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Obituary: Irving Korwin

Irving Korwin
August 18, 1920 – April 3, 2020

The nation lost another of its rapidly disappearing WWII veterans
with the loss of our Dad, Irving Korwin
Sergeant, U.S. Army Air Corps

Dear family, friends and associates,

Please enjoy your precious time this Memorial Day, May 25, 2020,
and remember what the day honors. Our Dad served and survived World War Two,
in secret service while training our early air forces in the use of radar
from a covert base in Florida.

On April 3, 2020, this country lost a great American. Sadly, our beloved Dad, Irving Korwin fondly known as “Radar Irv” for his top-secret role with radar in the Army Air Corps during WWII, passed away peacefully in his sleep at the age of 99-1/2 in Paradise Valley, Ariz.

Irving was a fabulous great grandfather, grandfather, father, father-in-law, uncle, husband, teacher, mentor, diamond setter, jeweler, businessman, colleague, philanthropist, certified gemologist, numismatist and inventor. He traveled the world in search of rare and beautiful places and knew how to take time to enjoy living. He’s credited with pioneering, developing and building the largest and finest line of coin jewelry available anywhere and left an indelible mark on the global jewelry market.

My brother Alan and I and our families appreciate what so many people have done in the past that added color and meaning to Dad’s life. Each of you in your own way were special to him. It was a two-way street -- his entrepreneurship at its peak employed 113 people, he donated to worthy causes constantly, and enjoyed a wide circle of contacts and friends. He is missed.

Born August 18, 1920 into the Great Depression, young Irving made his way with two close friends Manny and Marty, his dear Mom Dina, a step Dad before he was five, and grinding poverty, until the war broke out and he enlisted right away with those two buddies. When he heard “Pearl Harbor!” shouted from an apartment window in the Bronx, he knew immediately where it was and what it meant. He recounts his childhood, the war years and his role in it, finding a woman (our Mom, a red-head like the four of us!), and the decades long growth of his business and world travels in an autobiography he always promised to write. Replete with 50 pages of pictures back to 1892 family portraits, and images he took while in service, The Autobiography of Irving Korwin was completed at age 97, in 2018.

Due to the pandemic, we were unable to have a proper funeral service or Shiva but did arrange Dad’s burial in a timely way next to his wife Shirley of 61 years. Military honors (it was his wish to have the 21-gun salute he had earned) have been postponed nationally, and along with a memorial will be held at a time to be announced.

We could not accompany Dad back to his final resting place in New York,
but we were blessed in being able to get him there in a timely way.
Dad was always fond of and supported the USO, which is there for our troops and was good to him when he served, a fitting place for donations if you are so inclined.

With love, peace and wishes for good health,
Richard Korwin and family
Alan Korwin and family


Irving Korwin, WWII Vet and Founder of Wideband, Dies at 99
By Michelle Graff

April 17, 2020

Irving Korwin, left, with his son Richard at the 24 Karat Club banquet in New York in January 1999. The World War II veteran and longtime jeweler died April 3 at the age of 99; he would have celebrated his 100th birthday in August. (Photo courtesy of Richard Korwin)

New York -- Irving Korwin, a World War II veteran and founder of Wideband Coin Jewelry, died earlier this month of natural causes at his home in Paradise Valley, Arizona.

He was 99 years old.

Korwin was born on Aug. 18, 1920 in the Bronx, New York City, the son of Eastern Europeans who immigrated to the United States through Ellis Island.

He was raised during the Great Depression and entered World War II as an enlisted soldier right after the bombing of Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.

He served with top-secret clearance, training pilots and military VIPs on the use of radar and radar countermeasures at a base in Florida. Radar was credited with serving a pivotal role in the eventual victory of the Allied forces in both the European and Pacific theaters.

His role in the war effort earned him the nickname “Radar Irv.”

In 1951, Korwin started Wideband Coin Jewelry in New York, a company known for its creative charms that sometimes incorporated coins and, later, specialized in fine karat gold jewelry. [Note: Eventually, the company specialized in jewelry with coins, literally creating an industry segment that had not previously existed.]

Clients included Bergdorf Goodman in New York and B.C. Clark Jewelers in Oklahoma City.

He worked alongside both his sons for a period, and eventually son and daughter-in-law Richard and Sharyn Korwin. Over the years the firm created jewelry for a number of famous Americans, including Elvis Presley and former President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

He was a longtime American Gem Society supplier member, a member of the American Numismatic Association -- the nonprofit dedicated to the study and collecting of coins -- and a 40-year member of the prestigious 24 Karat Club of the City of New York. He was the club’s oldest member at the time of his passing.

A Wideband ad from an October 1959 edition of
The New York Times (Photo courtesy of Richard Korwin)

Korwin retired from the jewelry industry in 1994 and moved to Boynton Beach, Fla., with his wife, Shirley, who passed away in 2009.

He moved to Arizona in 2016 to be near his other son, Alan Korwin.

In 2017, he penned his first book, “The Autobiography of Irving Korwin.” Proceeds from the sale of the book benefit the USO.

As so many do in the industry, Korwin made a lot of friends along the way, and two of his closest were former National Jeweler publisher Milt Gralla, who died in 2012, and Morris Adwar, who passed away in 2018.

In a note to 24 Karat Club members, his son Richard expressed his family’s appreciation for all they had done for their patriarch.

“Each of you, in your own way, were special to him,” he wrote. “He will be missed.”

Korwin is survived by two sons and daughters-in-law, Richard and Sharyn, and Alan and Cheryl; four grandchildren, Arielle, Mariel, Spencer and Tyler; and four great-grandchildren, Calvin, Julius, Russell and Sloane.

Anyone wishing to express condolences to the family can contact Richard at or Alan at For copies of Korwin’s book, go to

The Autobiography of Irving Korwin
WWII Veteran with Top Secret Clearance
ISBN: 978-1-889632-44-5 • $19.95 • 198 pgs.
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About the Author

  • Freelance writer Alan Korwin is a founder and past president of the Arizona Book Publishing Association. With his wife Cheryl he operates Bloomfield Press, the largest producer and distributor of gun-law books in the country. Here writing as "The Uninvited Ombudsman," Alan covers the day's stories as they ought to read. Read more.

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