At home surrounded by family and friends, Barbara Orr peacefully transitioned from earth to seeing Jesus face-to-face on Saturday, December 2, 2023.
The daughter of Frank Morgan Novitzki and Minnie (Mimi) Ferris Wilson Novitzki, Barbara was born in Memphis, TN, on July 11, 1947. Growing up in “the big house,” as her family called it, Barbara was active at First Presbyterian Church and in the Girl Scouts, achieving the Gold Star rank. She graduated from East High School and attended University of Tennessee at Martin where she met Ira Orr. The two met in April, dated for six months, and got married in October.
New adventures began for Barbara as Ira began his military career. Shortly after they were married, they made their first move, landing in Okinawa. From Okinawa it was off to Aberdeen, MD, where their son Ron was born. Barbara moved back to Memphis with Ron while Ira served in Viet Nam before moving to San Antonio. It was in San Antonio where their daughter Amy was born. San Antonio was also where Barbara made her personal profession of faith in Jesus and they began living their family life verse, Acts 2:42-47 (NLT): “All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer. A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity - all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to to their fellowship those who were being saved.”
At Schofield Barracks, HI, Barbara built lifelong friendships with members of their Officers Christian Fellowship Bible study group and the post chapel. It was in Hawaii that Barbara’s friend and mentor, Mike Calkin, shared the verses Isaiah 40:29-31 (NLT): “He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” These verses encouraged Barbara through many challenges over the years and gave her strength in her last days. More adventures and opportunities to minister to women continued in Virginia, Louisiana, two tours in Germany, and then in Alabama where Ira retired. A long time friend in Virginia recently shared, “Barbara, It has been encouraging to watch your faithfulness through the years.”
Barbara had new opportunities to minister to women of all ages when Ira retired from the Army. Whether in Monroe (LA), Arlington (TX), or Burnet (TX), Barbara invested time in God’s Word to share with others. Over the years she led Bible studies and small groups. Her humble spirit drew women to her. She would pray God’s Word over each person, encourage them in hard times, and celebrate their victories. One friend said if Barbara became your friend she made a life-long commitment to you.
Barbara loved her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. She was a woman of faith who loved well and loved deeply. She stayed connected with her family, whom she loved, prayed for, and fought for passionately. She was patient and understanding, allowing them to make their own mistakes but being always by their side when they needed her. She left her family with a collection of well-read, note-filled Bibles, and her greatest legacy is that she shared her faith with her children and grandchildren to stand on.
Barbara was predeceased by her father Frank Morgan Novitzki. She is survived by her mother Minnie (Mimi) Novitzki; her husband Ira; her children: Ron (Suzanne) of Murfreesboro, TN, and Amy (Tracy) Reese of Anacoco, LA; grandchildren: Zachary (Elizabeth) Orr, Rachel Reese, Caleb (Taylor) Reese, Andrew (Kalena) Orr, and Katie Anna Orr; four great-grandchildren: Caroline Orr, Lydia June Orr, John Henry Reese, and Drew Orr; and her brother Frank W. Novitzki and his wife Jane.
Barbara’s burial will be held in Leesville, LA, Saturday, December 9, at 11:00 am at Old Leesville Cemetery, officiated by Rev. Sammy Morrow.
Barbara’s Celebration of Life service will be held in Burnet, TX, at Hill Country Fellowship, Friday, December 15, at 4:00pm in the worship center.
Memorials may be made to Hill Country Fellowship (200 Houston-Clinton Dr, Burnet, TX 78611) or your favorite ministry to expand God’s kingdom. To God be the glory!