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He was the top money/numbers guy for years with the Minneapolis School District and the Minnesota Historical Society, but those who knew him said William "Chuck" Irrgang was anything but the stereotypical accountant.

He collected classic cars, including Corvettes, for example, and took pride in his service in Vietnam as a U.S. Marine. Just a couple of years ago he bought a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. He was a history buff and loved language as well.

"He could do the New York Times crossword puzzle in ink," said his wife, Marie. "Not only did he love numbers, but he loved words."

Irrgang, of Stillwater, died April 23 of a stroke. He was 63.

From 1989 to 2005, Irrgang served as finance director for Minneapolis schools. A graduate of what is now Minnesota State University, Mankato, Irrgang developed a reputation for honesty and candor along the roller coaster ride that is school finance, where cutting budgets can be as big a part of the job as building them up.

"He did budget," said former Minneapolis school board member Judy Farmer. "He was very competent. ... You knew that with Chuck he was always going to tell you what it really was; he wasn't going to gloss over the problems."

In 2005, though, the frustrations of the job, as well as the departure of former interim superintendent David Jennings, convinced Irrgang to sign on as the chief financial officer with the Minnesota Historical Society, at an $8,000-a-year pay cut.

"He worked in the public sector, and he was absolutely committed to transparency and accountability in everything we did," said former society interim executive director Michael Fox. "So, he was a perfect match for the institution. We pride ourselves on having clean audits year in and year out."

Fox said Irrgang turned his regional interest in his Nicollet, Minn., roots into a broader appreciation of history.

"He was very interested in military history and, more recently, in Civil War history," Fox said.

"He was an avid reader and a big Civil War buff," said Marie Irrgang. "His hero was Abraham Lincoln."

In addition to his wife, Irrgang is survived by his father, Lyman Irrgang, of St. Peter; a son, Mitch Irrgang, of Pinedale, Wyo.; two daughters, Melissa Line, of Minneapolis, and Amanda Irrgang, of Bloomington; stepsons Brian Holen, of Minneapolis, and Kyle Holen, of Lake Forest, Ill.; stepdaughter Shelley Eisele, of Lake Elmo; two sisters, Barbara Rathoff, of Newport News, Va., and Kelley Hidalgo, of Hamilton, Va.; a brother, Robert Barnes, of Simpsonville, S.C., and 10 grandchildren.

Memorial services will be held at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Bradshaw Celebration of Life Center, 2800 Curve Crest Blvd., Stillwater.

Norman Draper • 612-673-4547