Evelyn Loretta Orth

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Evelyn Loretta Orth

August 28, 1924 - December 23, 2018

Evelyn Loretta Orth Evelyn Loretta Orth, 95, former longtime Norman resident, community volunteer and elected official died on Dec. 23, 2018, in Noble, Oklahoma. Born Aug. 28, 1923, in Pittsburgh, PA, Evelyn was the daughter of Harry and Lena Kusserow, and lived there until graduation from the University of Pittsburgh in 1941. She was awarded a graduate assistantship at the University of Wisconsin, where she met Leo Everett Orth and they were married in 1947. Upon her graduation in that year with an M.A. in Geography, and Leo's completion of a Ph.D. in Soil Fertility in 1950, they resided in Minnesota, Illinois, and Iowa before moving to Norman in 1966. They retired to New Mexico in 1995. Leo died in 2003, and Evelyn returned to Norman, to live near her children and grandchildren.

Evelyn became involved in public affairs with her election to the Norman Board of Education on which she served from 1972 to 1977. Active in the Republican Party, she was elected County Commissioner in 1981, the first Republican to hold office in Cleveland County in 49 years. She served until 1983, and as Chairman of the Board of Commissioners, was instrumental in the creation of a Citizens' Advisory Panel, in obtaining funding for a new County Detention Center, and a new facility for the County Welfare Department.

In the 1970's, Evelyn was a realtor, and a real estate appraiser, and for 25 years was a dedicated community volunteer in many civic, health, mental health, and cultural activities, including the League of Women Voters, the Cleveland County Mental Health Association, the Cimarron Circuit Opera Company, the Norman Code Enforcement Authority, being a member of the Norman School Board, and many more. She was a nominee for Norman Community Volunteer of the Year in 1985, and was awarded a Citation for Dedicated Community Service. Evelyn was proud to be a founding member of St. Michael's Episcopal Church in Norman, Oklahoma.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Leo E. Orth, in 2003, daughter Irene Jernigan in 2013, great grandson Rylan Thompson in 2016, and brother Oliver "Rusty" A. Kusserow in 2015. She is survived by two daughters, Cheryl Margaret and her husband, Jimmy Lee Chapman, of Long Beach, Indiana, and Wendy and her husband, Kevin Currigan, of Lakewood, Colorado; two sons, John Clinton Orth and his wife Teri of Norman, and Daniel Leo Orth and his wife Kimberly, of Lexington. Her grandchildren are Jay Brendan Chapman and his wife Patricia, of Downers Grove, IL, Casey Jonathan Chapman and his wife Marina and their two children of Woodridge, Illinois, Bryan Schneider and his wife Heather and their three children of Golden, Colorado, Brandon Thompson and his wife Olivia and their two children of Norman, and Makenna Orth of Moore, Oklahoma. Evelyn is also survived by her brother, Harry Kusserow and his wife Catherine of McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania, numerous nieces and nephews, and friends from St. Michaels Episcopal Church, and from the Noble Health Care Center.

The funeral will take place on Thursday, January 3rd, 10:30 a.m., at St. Michael's Episcopal Church, 1601 W. Imhoff Rd., Norman, Oklahoma, to be followed by interment at the columbarium there. The celebrant will be Father Jason Haddox. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to St. Michael's Episcopal Church or to the National Alliance on Mental Illness Norman, P.O. Box 1774, Norman, Oklahoma 73071.
Published on December 26, 2018
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4 posts

