This is the story of Brian Angus Orr. Brian was a gentle curmudgeon with a quick wit and a full heart of gold, who was loved, is missed, and will always be cherished. Brian was a beloved husband, Dad and Grandpa and his culinary mastery of scrambled eggs, pineapple upside down cake and banana bread could not be topped. He took his last breath peacefully, on September 30, 2018. His only regret is that he didn’t get one last drive in his super-fast, blue Mustang.
Brian’s story begins on April 5, 1949, the second child to the late Everett Orr and Cleo (Simpson) Orr. He was born and raised in Byron, Michigan where he played football, basketball and baseball and was an all-around hunk in his small hometown. After high school he went to Olivet College in Olivet Michigan where he studied Political Science and was a member of the Phi Alpha Pi fraternity, graduating as part of the class of 1971. It was at a football game back in Byron later that year where he met a young high school teacher and his future wife, Diane Tack. On June 9, 1972 after a whirlwind romance, the two were married and began a family. After years of relocating due to job transfers, in 1982, they finally settled down in the town of Washington, IL.
Brian is survived by his wife of 46 years, Diane, his three daughters, Shannon (Jeremy) Ganzevoort, Adrianne (Josh) Yoder, and Heather (Chip) Paddock, and by his grandchildren, whom he adored: Eve, Annalies, Wendy, Lauren, Claire, Rachel, Elliot, Oliver, Zachary, Jacob, Gabriel, Isaiah and Isabella. His older sister, Janet and his younger brother, Duncan, along with many cousins and friends who loved him, also survive. He leaves behind his best pal, Lizzie, his 7-year-old Bassett Hound.
Brian was not typically a loud or boisterous man, but rather one who was humble, straightforward and who didn’t speak unless he had something to say. If you happened to stumble upon one of his favorite topics, he could debate like no other . . . those who conversed with him about politics, sports, democrats, big business, or the government, know this well. He taught his daughters through hard truths and by example. He walked the walk. He didn’t wear his emotions on his sleeve often, but many-a-time over the years, tears of pride or joy or sadness would leak from his eyes because the love he had for his family was vast.
After he was finished with the rat race and while Diane continued to work prior to her own retirement, Brian became a master of domestic duties, especially in the kitchen. Whether he was attempting to re-create one of his Mom’s recipes, trying something new, or serving up one of his perfectly-cooked steaks, everyone enjoyed a meal made by Brian. He spent several years singing with the Orpheus Club, a men’s singing choir, and he sang for a semester with the Peoria Area Civic Chorale. Growing up, his daughters loved when he joined them at church so they could hear him sing. And when he wasn’t spending time listening to talk radio and doing crosswords and crypto-quotes with pen, he spent many hours enjoying his grandchildren and supporting them be it soccer, softball, basketball, plays, or band and choral performances. He spent even more time dining out and going to plays and musicals with Diane, taking trips to visit friends, enjoying a round or two of golf, and evening dips in their pool.
Brian Orr lived life the way he wanted to. He ate his dessert WITH his dinner and not afterward. He hated mint and loved Hostess cupcakes and chocolate malts. He couldn’t help himself when the Publisher’s Clearing House Magazine came in the mail because there was always an interesting item to purchase. He loved the University of Michigan, Republicans, Lou Rawls, the Beach Boys, the Rolling Stones, Perry Mason and Clint Eastwood.
A celebration of Brian’s life will held at Mason-White Funeral Home from 4:00PM until 7:00PM Thursday, October 4, 2018 at Mason-White Funeral Home. A Memorial Service will follow at 7:00PM beginning with Masonic Rites conducted by Taylor Masonic Lodge #98. The wearing of navy blue and maize yellow, although not expected, is strongly encouraged. In lieu of flowers, memorials in his name may be given to Illinois Cancer Care, OSF Richard L. Owens Hospice Home or to a charity of the Donor’s Choice. To share a memory of Brian, visit www.masonfuneralhomes.com.
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