Dr. Clyde L. Orr

February 14, 1927February 6, 2019
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Dr. Clyde L. Orr, age 91 of Knoxville, TN passed away on Wednesday, February 6, 2019 at Shannondale Health and Rehab Center. He was a native of Lee County, Virginia and had lived in Knoxville for the past 10 years. He was a member of the First Christian Church of Johnson City, TN. Dr. Orr was a retired educator, having served in various public school positions in Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee. He earned degrees from Lincoln Memorial University, The University of Tennessee and The University of Kentucky. He was Director of the University of Kentucky’s Ashland Center, Dean of the graduate school at Eastern Kentucky University and Professor and Chairman of the Department of Supervision and Administration at East Tennessee State University. In 1971 he was recognized as one of the Outstanding Educators of America. He was a member of the Masonic Lodge of Versailles, Kentucky. Dr. Orr was preceded in death by his parents, Leonard and Mary Orr of Pennington Gap, Virginia; brother, Oscar Paul Orr of Knoxville, TN; sister, Ruby Orr Lewis of Pennington Gap, Virginia. He is survived by his beloved wife of 71 years, Rena Edds Orr; daughters, Mary Anne Scott (Tal) of Surprise, Arizona and Bethany Kennemore of Knoxville, TN; granddaughters, Nancy Kirby (Chris), Lisa Scott (Jen), and Ami Coleman (Rhett); grandsons, Brad Kiser (Marianne) and Keith Scott; great-grandchildren, Zach, Sam and Ella Kirby, Mary Beth and Manning Coleman, Kayla and Megan Chambers, and Bryson Kiser; sister-in-law, Trudy Orr; and many nieces, nephews, cousins, brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law. Dr. Orr’s family would like to thank the staff of Shannondale Health and Rehab Center for their excellent and compassionate care over the last four years. Family will receive friends Friday, 5:00-7:00 pm at Weaver’s Chapel on Western Ave. in Knoxville, TN with service to follow. Rev. Steve Sherman officiating. Family and friends will meet 10:45 am Saturday at Lee Memorial Gardens in Woodway, Virginia for an 11:00 am interment Rev. Bob Richards of the First Christian Church of Pennington Gap, Virginia officiating. Condolences are welcome at Arrangements by Weaver Funeral Home.


  • Leonard Orr, Father
  • Mary Orr, Mother
  • Ruby Orr Lewis, Sister
  • Rena Edds Orr, Wife
  • Mary Anne Scott, Daughter
  • Tal Scott, Son-in-law
  • Bethany Kennemore, Daughter
  • Nancy (Chris) Kirby, Granddaughter
  • Lisa (Jen) Scott, Granddaughter
  • Ami (Rhett) Coleman, Granddaughter
  • Brad (Marianne) Kiser, Grandson
  • Keith Scott, Grandson
  • Zach, Sam and Ella Kirby, Great-Grandchildren
  • Mary, Beth and Manning Coleman, Great-Grandchildren
  • Kayla and Megan Chambers, Great-Grandchildren
  • Bryson Kiser, Great-Grandson
  • Trudy Orr, Sister-in-law
  • Many Nieces, Nephews, Cousins, Brothers-in-law and Sisters-in-law.

  • Jack Lewis
  • Wayne Lewis
  • John Lewis
  • Brad Kiser
  • Keith Scott
  • Rhett Coleman
  • Chris Kirby
  • Tal Scott


  • Visitation Friday, February 8, 2019
  • Funeral Service Friday, February 8, 2019
  • Interment Saturday, February 9, 2019

Dr. Clyde L. Orr

have a memory or condolence to add?

Claudia McCord

February 9, 2019

Beth, I saw your father's obituary in today's JC Press. I want to express my sympathy to you and your family. Losing a parent is very difficult. I didn't know your father but I know you were very close to him. I'll be praying for your family. Hope to talk to you soon. Claudia Brown McCord

Daniel Crouch

February 8, 2019

I always thought the world of Clyde I have known him since I was a young man and cannot express the thanks and appreciation of his friendship with my late father Huvil Crouch. Clyde was a great man and will be deeply missed my prayers go out to the family

Felix Ooten

February 8, 2019

Dr. Orr was my high school principal at Oakdale High School many years ago. It was certainly my privilege to have known him as a dedicated educator and friend. I always enjoyed being in his math classes - he was an expert instructor and a great motivator. I like to think of him as a very valuable (to me) mentor for me. I will always remember Dr. Orr and my association with him.
God Bless Rena and the family.

Dan Wilder

February 6, 2019

I had my first education course with him at ETSU in 1967. I think I had every course for which he taught all the way through my doctoral studies at the same university.

Dr. Orr was not only a great teacher, but he was also a man of impeccable character.

Dr. Orr was always so well prepared for classes with practical and practicable information for our application to our classroom and leadership positions.

