Obituary of Irwin Herschel Noparstak
Born to Jacob and Sarah (Soble) Noparstak, July 2, 1939 in Chicago, IL. Died October 18, 2023 from complications of stroke.
Irwin attended the University of Chicago and the University of Michigan for his undergraduate studies and received his MD from the University of Illinois at Chicago. After serving as a psychiatrist with the United States Army in Vietnam, Irwin spent a year traveling throughout Mexico, then moved to Eugene, OR, in 1971. In Eugene, Irwin developed innovative psychotherapy work, initially as a director of the Whitebird Clinic, where he came up with the concept that later became the mobile crisis intervention van CAHOOTS (Crisis Assistance Helping Out On The Streets). Later, he was a founding member of Eugene Psychological Services, which later became the Center for Psychological Services. His career as a therapist was devoted to serving people who often lacked access to care, including veterans, people with HIV, and survivors of sexual abuse and other forms of trauma. Irwin served on numerous boards, among them serving as board president for the Religious Response Network and the Center for Family Development. He is remembered as a beloved and revered mentor in the mental health field and a respected elder in the Jewish community.
He was a constant and cherished friend to many people, blending a cantankerous wit and unflinchingly insightful directness with remarkable empathy and compassion. Irwin was known as an effective and principled community organizer in a wide range of social justice advocacy efforts, including campaigning for alternatives to militarism, bringing a traveling replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial to Eugene, standing up to hate with the Community Alliance of Lane County, and working with the interfaith Religious Response Network to defend and expand the rights of LGBTQIA+ people.
He enjoyed travel, photography, and music, for many years attending and supporting the Eugene Bach Festival and University of Oregon Chamber Music Series. He was well known for the greeting cards that he crafted from his photographs and sent with messages of love and encouragement or gave to people blank as gifts. Irwin is survived by wife Joan Bayliss; daughter Jacqueline Noparstak, daughter-in-law Andrea, and granddaughter Sophie; and son Dagan Bayliss, daughter-in-law Holly, and grandson Toren.
A funeral service will be held on Tuesday, October 24 at 10:00 a.m. at Temple Beth Israel in Eugene, OR. A private burial will follow. Memorial donations can be made to the Temple Fund of Temple Beth Israel or to the Community Alliance of Lane County.