Willis Orr


Funeral services for 97-year old Willis Orr are Saturday, September 17, 2022, at 10:30 at Pleasant Point Community Church, south of Gordon, NE, near Ellsworth, NE.

Inurnment will follow at 2:00 in the Fairview Cemetery in Rushville.

A memorial has been established for Pleasant Point Community Church or the Rushville Volunteer Rural Fire Department and donations may be sent to Chamberlain-Pier Funeral Home, PO Box 366, Gordon, NE 69343.

Online condolences may be left at chamberlainchapel.com

Willis Delbert Orr was born on September 22, 1924, to Chris and Lydia Orr in Alliance, NE, and passed August 6th, 2022, at Pioneer Manor in Hay Springs, NE.

Willis grew up on the family ranch north of Green Lake and east of Pine Creek that was homesteaded by the Spoor family, purchased by his grandfather Jefferson Orr, and developed by Jefferson and his son Chris.  The nearest town was Rushville, roughly 34 miles north and west of the ranch.  

Willis attended grade school at the one-room rural School District 133 and participated in all the normal activities of ranch life from working animals with horses to putting up hay with horse-drawn equipment.  He also experienced the conversion from horse to machine.   

Willis attended high school in Rushville and developed a love of music playing saxophone. He met the love of his life while in high school, Betty Jean Nehren, and they were married on July 4, 1944. 

Willis had many interests from music, plant ID, astronomy, reading, and sports including bowling and golf.  

He served his community in many capacities including the District 133 school board, 4-H Club advisor and instructor, Church board and multiple other positions at Pleasant Point Community Church, and he was elected to the ASCS County Committee for numerous terms.

Following his retirement in the early 1990’s and Betty’s passing in 1993, Willis lived on the ranch until around 2013 when he began rotating among his kids’ homes. After 3 years, Dad moved into Pioneer Manor in Hay Springs where he lived until his passing just 50 days short of his 98th birthday. 

What an amazingly varied and interesting life for “just another old rancher from those outback Sandhills in Nebraska”.

Willis was preceded in passing by his father Chris, mother Lidia, and two brothers, Keith, and Wayne.

Willis is survived by his four children, Carol (Keith) Krotz, Loren (Sue) Orr, Richard (Maggie) Orr, Kathy (Lonnie) Zlomke, nine grandchildren, and 12 great grandchildren.

Chamberlain-Pier Funeral Home of Gordon is in charge of arrangements for Willis Orr.

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