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Friday, April 19, 2024

Local Family Memorialized Overseas


The Orr family is a familiar and prominent name throughout our area. However, that name is now being memorialized overseas for their contributions both at home and abroad.

The matriarch of the Orr family, Lorene Orr, endured unthinkable tragedy when she received word, couriered from her own child, by a fellow mine worker that her husband, Marcel Orr, had been killed in a mining accident.

Lorene Orr

Two weeks after losing her husband, Orr gave birth to their ninth child. She now carried the burden of mother, caregiver, nurturer, and provider. Somehow, she found the strength to fulfil all those roles.

Lorene’s nurturing spirit and great care for her children was well-known throughout south Sebastian County. In fact, according to her granddaughter, Debbie Phillips, any time someone locally had a sick child, Lorene was the go-to for advice.

William Stanley Orr, son of Marcel and Lorene, is pictured here in school-days. (Newspaper clipping provided by Carl Nichols)

Answering the call of caretaker, Lorene Orr would take a job in order to earn enough money to put herself through nursing school. The hardships of a single, working parent were, undoubtedly, tremendous. Orr would continue her career in nursing until she retired as a Licensed Practical Nurse from medical services at Fort Sill Army Base in Lawton, OK.

The Orr children: Lucille, Rose, Janette, Judy, Cheryel, Harold, Richard, Stanley and Jeffery, learned a great deal from their mother. Life lessons that would be passed down from generation to generation. A legacy that would eventually include 17 grandchildren, 36 great-grandchildren and five great-great grandchildren.

One of those grandchildren, Kenny Orr. Kenny Orr, the son William Stanley. The same strength and fortitude, characteristic of his grandmother, coursed through his veins. The desire to be of service, rooted in his family upbringing, led him to cross paths with Dr. Komi Semenou Folly, a physician in Tulsa, OK. Kenny Orr and Folly would develop a friendship that would eventually give way to Orr’s involvement in the Light in the World Development Foundation.

The Light in the World Development Foundation is a 501c3 nonprofit organization working to “eliminate barriers to opportunities by bringing hope through missionary works, providing school supplies for children, creating quality education and healthcare systems, and digging wells for clean water so that those living in underserved areas in Africa and beyond can experience the love and compassion of Jesus Christ.” (About Us – Light in the World Development Foundation (lightintheworlddf.org)

Folly currently serves as the founder and Executive President of LWDF. He has been with LWDF since 2011. Both Kenny and his wife Gena would deploy on medical mission trips in Africa. Today, both Gena and Kenny Orr serve on the Light in the World Development Foundation board.

Dr. Komi was born in Togo, Africa and grew up in a family of 6 brothers and 4 sisters. Poverty, illiteracy and the lack of adequate health care caused the loss of many of his friends and family, including the loss of his own father from a preventable asthma attack. As an 11-year-old boy, he had already witnessed poverty, devastation, and death. Because of this, he dreamed of helping people. He wrote inside the cover of his Bible that he was going to become a doctor. Komi went to school in a small town in Togo from Pre-K to graduation, then went on to graduate from the University of Lomé, Togo in 2002. He later moved to the US where he attended the University of OU – Tulsa, to become a US physician. Now Dr. Folly is a full-time Internist at Saint Francis and works as a hospitalist at Saint John Hospital ICU. Dr. Komi is pictured here with his wife, Joyce.

Knowing the Orr family history, and Kenny Orr’s close-knit relationship to his grandmother, Dr. Komi would arrange for a maternity wing at the local hospital in Africa to be named in honor of Orr’s beloved grandmother, Lorene.

Additionally, a sport’s complex named after Kenny Orr’s dad, William Stanley Orr–the William Orr Sports Complex. Stanley Orr, 77, passed away on March 12, 2023, after a brief illness. “Although dad was never involved with soccer, he was very involved in youth baseball and served as a commissioner for the church league for several years,” Ken Orr stated on his social media page. “We will have an official dedication of the field which has been under construction since early fall…”

The matriarch of the Orr family, Lorene Orr, passed away at the age of 93 in 2008. What a tremendous impact Lorene Orr had on her family, community, and now, world.

El Elyon, is a not-for-profit hospital operated by a local organization called El Elyon in Lome, the capital of Togo, whose mission is to extend the ministry of compassion to all who seek its services. El Elyon is open 24/7 and provides Pediatrics, Surgery, OB-Gyn and Internal Medicine in this 52 bed facility with 18 employees and 20 volunteers that has become an anchor for health care in the region. LWDF’s clinic in Agou and El Elyon are collaborating and the facilities work together to help the community.

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Tammy Teague
Tammy Teague
Tammy is the heart behind the brand. Her tenacity to curate authentic journalism, supported by a genuine heart is one her many wholesome qualities.
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