Week 6 – Here’s Orv


(photo:  Orv and I together at his last Christmas with us.  This is my favorite pic I have with him.  He died 5 weeks later.)

Two years ago this week, my father-in-law Orv died after facing a long, arduous battle with cancer.  He was one day short of his 83rd birthday.


Orv was born Feb. 5, 1930 in extreme northeastern North Dakota, near the small town of Cavalier.  He grew up there, attended business college in Fargo, and married his wife Elaine.  They lived in Moorhead where they became the parents of 3 daughters; the first one is my wife Wilma.


Orv worked for the General Motors Acceptance Corporation in that area for several years, transferring to Merrillville, Indiana in 1968, where he worked until he retired in 1984.  After a few years of retirement, Orv and Elaine moved to Greenfield, Indiana.  Elaine still lives there.


I didn’t meet Orv until 1982, when Wilma and I flew down to Merrillville to celebrate Thanksgiving with her family.  This was the first of many visits to Indiana that eventually included trips into Chicago for White Sox baseball games,  to the museums, and to other interesting spots in that part of northwestern Indiana.


Orv and I grew to respect and enjoy each other.  On visits to Minnesota, he and I would be found on the lake, seeking walleyes and whatever else would bite – and such excursions included (at first) fishing from my canoe in the backwaters of Gilbert Lake, and then in my little 14 ft. boat.  We covered many different lakes – and many conversations as we floated along.


Often we engaged in golf – sometimes at the courses here when he and Elaine came for a visit – other times down in his neck of the woods.  Neither of us were any more than duffers, but we had a good time.


We often vacationed with Orv and Elaine – sometimes in Minnesota, sometimes in Florida.  They traveled a great deal in their trailer, so it was common for them to set up their trailer at a small resort near our home, where we would spend time with them.


Orv was good with tools.  He could repair cars, he could build cabinets, and he could do general repairs around the house.  When we moved into our present house (1989) he was instrumental in finishing off our deck – boards, screen, structural improvements, and the like…. He built child-sized desks for our kids.  He often fixed something that was beyond my aptitude – and those efforts were highly appreciated.


And there was Orv the husband and father.  I grew up with a father who was dedicated to his family – and one of the few men who matched my dad in this area was Orv.  He adored his wife.  He loved his three daughters.  He put them first over all.  Every step he took in his life was made with the benefit of his ladies in mind.


He enjoyed a good joke that came out of a joyful sense of humor – he could kid, and he could take a ribbing right on back.


I was the first son-in-law to come along.  I was accepted as his daughter’s suitor and then as husband.  He kidded me when it was called for, he treated me with respect and honor at the proper times.  I was proud to be the first son-in-law, and I enjoy rubbing it in to the two other sons-in-law that I’m first, but I am honored to have shared Orv with those other two fine gentlemen who married into the family.


And as a grandfather to my two children, I could not have asked for any better.  He played with my son and daughter.  He brought them gifts, he read to them, he visited with them as they grew into adulthood.  He was generous in so many ways to them (and to me, for that matter.)


So this is my tribute to the man who in effect served as my second father.  Thank you, Orv.  You are missed.


119 d bass heidi  069 d on the picnic table

PHOTOS: Orv with my daughter after a good day of fishing.  My son Steven on Orv’s lap during a campsite stay on Lake Edward.