Roderic Allen Orr, 51, died peacefully Sept. 30, 2009, at his home in Eagle River after more than four years of waging a valiant fight against cancer.
An open house and celebration of Roderic's life will be hosted by Stacy and friends from 6-8 p.m. Oct. 24 at the Eagle River Nature Center lodge. All are encouraged to bring mementos, photos and words they wish to share at this gathering. Guests are requested to RSVP to [email protected]
Roderic was born July 6, 1958, in Fullerton, Calif., and raised in Santa Barbara. He took great pleasure in playing beach volleyball, table tennis, bodysurfing, and exploring wild places in the Santa Barbara backcountry and the Sierras. Roderic had a passion for mountain climbing. Among the many summits he reached was that of Mt. Aconcagua, the highest peak in the Andes. He graduated from Humbolt State University, California, with a degree in wildlife biology.
In 1983, Roderic trained with Redmond Smokejumpers in Oregon. There he was recognized by the Dept. Of State Police for being willing to parachute into a hazardous area at a plane crash in Curry County. The next year he moved to Alaska, and remained an Alaskan resident the rest of his life.
Roderic joined the Alaska Smokejumpers Project based in Fairbanks. Until 1988, he fought fires in Alaska and the western United States; this included approximately 170 parachute jumps. He received a Special Act Award from the Alaska Fire Service in Fort Wainwright.
Roderic was a commercial fisherman aboard the F/V Goldeneye from 1989-1990.
Roderic's flying career began with the twin-engine Volpars of FS Air. Charter flying fit his adventurous spirit. He flew freight to every corner of Alaska. Eventually Roderic flew freight internationally in 747s for Atlas Air.
Roderic faced new challenges with determination. He enjoyed nature, birds and wildlife, and had a wide variety of friends and experiences. He was "King" as a competitive Scrabble player.
Roderic is survived by his loving wife, Stacy; parents, Gloria and Fred Orr; 10 brothers and sisters; many aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews, and friends.
A special thanks is extended to his brother, Danny, Dr. Steven Liu of Alaska Oncology and Hematology, Providence Cancer Center, and Providence Hospice in Anchorage.
Donations may be sent to "The Roderic Fund," c/o Rod Dow, 25500 N. Wenas Rd., Selah, WA 98942. This fund was set up to extend financial aid to those smokejumper buddies who, like Roderic, develop a need for special assistance.
Arrangements are with Witzleben Legacy Funeral Home.
Published by Anchorage Daily News from Oct. 6 to Oct. 7, 2009.