James William Orr
James William Orr, 66, recently of Byron, IL, passed away peacefully on February 12, 2014, after a courageous battle with pancreatic cancer. He was born in Lackawanna, NY, on March 15, 1947 to James (Sr) and Hattie (Fischer) Orr. After graduation from Elmhurst High School, he served four years in the Navy on the USS Sea Lion. While attending the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana, he met Gynel Zumbahlen and they were married on June 12, 1971.
Jim worked as a Mechanical Engineer at Kysor of Byron for 3 years and as a Senior Project Engineer at WA Whitney in Rockford for 26 years, where he earned two technology patents. He then became an Engineering Technology Teacher at North Boone, Winnebago and Jefferson High Schools. At Rock Valley College, he was an adjunct teacher for adult technology courses and enrichment classes for high school students. He also worked as a Rapid Prototyping Specialist at EIGERlab in Rockford and as a Research Associate at Fermi lab in Botavia, IL.
He was a volunteer ambulance driver for the city of Byron for 4 years and a trustee for the Byron Fire Protection District for 16 years. He also volunteered for Habitat for Humanity and was an active member of St Mary’s Church in Byron.
Jim is survived by his wife, Gynel; son, Jame Orr (fiancé Christine Ryan) of Rockford, IL and daughter Karyn (Jeff) Engel of Columbus, WI; grandchildren, Alexxis Orr-Hodge, Brady Engel, Maicy Engel, Molly Engel, and soon to be Michael Ryan and Audrey Ryan; parents, James & Hattie Orr of Willoughby, OH; brother, Scott (Kari) Orr of Wheaton, IL; sisters, Sharon (Dan) Minjares of Painesville, OH and Janet Orr of Miami Beach, FL; nieces, Tatum Orr, Nicole Minjares and Christina Minjares; nephews, Aidan Orr and Connor Orr.
Funeral services will be held at Bethlehem Church, 300 Broadway Drive, Sun Prairie, WI on Saturday, February 15, 2014 at 11:00am with Pastor Charlie Brandt and Pastor Steve Vera officiating. A visitation will be held at the church on Saturday from 9:00am until the time of services. Private burial held at Sun Prairie Memory Garden Cemetery in Sun Prairie, WI at a later date. In lieu of flowers, a memorial fund has been established in memory of James Orr to further the education of his grandchildren. Contributions can be made or forwarded to Byron Bank, 200 N Walnut St in Byron, IL, 815-234-2561.
The family wishes to send a special thank you to Jim’s care team at Agrace Hospice and the doctors at UW-Hospital in Madison.
Jim always loved spending time with his grandchildren. They were his greatest joy and truly were his best medicine.
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