Devoted husband and family man, Irwin Ettinger passed away at Stamford Hospital in Stamford, CT on July 23rd, 2021.
Irwin was born on April 23rd, 1938 in Brooklyn, NY. Irwin graduated from City College of New York, and then attended Michigan State University on a teaching fellowship, graduating with a Master’s degree in 1959.
Irwin worked as a CPA at the Arthur Young accounting firm for almost 30 years, ultimately becoming the firm’s youngest senior partner. Among his many accomplishments there, he advised Geraldine Ferraro on her taxes during her historic 1984 vice-presidential campaign. Several years later, along with a small group of fellow finance executives, he helped build a small commercial lending company into global banking giant Citigroup, where he served as Chief Accounting Officer. He left Citigroup in 2002 to become Vice Chairman of Travelers, where he worked until he reluctantly retired in 2016. Throughout his career, Irwin was widely admired not just for his incredible work ethic and accounting acumen, but also for being the voice of reason in the room.
But Irwin was not just a leader in the business world. Over the past five decades, he also played an influential role in Stamford’s thriving Jewish community. He was a member of the Founder’s Committee of the Stamford Jewish Community Center. He served on the board of the JCC as Vice President and on the board of United Jewish Federation. And, most recently, he and Arlene were honored by the JCC with the “Arlene and Irwin Ettinger Legacy Award.” Irwin was a major philanthropist, giving generously to the community and academic institutions.
For all of his accomplishments, Irwin’s greatest accomplishment was his love for and devotion to his family. He married his wife Arlene in 1965 (the couple celebrated their 56th anniversary just two weeks ago). Shortly after having their first child Melissa, Irwin told Arlene that he wanted them to move to Stamford from Queens to provide the family with a better quality of life. Within a year of their move to Stamford in 1969, Irwin and Arlene had their second child Craig and then had their third child Rachel five years after that. Years later, Melissa would bring three grandchildren (Zoe, Matthew and Jason) into Irwin’s life, and Craig and wife Jessica would gift Irwin with two more (Josh and Sara).
While Irwin was known for being a bit of a workaholic, those who knew him best would say he was happiest when spending time with his wife and children.The greatest joy for him was being with his grandchildren, especially when it meant he got to cheer on (or commiserate over) his beloved Mets and Jets with family by his side.
A champion of the underdog, Irwin never turned down an opportunity to help someone else in need. He gave in both big ways and small, always from the heart and because he knew it was the right thing to do. With Irwin, there was never ego involved in anything he did. He loved putting a smile on the face of others, especially his wife, children and grandchildren. That’s why they are smiling now when they think of him.
A Funeral Service will be held at 11 am on Sunday (TODAY), July 25, 2021 at Temple Beth El Synagogue 350 Roxbury Rd Stamford, CT. The interment will follow at Agudath Sholom Cemetery 552 Westhill Rd, Stamford, CT. Memorial contributions in Irwin’s memory may be made to Congregation Agudath Sholom Synagogue 301 Strawberry Hill Ave Stamford, CT.
Funeral Arrangements are under the care of Thomas M. Gallagher Funeral Home 104 Myrtle Ave, Stamford. For more information, please visit www.gallagherfuneralhome.com