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 holtinternational.org
or New Jersey Right to Life Organization njrtl.org
. Thank you