Chief John Orso
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Chief John Orso

Highland Lakes - It is with broken hearts that we announce the death of Chief John Orso. John was a native of Fort Lee and passed away quietly on Sunday, September 13, 2020 at his home in Highland Lakes. He was surrounded by many of his children and grandchildren at his side. He was 89 years old.

John and his wife Theresa, were married for 61 years and raised five children. While proudly serving as a Police Officer in Fort Lee for over 40 years, he often worked three jobs while attending college to obtain a degree in Criminal Justice. He was accepted into Law School but put aside his dream for family obligations. After retiring, John permanently moved "to the lake" in 2001. He was predeceased by his beloved wife and grandson Samuel in 2018.

John was born and raised in Fort Lee to immigrant parents, Natale and Caroline Orso. He was the fifth of six children. His father and his brother, Louis, passed away before he was 9 years old. This experience helped him to become responsible at an early age and develop empathy for others. He helped to support and take care of his mother from a young age. He owned a candy store, The Fort Lee Stationary, and worked with his uncle, Gaetano Tarrona in construction before he was drafted into the army during the Korean War.

John was a humble man who served as a Psychological Warfare Specialist. He earned a Korean Service Medal with 2 Bronze Service Stars, United Nations Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Oversees Bar, Combat Infantry Badge and Good Conduct Medal. Due to injuries received, he was awarded a Purple Heart and Veteran Affairs Disabled Status.

Once he returned from service, John worked as a Port Authority Police Officer before joining the Fort Lee Police Department. He worked as a juvenile officer and eventually achieved the rank of Chief before retiring after serving the community with over 40 year of dedication.

John and Theresa instilled the importance of faith and family into their children and grandchildren's lives. Taking care of others and sharing his faith was of utmost importance for him.

Chief Orso attended Mass and prayed the Rosary, Divine Mercy and attended Eucharistic Adoration when he was able. He was a member of the Knights of Columbus, Our Lady of Fatima Legion of Mary, and the Veterans of Foreign Wars. John was a Eucharistic Minister at Hackensack University Hospital and Our Lady of Fatima Church. He was an avid Yankees fan and enjoyed watching the games with his children and grandchildren by his side. He died shortly after the Yankees 3-1 win which had been dedicated to him by the Yankees through the efforts of his grandson Matthew.

He leaves behind his son, Ron Orso and wife Kathy, daughter Jean Orso and husband Roger Grey, daughter Mary Rose and husband Dr. Alfredo Castro, daughter Kim Orso Tong and daughter Dr. Colleen Orso and husband, James Sullivan as well as his 11 grandchildren, brother Dominick and wife Wilma, and many beloved nieces, nephews and loving friends.

The wake will be held at Ferguson Funeral Home in Vernon on Friday, September 18, from 4-8. A Mass of Christian Burial will take place at Our Lady of Fatima, Highland Lakes. There is a limit to attendance at the church due to the Governor's order and masks and social distancing are required.

A private Burial will take place at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, please consider donations to Holt International or New Jersey Right to Life Organization Thank you

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in The Record/Herald News from Sep. 15 to Sep. 16, 2020.
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15 entries
September 22, 2020
A man with great pride, goodness and completely devoted to his family. He made room for me as well when my parents needed help. I want all the Orso's I am thinking of them at this hard time.
September 19, 2020
To the Orso family, my heart and prayers go out for you in this difficult time of your life. John and Teresa were great people. They showed us by their lives how to live good lives and to be kind to all people. A wonderful police officer to whom all lives mattered, not matter your race or nationality. And a great example of living a faithfully Christian life. Rest in peace John!
Very Rev. Steven Conner, VF
( formerly of St. Nicholas Church, Palisades Park)
This morning I offer my Mass intentions for John and Teresa.
Very Rev. Steven Conner, VF
September 17, 2020
Great guy. My dear dads friend/ co worker
Ted Grieco jr
September 17, 2020
Rest in Peace John, You will always be one of the Good Guys
Condolences from the Rosa Family
Lou Rosa
September 16, 2020
I have been John's neighbor for 32 years. Great man, good friend, wonderful family. My family will miss him.
Tom LoSasso
September 16, 2020
In loving memory of a wonderful person. We will love you and miss you always.
Richard Hodge
September 16, 2020
I've known John all my life. He was close Friends with my Mother Nancy Siracusa and my Uncles Primo & John Ottina. He will be missed.
Frank J. Siracusa
September 16, 2020
Heartfelt Condolences Arrangement- BASKET INCLUDED
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Sympathy Gift courtesy of
Masaya Matsumura
September 16, 2020
My condolence to Orso Family. I was heartbroken to hear this news. Mr. Orso and family has been good to me since my teens. They use to always invite me over during Christmas and many holidays where I had no place to go during my teens. John and Theresa have always been very welcoming to their home and they will always have a place in my heart. They helped me to become a better person. John and Theresa will be missed by myself and may others. Thank you Mr. & Mrs. Orso. You will always be remembered for you kindness and love. love always, Mike
Mike Matsumura
September 16, 2020
I know that you are finally happy and at peace with Mommy, Sam and the rest of your family . You packed your bags a long time ago but held on for us because we couldn’t handle another loss. Thank you for staying with me as long as you could . I love you Fa. RIP with the angels, you deserve it. Love, Col
Colleen orso
September 16, 2020
I am so sorry to hear of his loss, my prayers go out to your family, he truly was a great man.
Michelle Monico
September 16, 2020
may the Lord rest your soul my friend and fellow man in blue. Condolences to the Orso family.
pete mazzeo
September 15, 2020
Listening to the Yankees' game tonight was so difficult without you. I wanted to call you each time during one of the six homers. You taught me everything about baseball. I love you so much and will miss you every day. You will always remain in my heart. I love you, Fa!!! Forever.
Matthew Orso
September 15, 2020
Dear Jean Marie, I am sorry to hear about your Dad. He had an amazing life. My prayers are with you and your family at this difficult time. Love, Charlotte
Charlotte Gorun
September 15, 2020
He used to cross me at #4 school as a kid! Took him on a tour of Sedona AZ when he was out in 97 for the ISCP CONVENTION IN Phoenix! Great guy who will be missed!
Paul Berardi
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