Elaine worked closely with then Executive Director Sandy Momyer and together they weathered many successes and challenges. The permit to build our large parking facility was secured after three year’s deliberation with the community. Together Elaine and Sandy wrote the state grant to secure a loan to rebuild our sewer system. Our first open space easement was established. And, Elaine worked hard in rehabbing our wonderful historic buildings, growing our programs and events, upgrading our organizational functions, and just keeping HYS alive and moving forward.
There are many wonderful stories and pictures of Elaine at HYS doing everything from painting rooms, gardening, cooking, Frolicking in the meadow, presiding at meetings and so much more. Elaine was ready for any obstacle. She would sit down, analyze the situation and then come up with a plan to move on – which always worked! She enjoyed telling the story of her first day as president of the Board in 1980 when she opened a piece of mail. It was a foreclosure statement on the Yellow Springs property from Girard Bank. HYS had loans from several Philadelphia banks and financing was difficult in those early days. She responded by taking the notice to previous president John Yerkes and the two of them proceeded to get an appointment with the bank, drive to Philadelphia and resolve the issue. HYS was saved! This was her indoctrination to HYS and throughout her time at HYS she continued to step up and solve its problems.
Elaine is survived by her two sons: Gustav A. B. Orr III and Jacob W. Orr and their families. Originally from northern New Jersey, she began her career as a chemist with the General Electric Space Center before moving to our area and raising her family. She moved to New York City in 2002 where she lent her talents to the Central Park Zoo, the American Museum of Natural History, and the Volunteer Referral Center. She recently moved to Milton, DE, where she was active in the Mid-Atlantic Jack Russell Rescue Association.
Elaine’s sons are planning a Celebration of Life Memorial for Elaine and we will notify everyone when final details are completed. They have requested that memorial contributions be made in Elaine’s name to Historic Yellow Springs, P. O. Box 62, Chester Springs, PA 19425.
We know that you share in our great loss of a friendly, wonderful, generous, professional, hardworking and strong woman with a great sense of humor, who has served HYS so well over the years. Much of what we love in the village, Elaine made possible. Recently during Women’s History Month in March, HYS initiated a series on the women who have been influential in the village of Yellow Springs and a source of sustainability over many years. Elaine D. Orr certainly joins that Hall of Fame as her work here will be felt for all time.
Thank you, Elaine, for all you have done for HYS. Your spirit is with us always.