Gary D. Orris (1933 - 2015)

  • "I am so very sorry for your loss, DeAnna, and send prayers..."
    - Dee Miko
  • "Offering my sincere condolences. May you find comfort in..."
  • "Gary was like a brother to me, such a kind and loving man,..."
    - Joyce Orris
  • "Being 2 yrs younger than my brother Gary,from the early yrs..."
  • "There are too many wonderful memories to list here. I am..."
    - Jacqueline Hill Denning

Beloved husband, father and grandfather Gary D. Orris died on Monday, May 11, 2015, in Fairbanks, Alaska, after a brief but valiant struggle with cancer. Family was at his side. Gary was the eldest child born to Pearl (Brown) and Clifford Orris on Oct. 8, 1933, in Estherville, Iowa. Gary and his younger brother, Darwin, were reared on the family farm of their stepfather. Gary attended local schools in Estherville. A powerful swimmer, Gary was twice in the right place at the right time to rescue swimmers in distress. Gary enlisted in the Navy, at the age of 17, during the Korean War era. After basic training, he was transferred to Naval Station Great Lakes, where he excelled as a member of the boxing team. His next assignment was to the North Atlantic Fleet on the minesweeper USS Revenge. Gary completed his Navy service at the U.S. Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Fla., as a member of the Crash Air Rescue team. After his discharge from the Navy, he met his future wife, the former DeAnna Hill. They married in 1961. Their family eventually included three sons: Keith, Scott and Joel. Gary was devoted to his family and loved them unconditionally. Among his fondest memories were the many hours he spent camping, fishing and boating with his sons and nephew, Mike Warne. Gary spent the majority of his career working on construction projects in Alaska, including the trans-Alaska pipeline. He later worked at the Fairbanks Pioneer Home, where he retired as Maintenance Supervisor. Gary is best remembered for his easy going nature and positive outlook. Those who knew him will always smile as they remember his ready laugh and his ability to see the best in people. He was loyal, kind, forgiving and always put his family first. He was very much loved. Gary was a member of the First United Methodist Church. He was also a Master Mason and a Shriner. Survivors include his wife of nearly 54 years, DeAnna; sons, Keith Orris and Joel Orris; daughter-in-law, Denise Orris; grandchildren, Christopher Orris and Marianne Orris; siblings, Darwin Orris, Terry Orris, Delores Griese, Denny Zerke, Arnie Zerke, Linda Ysker, Donna Zerke and Judy Duncan and their respective spouses; stepmother, Georgia Orris; and many nephews and nieces, including grand-niece, Heather Hill. He was preceded in death by his son, Scott Orris; brother, Steve Orris; and sister, Linda Yanez. He is also survived by sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Jacqueline and Joel Denning; as well as sister-in-law, Joni Hill. In memory of Gary, the family requests that his friends perform an act of kindness for another, or contribute to such as FMH Hospice Services, 2001 Gillam Way, Fairbanks, AK 99701. Visitation will be held from 10 a.m. to noon on Wednesday, May 20, 2015, at First United Methodist Church, 915 Second Avenue. Church services will be held at 1 p.m., conducted by Pastor Benjamin Bohart. Services will be concluded with a piper and honor guard. Arrangements were made by Chapel of Chimes. The family may be contacted at P.O. Box 61010, Fairbanks, Alaska, 99706. Gary has gone on his last great adventure, where we all hope to meet again one day. "Well done, thou good and faithful servant." (Matthew 25:21)
Funeral Home
Chapel of Chimes Funeral Home
415 Illinois St.
Fairbanks, AK 99701
(907) 456-5566
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Published in Anchorage Daily News on May 19, 2015
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