Charles E. Irby, 73, artist from Elkridge

Charles E. Irby, a retired insurance agent and draftsman for the Westinghouse Electric Corp. who did artwork as a volunteer for many organizations in the Elkridge area, died Monday at St. Agnes Hospital after an aneurysm burst.

The 73-year-old Elkridge resident retired in 1982 after operating his own Nationwide Insurance Agency in Elkridge for 20 years. Earlier, he had been a part-time agent for 10 years.


He retired in 1962 from Westinghouse after doing drafting art and engineering work for the company at several plants in the Baltimore area since the late 1930s.

Born in Hurt, Va., he graduated from the Hughes Memorial


School in Danville, Va. He attended Virginia Polytechnic Institute before coming to the Baltimore area.

He served in the Army Air Forces during World War II.

He began doing artwork as a child and was kept in during school recesses to do bulletin boards and drawings on the blackboards.

"He was a pleasure to be around," said Ed Albright, owner of an Elkridge tire business and a member of the Elkridge Kiwanis Club, which Mr. Irby headed several times.

"He will be greatly missed in the community," Mr. Albright said, noting that Mr. Irby would produce a sign for any organization that asked.

In retirement, Mr. Irby specialized in sketching caricatures of people, using their initials. He made quick sketches of the initials of friends or television performers such as Oprah Winfrey.

His works in the community included the picture of an Elk on an Elkridge "welcome" sign, an Uncle Sam float used in many parades, paintings of Grace Episcopal Church in Elkridge and Trinity Episcopal in Waterloo and the art for a bicentennial tribute to mathematician Benjamin Banneker.

He was a member of the Howard County Arts Council, the Elkridge Assembly Rooms and the Elkridge Heritage Society.


He also made political posters for Democratic and Republican candidates.

A memorial Mass was to be offered at 11 a.m. today at Grace Episcopal Church, Main Street and Brumbaugh Avenue, Elkridge.

Mr. Irby is survived by his wife, the former Margery Rosella Curtis; two daughters, Jane F. Allen of Melbourne, Fla., and Joyce A. Irby of Columbia; a son, James C. Irby of Elkridge; a sister, Gaynell Balter of Elkridge; and four grandchildren.