Murrieta - Bernice Orr passed away on January 2nd at the age of 97 in Murrieta, Ca. She was born in Bakersfield, California, June 2, 1923 and was always proud to have been one of the first students to attend East Bakersfield High school in 1938. She reminisced about getting into trouble with the principal for wearing trousers to school, whereupon her mother replied "How else is she supposed to ride her bicycle home for lunch?" Bernice was an avid bicyclist, participating in local races and even riding as far as Lancaster (and back). She left a good job with the railroad to join the Navy in World War II and met Joe Orr, a handsome Marine, when both were serving at the U.S. Naval Radio Station in Point Loma. They married on June 2nd 1946 in Bakersfield and lived there for several years. Bernice took up flying and only learned to drive a car after Joe refused to drive her to her flying lessons. She was forced to stop flying when her first child, Steve was born. The family relocated to Tulare in the mid-50's when Joe accepted a sales position with J.D. Heiskell feed company where he worked for more than 30 years. Bernice was active in the community, serving as PTA president at Sundale school, volunteering with the Sheriff's department, and working on election boards. She was an avid crafter and photographer. Hundreds of local brides carried flower bouquets created by Bernice, and she spent many hours in the darkroom Joe created out of a wrecked Vita-Pakt truck. She particularly enjoyed volunteering at the Tulare Historical Museum as docent and in the gift shop. After Joe's retirement the couple became active in the Visalia Smooth Dancers, and they enjoyed traveling to dances all over the state. Bernice was preceded in death by her son, Steve Orr, and her husband of 64 years, Joe Orr. Her survivors include her daughter, Maryruth Orr Wilson, and daughter-in-law Lani Orr. Her four grandchildren, Ryan Orr, Kristen Garvey and Joey and Alex Wilson will miss her, as will her two great-grandchildren, Mason Orr and Hawkins Garvey. A private service with military honors will be held at 9:00 Thursday, January 14th, at San Joaquin National Cemetery in Santa Nella. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested donations be made in Bernice's name to the Tulare Historical Museum. Funeral Arrangements are in the care of Peers-Lorentzen Funeral Service.
Published in Visalia Times-Delta & Tulare Advance-Register from Jan. 11 to Jan. 12, 2021.