WILMINGTON — Ireland Upchurch was born in Lee County, N.C., to the late Kurley U. Upchurch and Sulu Campbell Upchurch.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by brothers, Waylon Upchurch and Arliss Upchurch.
Surviving relatives include his wife, Roselyn; daughters, Kathy Osbourn (Morgan) of Big Island, Va., Kelly Ackerman of Aiken, S.C.; son, retired U.S Army Lt. Col. Ireland S. Upchurch II (Janye) of Glen Allen, Va.; stepdaughter, Beth Travis of Knoxville, Tenn.; brothers, Avron Upchurch (Mary) of Sanford, N.C., Melvin Upchurch (Meta) of Sanford, N.C., Wyatt Upchurch (Mary) of Raeford, N.C.; and a sister, Doris Sanders of Fayetteville, N.C.
Ireland was a public school educator serving children as a teacher rising to the position of superintendent. In a second career, he served families as a funeral director. In later years he became a master gardener and volunteered at the New Hanover County Extension Plant Clinic on a regular basis.
He was a member of Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church, a longtime member of various Lions clubs, an honorary member of The Pilot Club of Wilmington, member of the Senior Men’s Club and a 32nd degree Mason. His passions through life were furniture refinishing and gardening.
A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 15, at Andrews Valley Chapel, 4108 S. College Road, Wilmington. The family will greet friends after the service at the New Hanover County Arboretum auditorium, 6206 Oleander Drive, Wilmington.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the New Hanover County Master Gardeners Volunteer Association (MGVA), 6206 Oleander Drive, Wilmington, NC 28403.