Deb (Orth) Shuttleworth
Jan 12, 2019
Dear cheryl, My heartfelt sympathy to you and your siblings, children, and grandchildren for losing your dear Mother, Grandmother and Great Grandmother. She was truly a great woman. I remember her well, even though I was quite young when I last saw her. She was a strong, confident woman, a great role model for her children and other young people who had the privilege of knowing her. I loved her spunk and her confidence. I know how much you will miss her, but may you find comfort in the many wonderful memories you shared with her. How wonderful that you were able to spend time with her during her final days. Sending peace and prayers to you.
Cheryl Chapman
Jan 09, 2019
Our mother, Evelyn Orth, was educated as a teacher. She had A+++ expectations of everyone so I will start this out by saying that her A-plusses were in Art, Adventures, and Activism. I’ve taken storytelling and writing workshops, and one thing I’ve learned that I love, is that you pass down the best of a generation to the next generation. So that’s what you’ll see here – and I hope you will add some of your own.
Our mother had the personality of an artist – ups and downs – creativity and passion. From teaching us how to draw, to painting lunchboxes and bikes, to sketching her dogs and dabbling in oil paints and landscapes, and even designing her dreamhouse in New Mexico, she
... loved art.
“Us kids” benefitted by the adventures she planned for us each summer – national parks, Disneyland, camping, resorts, often including a visit to our relatives in far flung states. Our memories are of the pre-seatbelt days, 4 or 5 kids crowded into the back of a 1955 Cadillac…not necessarily appreciating all of her vacation plans for us. But it planted the seeds in our lives for our own adventures. Once she retired, she was able to take church trips and other long-distance travels to the Holy Land, Egypt, Europe and more, always adventures. Along with our dad, she went to the Ukraine and the Dominican Republic to do volunteer work. Our dad helped the farmers, and Mother helped in the libraries and schools. Even after she decided to not travel anymore, she still dreamed of traveling!
As an activist – well, people who came of age and got America on its feet again after the Great Depression, and won WW II for us, had such a strong sense of citizen participation in our own democracy. From getting an ordinance for sidewalks in Norman through the LWV to running for political offices, from being a community journalist with the Transcript to dedicating her life to the Norman School Board – she was involved. Every morning at breakfast, she’d read the paper, and discuss current affairs with the family. When our sister, Irene, who passed away several years ago, developed mental illness at age 13, Mother became an advocate for the mentally ill. Those were the days when parents were blamed and when treatment was not as effective as it is today…hard times…but through the work of people like Mother and the National Alliance on Mental Illness, things continue to change for the better today.
And Mother really loved church. In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, her parents didn’t really go to church after they were married, but little Evelyn managed to find a church and attend it. At first it was in German, and later in English. Even after Thanksgiving of this year, she was able to say grace in German and sing German songs. She was a founding member of St. Michael’s in Norman, and so proud of that. For all of “us kids’” lives we always knew she’d be going to choir practice one night a week! She was a dedicated singer and musician, with a beautiful voice. And Christmas was her favorite holiday of all. She’d gather us kids around the piano or her pearly fret-boarded guitar, and we’d sing the holiday hymns. She took all the old German customs, including trees, nativity scene, and trains, she could from her family traditions, and she always made sure that Christmas, Easter, and birthdays were the happiest days of our year. Plus, her best friends were from church. So on behalf of our family, a big thank you to St. Michaels, thanks to all of the angels at Noble Health Care Center and Norman Hospital, thanks to her doctor, Kumar Ennamuri, her Hearts of the Home friend Shirley, and most of all, thanks to my brothers and sisters and niece Makenna, who made sure that Mother had a Triple A+ time of things as she went on her way to celebrate Christmas with the angels up in heaven.
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Barbara & Richard Kusserow
Jan 02, 2019
Dear family we are sorry for the loss of your beloved Mother Evelyn. We wish we would have had more of an opportunity to get to know her better. She visited us in our home in El Paso and was always a delight to talk with. Dad spoke of her highly and shared fond memories with us. She was a person of faith and lived her life as a child of God. We share your loss and pray that our heavenly Father will grant you peace and comfort. We know that she and dad and your dad are having a discussion now as only the Kusserows can do. She will always be with you as you carry the memories of her that you have shared stored in your heart. We send our love,prayers,and Texas size hugs. Richard & Barbara
Dec 27, 2018
Hi Cousin Cheryl; Please accept my deepest condolences. You mom was an amazing accomplished woman. Especially considering the times she clearly was a pioneer.

Sending you and your family peace and love.

Cousin Paula Park