SHERRILL >> John William Orr of 801 W. Hamilton Ave. died on Feb. 14 at the age of 88. He was born Oct. 17, 1925 in Zanesville, Ohio, the son of Daniel Watson Orr and Hallie Hall. He spent his early years in Zanesville before moving with his family to Canastota.
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After high school graduation John enlisted in the United States Air Force, serving in Colorado and receiving his discharge in December 1945. Once a civilian he became a sales and service technician for the local Singer Sewing Machine dealership in Auburn, N.Y. Starting in the mid 1950's John started Mid State Utica with his brother Dave, selling construction equipment and supplies throughout central New York. Staying in the same field he later joined Bentro and Brady Inc. of Utica and, while employed there, decided to purchase the Sherrill Arco service station and work there part time. By the mid 1960's the success of the business allowed him to move into operating the station full time, an occupation he enjoyed for more than 40 years. John retired at the end of 2005.
Starting in 1968 John became Justice of the peace for the Town of Vernon, a position he held for many years. The year 1968 also saw him acting as City Manager for the city of Sherrill.
While working at Singer he met his future wife, Katherine Smithe Rochester. John and Katherine were married at Plymouth Church in Sherrill on Sept. 1,1957. They enjoyed many happy years together, traveling from one end of the country to the other in their motor home. Katherine passed away on April 17, 1983.
John loved all things that went fast. Throughout his life he enjoyed performance boats and high powered cars; by 1965 he had received his racing license from the Sports Car Club of America. With Katherine at his side, he traveled to many road racing courses around the country and was always a fierce competitor. His B production Corvette campaigns found him competing at Watkins Glen and Bridgehampton, N.Y., Lime Rock, Ct., Mid Ohio and Nelson Ledges, Ohio, Road Atlanta, Daytona and Sebring, Florida, Virginia International Raceway, Pocono, Pa., Dover, Delaware, Road America and Elkhart Lake, Wisc., Mosport Raceway, Ontario and Riverside, California. He will always hold one SCCA B production lap record at Watkins Glen since, shortly after setting the record, the layout of the track was permanently changed. Once John finished his racing career he obtained his pilot's license, flying his own plane out of the Hamilton airport.
On July 4, 1986 John married Lenore Dillon at the Horned Dorset Restaurant in Leonardsville. Together they enjoyed many sea cruises, visited Europe several times and vacationed every year at their favorite Caribbean location, St. Thomas. Lenore passed away on Nov. 12, 2008.
John was a longstanding member of the Masons, Sconondoa Sherrill Lodge No. 814, and was also a member of Sherrill American Legion Post 230. He was of the Protestant faith and with his wife Lenore enjoyed weekly services broadcast from the Crystal Cathedral Church in southern California. He is survived by his stepson, Bruce Rochester; grandchildren, Kristen Shive and Matthew Rochester; great-grandchildren, Andrew and Julianne Shive, and his sister, Jane Leonard. He was pre-deceased by his stepson Wayne, his sister Barbara and brothers Dan, Dave and Bob.
At this time the family would like to extend their sincere thanks and appreciation to the staff and residents at the Masonic Care Community of Utica, John's place of residence since October 2008.
In lieu of flowers the family has suggested a donation may be made to St. Paul's Methodist Church on Sayles Street in Oneida.
Family and friends are invited to call on Monday from 4-7 p.m. at the Malecki Funeral Home Inc., 464 Sherrill Road, Sherrill, N.Y. John's funeral service will be held at 7 p.m. at the funeral home immediately following calling hours with Rev. Brian Fellows officiating. Spring burial with military honors will be in St. Helena's Cemetery, Oneida, N.Y.
Published in The Oneida Daily Dispatch on Feb. 17, 2013
Malecki Funeral Home
464 Sherrill Rd Sherrill, NY 13461