Samuel F. Orr was born May 28, 1951, the first of six children to Ted and Virginia Orr, in Lewellen, Nebraska. He was a tiny little guy that was busy, energetic, and slight rebel. His younger years were spent ranching in Kremmling, Colorado. He was Ted senior’s little shadow, just like Sam’s son Teddy was his. Both little boys idolized the older family men. Grandma Sarah would look out the kitchen window witness a bulldozer Cat clanking across the field. She became very concerned that it was running away, only to find a small 5-year-old Sam barely peering over the dash with Ted Senior trailing behind in the Jeep. Thus, the beginning of his “get in and go” learning and teaching style.
The teenage years were spent in Sundance, Wyoming on his parents’ cattle and sheep ranch. He was the first one to be investigated if something was array by the Sundance police. Sam and his friend Floyd were known for completing a few too many teenage shenanigans. When not pulling stunts, he was found on the football field, in the wrestling gym, and occasionally on stage in a play.
The Vietnam War Draft called his number in 1970 after high school graduation. His first choice was the Sea Bees but a diesel mechanic and truck driver for the Army was a shorter enlistment. His oldest son Teddy carried on his preference by enlisting into the Sea Bees, which made Sam extremely proud, possibly a bit jealous. Artic regions are known for stories of adventure. His favorite was transporting Bob Hope and the USO crew from Fairbanks to Anchorage. He met his wife of 48 years while in Alaska on a blind date while she was attending the University of Alaska Fairbanks. They were later married in Wyoming in 1973.
After being discharged from his service duties, the cold artic air was replaced with hot, dry Southern Colorado weather. The newly grown out hippie hair did not last long with the weather and location changes. Long hair was not conducive to chasing the registered Herefords or putting up winter hay.
In the evening fall light, Grandpa Ted Senior came to call Sam home to Kremmling ranch. Ranching with the family provided the foundation of business and equipment abilities to be used later in life, but mostly, provided the groundwork for working hard, playing harder and loving every minute. Yet, years later the ranch life became old hat too. Sam and Kathy acquired property close to Sam’s parents, who purchased land in Haines, Oregon, in 1974. This 165-acre haven is where they raised 3 children, took in siblings, nieces, and a few community kids. It has been said that the Orr kids have each inherited a unique branch of those “Orr Genes.”
With a bit of assistance from Kathy, he purchased his first big machine – a backhoe. The story further unfolded and expanded to dump trucks, excavators, and many other large toys that have come and gone, often each one getting a little bigger and a bit better. He is known for his first turquoise Kenworth, with “Shake, Rattle and Roll” scrolled on the bug visor, which to those who knew who him, knew this was a fitting quote for a truck owned and operated by Sam Orr. The KW dubbed “Shake” was always his pride, signifying a self-started small company. These same self-taught qualities have been inherited by the middle Son, Tyson. The same business intuition and a twinkle of orneriness shines through when they see “Shake” parked in their driveway. There have been many trucks bought and sold, but this one will always remain icon in the Orr family businesses.
Sam is known for his tall tales far and wide that could fill many pages of books, from cattle ranching, equipment, delivering cattle in sideways blizzards, pranking friends, laying pipe, trenching fire lines, and moving mud. Narratives re-told from the stool of his favorite establishment, were synonymous with his contagious pot belly laugh, echoing through the walls. He loved to relive anecdotes of testing the fear factor who ever dared to jump in the cab with him to check out the latest job site. Most also quickly concluded they would not return before dark, let alone dinner. As much as he like to scare people, his own nemesis was heights on foot that oddly dissipated in the seat of a John Deer. He was known for taking the equipment on ledges that would make most of cringe. Always seemed to know just how far to push the limit, without toppling over the other side.
But all good things must come to an end. Sometimes good and bad but we must forgive. Sam's second journey of life began in 2001 when he hired Alicia Profitt to run equipment. Eventually she became his right hand at work, later becoming the love of his life. Sam and Alicia settled in Roosevelt, Washington to fulfill their last and final contract with Republic Waste. They planned to retire there, travel home and just enjoy each other in life.
His daughter Kylie and Alicia were at the bed side when he peacefully left earth for his next business adventure with his maker. Meeting up with Grandpa Ted senior and his father Ted junior gnawing on toothpicks, sipping coffee, and eating pie in a corner booth. They could then establish tomorrow duties via silent deliberation of which cloud needs to plowed, scooped, loaded and moved “over there” tomorrow. The three men knew what needed to be done without verbal communication that allowed them to operate together like a well-oiled machine.
Just because Sam has left this earth does not mean he has not left bits of his onery, ambitious, persistent, intuitive self behind. It can be seen the in laughter that continues in his honor. Rest in peace Sam and God bless your soul, your family and friends will miss your wisdom, presence, laughter, anecdotes, and uniqueness.
Memorial contributions can be made to your local FFA or 4-H chapter in his honor through Tami's Pine Valley Funeral Home PO Box 543 Halfway, Oregon 97834. To leave an online condolence for Sam’s family can be done at www.TamisPineValleyFuneralHome.com