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Elizabeth Diggs Orr
Oct 23, 1920 - May 04, 2017
Elizabeth Diggs Orr died peacefully on May 4, 2017 after being a World War II bride, community volunteer, mother of two sons, and homemaker who loved life, gardening, duplicate bridge, dogs, golf, and giving back to the community she dearly loved since 1948.
Born on October 23, 1920, to Caroline Fleet and Dudley M. Diggs, Elsie and her older brother Dudley P. Diggs, grew up in Schenectady NY, and spent summers at a lake in the Adirondack Mountains where they had built a rustic cabin. After high school, Elsie attended Sweet Briar College, met a handsome military officer named Samuel Marshall Orr Jr., and got married three months after graduation in 1942. Major Orr was a part of the Enigma/Ultra Secret decoding team at Bletchley Park England that intercepted and decoded all the German high command radio signals, and was with General Omar Bradley from Normandy all the way through France into Germany. Elsie and her two boys, Marshall and Peter, stayed with her parents in Schenectady until the war was over.
When Sam got out of the service, the family moved to Winston-Salem where Sam became Director of Research and Development for Hanes Hosiery. Elsie was involved with everything Marshall and Peter got into, supported her husband in his career, and loved everything outdoors. She worked hard at becoming a Life Master in bridge, enjoyed music, gave a set of hand bells to Centenary Methodist Church, established a Fragrance Garden at Tanglewood, and worked with the Junior League on restoring Old Salem.
She especially liked Halloween, when she would dress up as a friendly witch, carefully hold each child’s outstretched hand, then tell them how long they would live, who they would marry, and how many children they would have. She was very supportive of her husband and sons when they were all involved with the Boy Scouts, and took the station wagon down to the Krispy Kreme store in Old Salem at 6 AM on Sundays to pick up and distribute many, many dozens of warm doughnuts to people’s homes before they went to church.
This fund-raising effort resulted in enough money to purchase and restore an old school bus that took Troop 20 to Camp Raven Knob where the scouts learned about sleeping out in the wild, cooking over a fire, and earning merit badges to achieve the rank of Eagle. Soaking wet sleeping bags washed by hand and put out on the lawn to dry by Elsie were the norm without complaint.
Elsie is survived by her two sons, Marshall (Beth) and Peter (Debra); six grandchildren Sarah Yun (Woo Sub), Katherine Barre (Bert), Martha Proutt (Bobby), Allen Orr, Whitney Robertson (Seth), and Trent Orr (Stacey); plus nine great-grandchildren; Sam, Arbor, and Caroline Yun; Sallie, Martha, and Dixon Barre, and Robert, Betsy, and Ford Proutt.
The entire Orr family wants to extend a very sincere thank you to Anita Scott for her loving, tender, and very personal care of “Dandy” during the last five years of her life. Marshall, living in Richmond, and Peter, living in Atlanta, could never have done it without her help.
A private service will be conducted at home to celebrate her life.
Online condolences may be sent to www.salemfh.com.
 
 
 
 
Condolences
Barney Barnhardt
Marshall and Peter, I read with sadness about your mother's death. I remember her and your father well from those long-ago days in Winston-Salem, especially connected to Centenary Church and Troop 20. Please know that I have you and your families in my thoughts and prayers. Barney
 
 
Todd Chase
It was a great joy to work with Elsie for several years when I was at Wachovia. Her kindness and love of life always came through. She had a wonderful smile and always made you feel important. I always had to do a double-take when I looked up her age because she had so much energy and certainly never acted "like an old person". She was well-versed on a variety of topics and was always fun to talk to. She was truly one of a kind. My sincere condolences to her sons and grandchildren.
 
 
Tammy McAllister
I am so sorry to hear about the passing of Mrs. Orr. She was the sweetest lady and was a customer of mine for many, many years at the Revco/CVS Pharmacy on Robinhood Rd. I always looked forward to seeing her and hearing all her stories of her golf games or her having Bridge at her house. She always had a smile on her face and loved to laugh and joke around...She will be missed. Thoughts and prayers to the family during this time.
 
 
Tammy McAllister
I am so sorry to hear about the passing of Mrs. Orr. She was the sweetest lady and was a customer of mine for many, many years at the Revco/CVS Pharmacy on Robinhood Rd. I always looked forward to seeing her and hearing all her stories of her golf games or her having Bridge at her house. She always had a smile on her face and loved to laugh and joke around...She will be missed. Thoughts and prayers to the family during this time.
 
 
Charley
It was an honor and a pleasure to know Elsie. I send my sincere sympathies to the family and hope that wonderful memories give peace to all.
 
 
 
 
 
 

         

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