Orville P. Convis NorthPointe Woods Orville P. Convis, aged 93, died November 22, 2012, at home at NorthPointe Woods. His love for Battle Creek and railroading, his passion to explore, and his family focus defined his life. He was born September 25, 1919, in Pennfield Township, to Vernon B. Convis and Lora M. Percy Convis. Orville was a 1938 graduate of Battle Creek Central High School. Orville married his classmate, Margaret W. Robinson, October 30, 1938. They had three children: Danny B. Convis of Battle Creek, MI, Gary L. Convis of Santa Barbara, CA, and Rebecca A. Convis Storey of Battle Creek, MI. He has 12 grandchildren and 9 great-grandchildren. Orville was preceded in death by his parents, his wife of 67 years Margaret, his brother Paul Owen, his brother Leonard Bradley, and his sister Hazel Convis Culp. He is survived by his sister Ruth Convis Minshull of Northport, MI. His great grandfather, Samuel Convis, lured by land at $1.25 per acre, first visited the Battle Creek area in 1831. He returned in 1832 with his wife Matilda and one year old son Bradley. Some Battle Creek historians have referred to Samuel as Battle Creek's first permanent settler. Part of his farm occupied what is now Bailey Park. Orville resided in the Battle Creek area all his life. At Battle Creek Central he earned a varsity letter in swimming and three letters in football, making the All State second team in 1937 as a tackle. He was elected to the Student Council during his senior year (1938). He boxed one season in the Golden Gloves, winning the city championship in the novice heavyweight division in 1940 and was given the nickname "one punch Convis". Orville was drafted into the U.S. Navy in June 1944. His service time included 15 months aboard the U.S.S. Tolovana, the Navy's largest tanker. The ship delivered cargos of aviation gasoline to Okinawa. Orville started working as a locomotive fireman on the Grand Trunk Western Railroad December 10, 1940. His railroad career extended from hand firing of steam locomotives to engineer of the Amtrak French built turbo passenger train between Battle Creek and Port Huron. Orville served as General Chairman Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, Grand Trunk Western Railroad for seventeen years representing about 400 locomotive engineers, firemen, and hostlers. He retired from the Grand Trunk March 16, 1981. Orville was a member of the First Church of Christ Scientist, Battle Creek, and the Mother Church in Boston. He served as First Reader in the 1970's and at various times in each of the church offices, except treasurer, which his wife Margaret held. He was also a Life Member of Masonic Lodge #12 and the Order of Eastern Star. During his retirement years Orville enjoyed more than twenty-five years of breakfast meetings with retired Grand Trunk retirees and more than fifteen years of breakfast meetings with friends interested in Battle Creek history. Orville loved railroading and was a humorous, engaging story teller. He authored articles published in the Christian Science Monitor, Trains Magazine, and other railroading publications. A photocopier gift fifteen years ago has resulted in more then 2,000 copies of humor and general interest being distributed to friends and family and left anonymously in appropriate locations. Orville left behind more than twenty scrapbooks of personally selected pictures and items of general interest. Orville's family will receive friends 6:00-8:00 p.m. Tuesday at the Farley-Estes & Dowdle Funeral Home. Funeral services will be held at Fort Custer National Cemetery 10:00 a.m. Wednesday, November 28, 2012, with military honors; and inurnment to follow. Memorial contributions can be made to the Food Bank of South Central Michigan, P.O. Box 408, Battle Creek, MI 49016-0408 or The Family Health Center, 181 W. Emmett St., Battle Creek, MI 49037-2963. Personal messages for the family may be placed at www.farleyestesdowdle.com
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Published in Battle Creek Enquirer on Nov. 25, 2012