In my last position in public education, Superintendent of Lee County Public Schools, Dr, Orr contacted each year offering his sage advice and encouragement. Later, as Professor of Graduate Education at LMI, I remembered and used information I learned from him while I was his student,

Dr. Orr was truly an inspirational teacher and leader. He was one of my most inspirational people in my life and career.

Nancy Crain

February 6, 2019

I tried for several quarters to enroll in one of his education classes at ETSU, and was thrilled to finally succeed! First day of class, he came in to make the announcement that he was no longer the instructor! He apologized profusely, explaining that it was out of his hands.
He was a true gentleman his entire life, and I was honored to call him family for many years. Rest In Peace, Dr Orr.



If anyone ever cared, really cared for someone else it would have to be Dr. Clyde L. Orr. He was a warm hearted and well liked individual, and these wonderful traits came easily to him because he was such a sociable and amiable person, someone who was always making certain that those around him had whatever they needed. Clyde was a talkative person who was tactful at all times but typically said what he meant.

      Clyde was born at home in Pennington Gap, Virginia. He was the son of Leonard and Mary Orr. Clyde was raised in Pennington Gap. During his childhood he learned to be reliable and respectful. Clyde was an obedient child who wanted to win the favor of others. He found it easy to show sympathy and to perform kind acts for others. These admirable qualities would become a part of Clyde's personality throughout his life.

      Though Clyde was frequently the one to initiate games and activities with his family, he was also quite often the family member who took the role of referee. Clyde was a peace-maker with an ability to resolve all sorts of family conflicts. In fact, Clyde worked conscientiously to keep those typical family spats at bay. Clyde was raised with two siblings. He had an older brother, Oscar Paul Orr and one older sister, Ruby Orr Lewis. Clyde and his siblings had the typical rivalries while growing up, but they cared deeply for one another.

      As someone who reveled in the sheer joy of his experiences, Clyde was always enthusiastic about new adventures. Although he had an exacting nature, Clyde was always tactful. One thing Clyde will certainly be remembered for is that, when he got up in the mornings, he was ready and raring to go. As a young boy, Clyde had a number of interests and was an active child. Clyde took part in baseball. In his spare time he liked to play his guitar. Clyde's memorable achievements included getting his driver's license at age 14 so that he could take his parents where they needed to be.

      For Clyde, the school routines were never a problem although he generally preferred variety to structure. He seemed to be able to start a project and work right through to its completion. And he was able to do it quickly and efficiently. Clyde was also adept at details. Clyde was very observant and was generally quick at picking up new things. He graduated from Pennington Gap High School ( and elementary) in 1944. He enjoyed some courses more than others, having favorite classes and teachers. His favorite class in high school was math. The teacher he enjoyed learning from the most was Robert E. Beeler, Jr. who was also the same principal he had all the way through school. He loved boxing but working on the family farm didn't leave him much free time.

      College can be a challenge, but Clyde appeared to be well equipped to succeed. He had a knack for staying focused and on track no matter what was going on around his. Clyde had the ability to work undisturbed through all of the constant interruptions that are a regular part of college life. Clyde enjoyed using the skills he'd already learned and applying them to new courses. He knew the facts and rarely made factual errors. He earned his Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemistry and English in 1952 at Lincoln Memorial University. He also pursued graduate school, earning his Masters Degree at the University of Tennessee in 1956 and his Doctorate Degree from the University of Kentucky in 1959. His favorite courses were Chemistry, English and Math. His favorite professor was Dr. Wise at Lincoln Memorial University. He played on the baseball team and acted in plays.

      There was one thing that all of Clyde's friends knew and will still remember, and that is that he was a talker. He could pretty much talk to anybody about anything. This quality is one of the primary reasons that Clyde was such a popular person throughout his life. But Clyde was also dependable, loyal and trustworthy. Clyde was the kind of person who simply radiated good fellowship. While he maintained personal standards and his own personal values, Clyde was very accepting of others. With a distinct skill for working things out, Clyde was often the person who would organize events. In fact, Clyde was fairly comfortable playing the role of “host” for just about any occasion. When Clyde made friends, he made true and lasting friendships. While growing up, some of his best friends were Rondell Farley and Curtis Chanault. Later in life, he became friends with Bentley Hilton, Howard Bowers, Robert Gillespie and Huvil Crouch.

      Clyde was a faithful and loving person. Some would even call him sentimental and a romantic at heart. His kindness and consideration radiated an aura of warmth to those around him. Clyde cared for what others thought and carried that into his marriage. On October 18, 1947 Clyde married Rena Leah Edds at the Justice of the Peace in Harlan, Kentucky. Compassionate and devoted, Clyde worked hard to make his new life partner happy.

