Marietta, died July 31 of nonsmoker’s lung cancer at her home. A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday in the Canton Hill chapel of H.M. Patterson & Son in Marietta, which is handling arrangements.
Mrs. Irvin was raised in Albany where her parents ran a dairy farm. She graduated from Albany High School, them moved in the 1950s to College Park because her father took a job in aviation.
After marriage, Mrs. Irvin settled down to raise three children in College Park, her home for nearly four decades. When the children grew older, the divorced, single mom entered college. She earned a bachelor’s degree in interior design at Georgia State University.
“None of her other friends did that,” said Sara Lanier of Jonesboro, who lived across the street from Mrs. Irvin in College Park at the time. “I know I didn’t. It was a wonderful thing that she did.”
Mrs. Irvin’s cousin was the late Noah Langdale Jr., Georgia State’s president from 1957 to 1988. He made the graduation ceremony special, said her daughter, Jennifer Powell of Charlotte, N.C., because he presented Mrs. Irvin with her degree.
“I was proud of her,” Mrs. Powell said. “Growing up, we ate a bunch of Pop Tarts because she was always studying. She made the dean’s list.”
Mrs. Irvin was a petite woman who embraced fashion. Every little ribbon, every little bow matched perfectly, said her cousin, Mrs. Hopkins.
“She was very neat,” she said, and just liked things to match so, consequently, when she selected things they were ideal.”
“She always looked like something from a magazine,” her son said. “I’d always tell her she got way more than her share of talent. She was a good cook, a good decorator and an excellent dresser.”
Mrs. Irvin and her husband, Robert, were married in 1976. In recent years, they enjoyed their summer getaway on Lake Allatoona and also traveled extensively — Hawaii, California, Europe and elsewhere.
In addition to her husband and daughter, survivors include two sons, Bill Davis of Martinez and Rob Irvin of New York City; and two grandchildren.
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.