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Joseph Orr

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Joseph Orr Obituary
Joseph Newton Orr was born to Verna Louise Butler Orr and James Orr in San Francisco, California on October 25, 1954. In 1964, Joe and his mother moved to Floresville, Texas. Joe attended Floresville, High School. He played the trumpet in the Floresville Tiger marching band. After graduation, Joe attended college at Sul Ross University in Alpine, Texas, obtaining his degree in Spanish with a minor in Biology. He later attended Texas A&M University and the University of Texas for graduate studies in Spanish, Astronomy and Mayan history/archaeology. Joe is survived by his niece, Shena Ann Bassett of San Antonio, his nephew, Samuel Earl Bassett of Austin, his great nephew and great niece, Kathleen Bassett and Daniel Bassett of Austin. He is also survived by many Butler cousins throughout Texas and beyond. He was preceded in death by his mother, Verna Louise Butler Orr, his father, James N. Orr, and his sister, Kathleen Ann Carnes Bassett. Joe fell in love with the Big Bend area while a student at Sul Ross. This sparked the beginning of a River Guide career which extended throughout the United States and Mexico. Joe was at peace on the river. He loved the night sky. As a child, Joe enjoyed telescopes, searching the night skies of Floresville. He was a voracious reader of literature involving astronomy, bird watching, environmental issues, Mayan history and culture. In recent years, Joe served as a volunteer at the Mitchell Lake wildlife preserve in San Antonio. Following his mother's death in 1993, Joe took over management of his portion of the Butler Ranch in Karnes County. He converted the land from agricultural to wildlife management, hoping to return it to its original natural vegetation and wildlife condition. That effort continues today, even with the oil and gas activity on and around the Butler Ranch. Joe wanted to restore the land in perpetuity. During his last years, Joe enjoyed travel and philanthropy. He made contributions to the McDonald Observatory, the Department of Astronomy at the University of Texas, the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona, the Grand Canyon Association in Arizona, the Witte Museum in San Antonio, the Mesoamerica Center at the University of Texas, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin, As recently as the September, Joe traveled to the Lowell Observatory and surrounding area to lend his support. During the past month, Joe was voted a member of the Board of Visitors for the McDonald Observatory at the University of Texas. Joe was also at home in the Grand Canyon, enjoying many trips with friends he came to know and love along the way. Joe considered the Earth and the Universe around it his life's study. He relished the endless mystery of the Universe. He maintained an insatiable curiosity until his last days. He never stopped learning. In lieu of flowers, please consider contributions to: The Grand Canyon Association in Arizona; Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona; The McDonald Observatory (University of Texas); The Nature Conservancy or any other charity promoting astronomy, land preservation, environmental issues, archaeology or cancer research. A celebration of Joe's life will take place at Vinyard Funeral Home in Floresville, Texas at 10 A.M. on Thursday, December 19th. Visitation for family and friends the preceding evening will be from 6-8 P.M. A lunch will follow burial in Floresville on December 19th at the Methodist Church in Floresville.
Vinyard Funeral Home
Floresville, Texas 78114
Published in Express-News on Dec. 15, 2013
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