Gilbert Eugene (Gene or Mr. Orr) Orr, our dad, pops, stepfather, grandfather, great-grandfather, brother, and uncle passed away in the early morning hours of Jan. 7, 2021, after a short illness in South Jordan, Utah.
On July 31, 1929, Eugene was born to Lester E. and Nola Park (Gordon) Orr in St. John, Utah. Eugene was one of eight children. He attended school in Stockton, Tooele Valley. Eugene enlisted in the Army during the Korean Conflict, Nov. 7, 1950, to Oct. 24, 1952. He started his service in the 10th Infantry Division, and with further IQ testing he transferred to serve as a clerk in the Judge Advocate General Office in Korea. Eugene married Carol Osborne in 1954, becoming the proud father of Becky Jean Orr in 1956. Their short marriage ended in divorce. In 1962, Eugene married Zella Sackett of Grantsville, Utah, where they raised her five children and Becky Jean.
Eugene’s work history began as a young boy with his father Lester looking after sheep in the mountains of Utah. His love of the outdoors, work ethic, and essential life values were shaped by his father’s example of care for the sheep and Utah’s public lands. He also worked as a ranch hand in Neola, Utah. He gained employment with the Tooele Army Depot, Western Chemical Center, before his military service; after a short time working at Geneva Steel in Orem, Utah, he returned to Tooele Army Depot from 1955-1987. During his tenure at the Tooele Army Depot he received numerous recognitions for his superior performance, safety, and Special Achievement Commendations from the Department of the Army.
Eugene’s love for his family came from his parents. His mom, a schoolteacher, shaped his early learning and love for reading. His Father, although absent from the home because of his work with the sheep, was another hero to Eugene. He cared for his siblings and spoke of their time and adventures growing up in Stockton, Utah, and the Tooele Valley. Eugene had a great love for dogs, cats, and horses. He took great care to learn how to raise rabbits to supplement his family’s food supplies. In his youth Eugene had many adventures; he hopped a train to Colorado with a friend. When he decided he was too smart for school, he spent some time in reform school, and on the weekend, he would ride bikes between Stockton and Tooele to watch the double features. His hobbies included woodworking and metal detecting until he lost his eyesight. Eugene continued to live on his own in his and Zella’s Grantsville home until 2018, when he moved into the home of his step-son, Byra Sackett, with his cat, Calamity.
Eugene is survived by his step-children Phyllis (Paul) Wright, Byra (Donna) Sackett, and Karol Mark (Barbara) Sackett; his brother Glen Orr of Texas; and sister Lela Mae Strickland; grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife Zella; daughter Becky Jean; step-daughters Leslie and Juanita; and three grandchildren; brothers Leo, Gordon, Lester Jr., Dwain, and James; and sister Nola Rae.
We want to thank Harmony Home Health and Hospice for the staff who helped care for dad in his last year.
Eugene’s desire was to be cremated, leaving an opportunity to have a graveside service for family and friends to attend after COVID restrictions lifted. Eugene’s celebration of life will be July 23, 2021, at 10 a.m., at the Grantsville Cemetery, 370 W. Main St., Grantsville, Utah.