Oliver Hamilton Orr, Jr., died at his home in Chapel Hill on January 20, 2018. He was a native of Brevard, Transylvania County, NC on October 6, 1921. He was of Scottish, English and German ancestry that largely settled in western North Carolina some two centuries ago.
He received his education at Brevard College and UNC, from the latter of which he was awarded his bachelor’s and doctorate. He was a veteran of the Second World War. He was professor of history and American government at North Carolina State University from 1958-1965. During this time he produced a long sought and much needed biography of Governor Charles B. Aycock. Thereafter for nearly a quarter-century he served as specialist in American history in the Library of Congress. He and his wife, the former Adriana Pannevis, retired in to Chapel Hill in 1990. Mrs. Orr died in 2005. They left no issue. In his retirement Dr. Orr authored a biography of wildlife conservationist T. Gilbert Pearson and numerous other works, reviews and articles.
In addition to his membership in the HSNC Dr. Orr was active in the Chapel Hill Historical Society, the North Carolina Botanical Garden and the Triangle Land Conservancy.
He was active in several historical organizations and supported numerous organizations devoted to conserving the earth’s natural resources, limiting the size of the human population, and promoting death with dignity legislation. He volunteered his services in a variety of ways, most notably in his retirement years with the Chapel Hill Historical Society, the Triangle Land Conservancy, and the North Carolina Botanical Garden.
Dr. Orr was buried beside his wife in Old Chapel Hill Cemetery on the UNC Campus. The HSNC extends its sympathies to the family and associates of yet another of America’s Finest Generation who made significant contributions to our state’s historical scholarship of the past century. He will be remembered at our April meeting in Gastonia.