The Transylvania Times -

By Mark Todd
Staff Writer" 

Former Banker, Community Leader Joe Orr Dies


Joe Evan Orr

Joe Evan Orr, a Connestee Falls resident and a longtime community leader in Brevard and Hendersonville, has died at the age of 72. He passed away Saturday at Transylvania Community Hospital.

A standing room only audience is expected to attend his funeral today at 2 p.m. at his home church, St. Philip's Episcopal, in Brevard, according to his friend, Jeannie Hatter, the church office manager.

Reflecting on the passing of Orr, Hatter recalled that just last Oct. 5, Orr and his wife, Carol, celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary by renewing their wedding vows in Charleston, S.C., a place they visited often, and the site of St. Philip's Episcopal Church in Charleston.

"It was remarkable. They were so romantic," Hatter said of THE Orrs.

Another of Orr's friends over the years was Ray Simmons, a banker with First Union in downtown Brevard for 43 years and now a real estate executive with Dimps Realty.

Orr, who managed the Northwestern Bank in Brevard, was "a very good banker and a good competitor," Simmons said.

"But first of all he was a very good friend, which is the most important thing."

The two men served on many local community boards, which Simmons said is essential to be successful in banking.

Nancy Stricker, executive director of Transylvania Vocational Services, said she was privileged to have worked with Orr on her board for 12 years.

"I have cried for days," she said.

"He was one of the most generous men I have ever known. He was generous with his time and his commitment to the community. He had such enthusiasm for life. And he was funny. His marriage of over 50 years was an example for all of us."

Born in Hendersonville, Orr was a graduate of Hendersonville High School and served in the U.S. Army 101st Airborne Division. He moved to Transylvania County in 1973.

He was the past president of both the Hendersonville and the Brevard Chamber of Commerce, past president of the Henderson County Apple Festival, past president of Hendersonville and Brevard Lions Club, past president of the Hendersonville Jaycees, a member of Brevard B.P.O.E., former member of the Henderson County Rescue Squad, and former volunteer member of the Hendersonville Fire Department, Hendersonville Police Department and Henderson County Sheriff's Department.

Orr was a retired member of the Brevard Rescue Squad, past president of the WNC Association of Rescue Squads, past Area 10 director of the NC Association of Rescue Squads, past president of the Transylvania County Democrat Men's Club, past board member of Transylvania Vocational Services, past board member of Pisgah Girl Scout Council, and past vestry member and current usher for St. Philip's Episcopal Church.


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