      Harmony was important to Clyde and he made every effort to maintain it with his family. Clyde was blessed with two children; daughters, Mary Anne and Bethany. They were also blessed with five grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren, Nancy, Ami, Lisa, Brad, and Keith; great-grandchildren, Zach, Mary Beth, Sam, Ella, Manning, Bryson, Megan and Kayla. Clyde was always conscious of the feelings others had. He was reasonable and understanding. As a result, Clyde was quick to solve disputes and did so without much fuss. His secret of success in this area was simple: Clyde would listen before he would act.

      Taking his work seriously came naturally to Clyde, and he expected the same from those around him. Clyde was a good team player, someone who was born to cooperate with others. He was what some would call a “people person” and it was demonstrated in his good communication skills. Clyde was a steady worker, one who was realistic about schedules. The kind of details that would give family members and work colleagues fits were situations that Clyde handled well. He could understand the details without getting lost in the broad “big picture.” His primary occupation was an educator. He was employed as a teacher, principal, professor, and community college director. He brought harmony to his work environment, doing what was necessary in order to get the job done, while always maintaining respect for his colleagues.

      A methodical man, Clyde enjoyed spending time working on his various hobbies. He had no problem following all of the steps and instructions on a given project and was proud of the fact that he could have something to show for his efforts. His favorite hobbies were singing, playing the guitar, golf, bridge, buying, selling and trading at the flee markets, collecting knives, watches, coins, jewelery and clocks.

      Clyde was one of those people who took pride in constantly putting forth his best effort. Nowhere was that more visible than in sports. Clyde was always enthusiastic and a great team player. In high school, Clyde played baseball. In his college years, Clyde continued to stay active by playing baseball. Recreational sports included golfing. Clyde also liked being a sports fan and enjoyed following his favorite teams whenever he got the opportunity. Tops on his list were college football, basketball, boxing and pro baseball.

     His keen interest in things that affected the lives of other people led Clyde to become actively involved in professional and community organizations. Because he was outgoing and worked well with others, Clyde did his fair share of volunteer work. And he wouldn’t shy away from taking the lead on committees or events, either. He was a born list maker and was great at creating and sticking to schedules. In high school, Clyde was a member of the 4-H. In college, Clyde joined the Drama Club. Throughout his later years, Clyde was an active member of the Masonic Lodge and Phi Delta Kappa.

      Clyde was the kind of person who would readily move into action in order to help others. He was appreciated and respected. He could find value in the opinions of others and was passionate about his own values and beliefs. So it’s little wonder that he was active and highly valued by those in his community, serving on committees for the Southern Association.

     His high moral standards and traditional values served Clyde well with his faith. Religion and faith were important to him. He was a member the First Christian Church of Pennington Gap, VA while growing up and was a member of First Christian Church in Johnson City, TN for 54 years. During that time, he was taught Sunday School and was a deacon in the church. He was well respected because he was such an outgoing individual who sought to help in any manner he could.

      A generous and compassionate man, Clyde accomplished much during his lifetime. Though he never set out to gain individual recognition, Clyde was recognized and given awards for his many and varied efforts throughout his life. Some of his most prestigious awards included Outstanding Educator of America, Kentucky Colonel.

      Not only did Clyde enjoy traveling, but he also seemed to enjoy planning all of those trips and vacations. He was a facilitator who could easily make up a near perfect schedule of all of the things to do and see. He rarely tired of going back and revisiting his favorite places. Favorite vacations included a four week trip across the country to the west coast and a family vacation to the New York World's Fair.

      Clyde was a lover of animals and cherished his pets. One of his favorites was George, a Dachshund, who was a best friend for three years. His family was rounded out by his horse, Bob.

      Since it was easy for Clyde to meet and get to know new people, he quickly made friends, even in retirement. Once he met those new friends, he loved sharing stories and talking about the good old days. Since he was practical and cost effective, Clyde was ready when that day to retire finally came in 1982. His new life involved relocating to Knoxville, Tennessee. In retirement, he found pleasure in having more time for buying, selling and trading at the flee markets, playing his guitar and singing. Even in retirement, Clyde stayed in touch with his old friends and made plenty of new acquaintances. He was active in the community and felt fulfilled with the opportunities that retirement offered him.

      Clyde passed away on February 6, 2019 at Shannondale Health Care Center. Clyde died of natural causes at the age of 91. He is survived by his wife, two daughters, five grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren Services were held at Weaver Funeral Home in Knoxville, Tennessee. Clyde was laid to rest in Lee Memorial Gardens in Pennington Gap, Virginia.

      Clyde was a fantastic conversationalist who could engage just about anyone in a discussion. And whenever he said something, he meant it. Clyde was a down to earth person, outgoing and gregarious. He was without question the type of person who enjoyed experiencing things first hand. He was practical and sensible, but what friends and family will remember him for most is the fact that he was so understanding and kind. Everyone whose life he touched will miss Dr. Clyde L. Orr.