Irvine lost a true giant and pillar of our community with the passing of Joan Irvine Smith. A member of the family that founded the Irvine Ranch, Smith was the only child of James Irvine Jr. and his wife Athalie Richardson Irvine Clarke. Smith was an environmental activist and philanthropist who was instrumental in the establishment and advancement of UC Irvine. She served as director of the Irvine Co., where she was a strong proponent for the City of Irvine’s master plan and the preservation of animal habitat on the ranch.
“Our hearts are heavy upon learning of the passing of Joan Irvine Smith,” said Irvine Mayor Christina Shea. “She will always be remembered as a visionary who understood the value of establishing a research university in Irvine and the importance of preserving the environment. Our thoughts, prayers, and sincere condolences go out to the Irvine family.”
Smith also founded The Irvine Museum, a free public museum that has provided educational opportunities for elementary school students in Orange County, organized 17 traveling displays to Europe and the United States, and published 21 books about the California school of impressionism.
The Irvine family requests that in lieu of flowers, gifts in memory of Joan Irvine Smith may be given to: UCI Institute and Museum for California Art Joan Irvine Smith Fund UCI Foundation 100 Theory, Suite 250 Irvine, California 92617 Mission San Juan Capistrano's on-going preservation at: Mission San Juan Capistrano 26801 Ortega Highway San Juan Capistrano, California 92675