James M. Orr, 72, a loving Husband, Father, Grandfather, Brother, Friend and Mayor of Monett, Mo., passed away on Friday morning, December 18, 2015 at Cox South Medical Center in Springfield, Mo.
Jim was born on October 25, 1943 in Parsons, Kan., son of the late Boyd H. and Viola K. (Davis) Orr. Growing up in Parsons, Jim graduated from Parsons High School with the class of 1961. Jim earned a bachelor's degree in education from Kansas State University in Pittsburg, completing his master's degree there in 1971. On June 4, 1966, Jim and Vicki Riggs were united in marriage at the Central Avenue Christian Church in Parsons, Kan.
Jim moved to Monett in 1966 and taught machine shop at the new Monett Vocational-Technical School. In 1972 he became Assistant Principal at Monett High School, and in 1980 became Director of the Vo-Tech school. In 1991, after 25 years with Monett, he got the opportunity to go to Ozark Technical College, where he worked for 10 years as Director of the Secondary Program, much like Monett's. He retired in July 2001.
Jim spent three years on the National American Vocation Association board of directors, and was appointed by then- Governor John Ashcroft, to the Missouri State Council on Vocational Education. Two years later, he was appointed to the Missouri Job Training Council.
In 2004, Jim was elected Mayor of Monett and re-elected to three terms. He served longer continuously than any previous mayor. Building projects completed during his administrations included the Justice Center, the rebuilding of the City Park Casino, the golf course clubhouse, the water treatment plant, the standpipe on Wellington Drive, the Eisenhower Street railroad bridge and widening Highway 60. The Monett Municipal Airport was expanded and officially became a regional airport. New master plans for transportation, downtown flood control the airport were adopted. The water system was upgraded into a unified loop. The city council partnered with the Chamber of Commerce and business owners to form Monett Main Street, which secured a historic downtown district designation from the state. The city council agreed to lease a portion of South Park for the new Monett Area YMCA. A city administrator was added to streamline government operations.
Jim served three terms on the Monett R-1 Board of Education from 1992 to 2001, during which the new Monett High School was constructed.
Jim was a faithful member of the First Presbyterian Church in Monett, where he served as an Elder and Treasurer. He was also a member and past President of the Monett Lions Club, a member of the Abou Ben Adhem Shrine, and a board member of the Missouri Retired Teacher's Foundation. Jim also liked to invest his time in the community. One of his favorite volunteer positions was with the Lifetime Sports Program at the Monett High School.
Jim enjoyed pheasant hunting in western Kansas and taking his annual excursion with his friends to Canada to go fishing. However, nothing brought him more joy than spending time with his family, especially his grandchildren.
Jim is survived by his wife, Vicki (Riggs) Orr, of Monett; two daughters, Amy Riddle and husband Dan, of Fort Myers, Fla. and Jennifer Blevins and husband Ronald, of Oklahoma City, Okla.; one sister, Deborah Lamb and husband Terry, of Parsons, Kan.; as well as four grandchildren, Akash James Kalra, Levi Riddle, Abigail Blevins and Lincoln Blevins. Jim was preceded in death by two sisters, Betty Dodson and Marjorie Orr.
Funeral services for Mayor Orr will be held at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, December 22, 2015 at the Monett High School Performing Arts Center. Reverend Bill Vincent will be officiating. Interment will follow at the I.O.O.F. Cemetery, Monett. The family will receive friends for visitation on Monday evening from 5-8 p.m. at the Monett High School Performing Arts Center. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the Monett Alumni Scholarship Fund or to the First Presbyterian Church in care of the funeral home. On-line condolences can be made at www.buchananfuneralhomemonett.com . Arrangements have been entrusted to Buchanan Funeral Home, Monett, MO.