Betty Jean Orr

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Betty Jean Orr, 84, passed away Monday morning, May 8, 2017, after a brief illness. She was a lifetime resident of Marshall County.

Betty Orr was a pioneer in the newspaper business. She worked at the Marshall Gazette, starting when she was 18. She worked for Jim McCord, who later became Governor of the State of Tennessee. When the Hawkins’ family bought the Gazette, it became the Marshall Gazette/Lewisburg Tribune, and Betty continued her career in the newspaper business. She was proofreader, teacher, mentor and a life coach to many that came through the doors. She used to say, “Just about everybody in Marshall County had worked for the Tribune for at least 5-10 minutes,” and she was just about right.

Betty was born in Culleoka, July 9, 1932, and attended school in Mooresville and finished her high school education at Marshall County High School. She was a cheerleader and that carried on throughout her life. She cheered her friends on throughout their lives. She made every day a pleasure to go to work. She never met a stranger, she was friends with governors, senators, representatives, and vice presidents. She exemplified the meaning of a true friend.

She accomplished many things professionally that she probably felt was not a big deal, but everyone knew different. She was a past Director of the TN Press Association, Associate Editor of the Lewisburg Tribune and then she was named Editor of the Lewisburg Tribune. She never really wanted to be editor, but she was qualified and had the qualities of editor long before she was named as such. She could tell you the proper way to word a sentence, the correct spelling for many words that would otherwise require a dictionary.

To the community as a whole, Betty was the face of the newspaper. From pictures, to obituaries, weddings, birth announcements, and stories, Betty could write and make you feel like you were there and a part of it.

Betty is preceded in death by her husband, Gerald Orr of Lewisburg; her parents, George Wesley and Callie Mae Wilkes both of Lewisburg; and her brother, Charles William Wilkes of Deland, Florida. She is survived by her first cousin, Faye McConnell London of Lewisburg; first cousin, Janice Bond of Goodlettsville, TN; as well as cousins, Yvonne Grass of Arlington, TX and Ramona Kreinke of Roseville, MN. She is also survived by her niece, Kathryn Wilkes of Lake Helen, FL; and her two nephews, Charles William Wilkes, Jr. of Ormond Beach, FL, and Randolph Wesley Wilkes of Franklin, TN.

Visitation will be at London Funeral Home Friday, May 12, 2017, from 4 p.m. until 8 p.m. The funeral service will be Saturday, May 13, 2017, at 11 a.m., followed by internment at Bryant Cemetery in Mooresville.

London Funeral Home in charge of arrangements.