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Beall Burnett Orr


1940 - 2016 Obituary Condolences
Beall Burnett Orr Obituary
Beall Orr, 75, passed away Saturday in Tyler while in hospice care, having struggled for years with many and varied life-altering complications of diabetes.
A native Texan, Beall was born in Taylor County at the hospital in Merkel, to parents Burnett Orr and Laura Edith Wallis Orr. The family lived on a farm south of Sweetwater in Nolan County, providing an upbringing that instilled his love of nature and his self-sufficient, pioneering spirit.
Beall rode his horse to school. He graduated from Divide High School in 1958 in a class of 11 students. The proud Trojan accumulated many athletic awards in baseball, basketball and six-man football. He was popular among his classmates, who selected him for school honors such as Carnival King and he was respected by members of the small community, who remembered his heroic effort in delivering life-saving medication to a snow-bound resident when roads were impassable.
Securing a baseball scholarship, he headed south to attend Sul Ross State College in Alpine, where he became smitten by the landscape of the Big Bend area. Enrolled in the agriculture program, through the Department of Range Animal Husbandry he pursued a chemistry-focused course of study, Soil Science and earned his Bachelor of Science degree in 1962.
Later that year while serving as best man at a friend's wedding, he was introduced on Aug. 10 to Lynne Halbert of Frankston, a bridesmaid. He married her Aug. 10 of the following year in Rosebud, TX, and they experienced the newly opened Six Flags Over Texas on their honeymoon.
By then Beall had enlisted in the U.S. Army, in which he served from 1963-65. After completing basic training at Ft. Polk in Leesville, LA, he was stationed at Ft. Gordon in Augusta, GA. Next assigned to the 249th Military Police detachment, he guarded American prisoners at the stockade in Ascom City, near Incheon, Korea.
After the Army and a brief time in Dallas, Beall's job with the Allis-Chalmers Manufacturing Corporation entailed sales and service of tractors and other farm equipment. Most of this six-year stint was spent serving farmers in the territory surrounding Waco. Beall's two daughters, Lucinda and Melissa, were born in Waco.
In 1971 he left Waco to become a farmer himself, developing the Halbert acreage adjacent to Lake Palestine in Anderson County. The family moved to nearby Jacksonville, TX, to live in town. Beall remained a 45-year resident of Jacksonville, where he was on the roll at Central Baptist Church.
In the early '70s he participated in the city baseball league sponsored by Jacksonville merchants, when games were played on the diamond next to East Side School. Through the seasons Beall's uniforms ranged from First National Bank to Shorty's, a bait shop.
In December of 1976 he was hired by Rowan Companies, and he worked offshore for 24 years on rigs in many locations. Mostly commuting to Louisiana to work in the Gulf, he also commuted to Houston to depart for assignments in Nova Scotia, the North Sea and Gabon, Africa. By the time he retired in 2000, he had put many thousands of miles on his red diesel Chevy pickup.
Along the way, he gained some new roles as he became an Aggie Dad in 1986 and a grandfather in 1990. The name PawPaw was adjusted to Old PawPaw when he became a great-grandfather in 2010.
Beall's talents and interests encompassed a wide scope. He was athletic and physical, a sports nut who especially loved baseball. Yet he enjoyed cerebral tasks as well, having become a master of the crossword puzzle and a formidable Scrabble opponent. Though he possessed an advanced vocabulary, he also spoke in colorful West-Texas colloquialisms and figurative language. He was a natural storyteller (with, alas, an endless supply of "rig stories"). Beall was an avid hunter and fisherman, winning shooting contests and bringing back wild game to clean and cook. Yet he loved animals and always had pets - from Racky, his boyhood raccoon; to Beau, his beloved Brittany spaniel birddog; to Meeko, the Siamese cat he leaves behind. In contrast to the more primitive, he-man pursuits like hunting and camping, he also held an appreciation for cultural endeavors, supporting fine-arts opportunities for his girls. He himself had musical aptitude, with a self-described "whiskey tenor" singing voice and ability to play the violin. His drawing and designing abilities translated into many construction projects - cabin, pier, steps, tables, etc. His creations would not be aesthetic triumphs, but they would be sturdy.
Though the motto "Go big or go home!" may be a recent coinage, it sums up his personality. Other high school students in 4-H might raise one heifer as their project; Beall secured a bank loan and acquired a flock of 100 sheep. Others growing tomatoes for summer might install a row of five plants in the backyard; Beall would cultivate five acres. Somebody else hanging a small picture on the wall would use a six-penny finishing nail; Beall would insist on a 4-inch galvanized spike. Another family might prepare hamburgers using a one-per-person count; Beall would cover the entire grill surface with patties. Come what may, if you were with Beall, you wouldn't go hungry.
Beall is survived by his wife, Lynne Halbert Orr; daughter, Lucinda Orr of Houston; daughter and son-in-law, Melissa and Wayne Arnold of Jacksonville; granddaughters, Sarah Edwards and fiancé Michael Moore of Jacksonville and Allyson Jacobs of Bullard; and great-granddaughters Eisley Edwards and Emily Moore of Jacksonville. Other survivors include his sister and brother-in-law, Dana Beth and Jim Norris of Holliday, TX; and many nieces and nephews.
On Saturday, Feb. 20, a memorial service officiated by Rev. Steve Edwards will take place at 2 p.m. in the chapel of Central Baptist Church in Jacksonville. Visitation with family will occur afterward in the fellowship hall. The family will observe a private burial ceremony that morning at Resthaven Memorial Park in Jacksonville.
Friends and family are invited to share memories at the service and on Legacy.com. Those wishing to remember Beall with a charitable contribution may support the Salvation Army, an organization he respected highly for their practical focus on meeting basic human needs - in time of crisis, they are first on the scene with a hot meal.
Published in Sweetwater Reporter on Feb. 18, 2016
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