|Death: ||Mar. 3, 2008|
Beloved longtime humor columnist Raymond John Orrock died March 3 at his home in Fremont after a long battle with emphysema and cancer. He was 79.
His quirky columns entertained East Bay readers of the Hayward Argus, Tri-Valley Herald and other papers for more than 36 years. He retired at the end of 2006 but his employer sought to rerun the best of his past columns because of continuing reader requests. His oblique observations and skewed views also were recorded for posterity in the 1985 book "The Best of Orrock."
Ray Orrock was born in Napa to Ray Sr. and Evelyn Orrock and graduated from St. John's Grammar School. He completed high school and college at St. Joseph's seminaries, where he obtained a classical education and graduated with a degree in philosophy. It was when he was in his early 40s, with a wife and five children, that he decided to abandon his job as an Alameda County caseworker and pursue a career in writing. He joked, "They made me an offer I couldn't refuse ... less money."
His son, Chris Orrock, said, "He had a real ability to connect with everyone, including celebrities who visited the Bay Area such as Donald O'Connor, Shirley MacLaine, Jay Leno and his favorite interview with Mel Blanc." Blanc was the voice of Elmer Fudd, Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig and Daffy Duck, among other cartoon characters.
He interviewed and wrote about authors and business tycoons such as Ray Kroc of McDonald's fame, and exercised his license to write on any subject he chose.
In 1996, more than 200 admirers gathered at the Hayward Library Plaza to celebrate "Ray Orrock Day" recognizing his 25th anniversary of column writing. Having written more than 7,000 columns, he never forgot his talent as a cartoonist and artist. He drew a picture of the trilogy assassination (John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy) for the front page of the newspaper. Due to a plethora of requests for copies, the paper made them available for a fee, which raised considerable funds for charity.
Ray Orrock told his family that he did not want any funeral services and his cremated remains will be scattered by the Neptune Society. "However," he added, "if people want to have a drink, read some columns, and share a few laughs that's OK."
He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Marlene Orrock, sons Chris and Mark Orrock, daughters Donna Boyle, Carol O'Brien and Eileen McGowan and eight grandchildren. He is further survived by his brother Jim and his wife Bev of Arizona; and his sister-in-law, Gail Orrock, wife of his deceased brother, Bill Orrock, of Napa.
Napa Valley Register March 09, 2008
My own best memory of Ray was right after 9/11. He had been on vacation and had left a number of columns to be published in his absence, all of which were humorous. He apologized for them on his return, feeling they had been inappropriate for the time period. I wrote him a note letting him know that all that was on tV and radio were horror stories that week, and I would have been deeply depressed had it not been for looking forward to his columns to make me smile over my morning coffee. His reply was humble, grateful, and heartwarming. That he took the time to answer me personally meant so much. God bless you Ray.
Cremated, Ashes scattered.
Maintained by: Merrileem
Originally Created by: In memory of Scott
Record added: Apr 03, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 25724091