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Dr. Virgil Orr

Wednesday, April 28, 2021
Dr. Virgil Orr

Dr. Virgil Orr, 98, passed away peacefully early Saturday morning, April 24, 2021. Funeral services will be 1 p.m. Wednesday, April 28, 2021, at Temple Baptist Church in Ruston.

Interment will follow in the Douglas Cemetery in Choudrant, under the direction of Kilpatrick Funeral Home of Ruston.

A visitation was held from 4-6 p.m. Tuesday, April 27, 2021, at Temple Baptist Church in Ruston.

Virgil was born in February, 1923, and reared in Glenmora, where he graduated from Glenmora High School as valedictorian. He then moved to Ruston to attend Louisiana Polytechnic Institute (Louisiana Tech University). There he met his soul mate, Myrtis Chandler, where they both worked in the Tech Dining Hall. He later became her tutor for organic chemistry, and they always said, “Our chemistry worked real well together.”

He graduated in 1944 with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering, and then began serving his country during World War II in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 2766th Photo Mapping Battalion. During a 14-day leave, Virgil came back to Ruston to marry Myrtis on April 13, 1945. Seven days after their marriage, they parted as he boarded a ship bound for the Philippines.

He returned in 1946 and went on to get his M.S. and Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering.

After a few years at United Gas Corporation, Virgil came “home” to serve as a professor of Chemical Engineering at Louisiana Tech University. He then went on to become the Dean of the College, and finally Vice President of Academic Affairs until his retirement in 1980.

He stayed very busy after retirement by serving as a founding director for American Bank of Ruston, board member and past president of the Ruston/Lincoln Chamber of Commerce, state representative in the Louisiana House of Representatives, vice president and president of the Sunrise Kiwanis Club, along with participation in several other civic organizations.

He remained active at Louisiana Tech by serving as board member and president of the Louisiana Tech Engineering Foundation, as well as board member and president of the Louisiana Tech University Foundation. He received several awards from his beloved university, including the Tower Medallion Award in 1994 and the Alumnus of the Year Award in 1996.

Virgil came to know Christ as his Savior at the age of 15. He was a member of Temple Baptist Church for 69 years, where he faithfully taught Sunday School for 61 years. He served in many capacities at his church — including Deacon, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, and adult sanctuary choir.

He was most proud of his family and was completely devoted to Myrtis for their 76 years of marriage.

Anyone that spoke with him knew how much he loved his two daughters, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. He lived a Godly life and has left a wonderful legacy.

Virgil was predeceased by his parents, Jesse Lee and Lonie Orr; his siblings, Ed Orr and Irma McKee; and son-in-law Ed Rice.

He is survived by his loving wife, Myrtis Chandler Orr; his daughters Virginia Orr Rice of Little Rock, and Marilyn Orr Hyams and husband Bill of Ruston; four grandchildren, Ron Weiland of Monroe, Brian Weiland and wife Laura of DeFuniak Springs, Fla., Toni Hyams Crawford and husband Dickie of Ruston, and Daniel Hyams and wife Michelle of Madison, Ala.; and eight great-grandchildren, Joshua Weiland, Beau and Landon Weiland, Emma Crawford Richardson and husband Danny, Adam Crawford, Nate Hyams, Sam Hyams, and Adrienne Hyams.

In lieu of flowers, please make memorial contributions to Temple Baptist Church Mission Fund, 1515 South Service Road, Ruston, LA 71270 or Louisiana Tech Foundation, P.O. Box 1190, Ruston, LA 71273-1190 for benefit of the J.E. Orr Scholarship.

Online condolences may be sent to the family at