Robert ‘Bobby’ Orrell Jr., living one day at a time, he tried to always do ‘the next right thing’

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Robert 'Bobby' H. Orrell Jr.
Robert ‘Bobby’ H. Orrell Jr.

Robert “Bobby” H. Orrell Jr. died Sunday, Jan. 24, 2016 surrounded by his family.

Bobby was born in “Dry Pond” Wilmington to Robert H. Sr. and Rowena Swann Orrell on May 20, 1921. In addition to his parents, Bobby was predeceased in death by siblings, Althea Canady, Nancy McFadyen, Charlotte Orrell and Clark Orrell.

He spent most of his 94 years in Wilmington, contributing to his community and church, loving his family and working as a local businessman.

Bobby was educated at Tileston and New Hanover High schools and his uncle Robert Way’s plumbing and heating business. He became a journeyman and master plumber. Prior to enlisting in the Army Air Corps in 1942, he was employed by Wilmington’s wartime shipyard. Bobby spent most of the war years in Columbus, Ohio maintaining B-17’s.

After returning to Wilmington in 1945, he started Orrell & Smith Plumbing and Heating with Granville Smith. During this same time period, he met the love of his life, Frances Griffin, his nurse at James Walker Memorial Hospital.

In 1963, Bobby took over the leadership of Canady’s Sport Center. From that time forward, he managed and owned Canady’s with his sister, Althea Canady, and later his daughter, Althea Orrell.

Bobby had a lifelong love of the water and boating and was a member of the Hanover Seaside Club. He was also a lifetime parishioner at Fifth Avenue and Wesley Memorial Methodist churches, and a member of the local Masonic Lodge.

Today, Bobby is survived by the “catch of life,” his wife of 67 years, Frances; son Robert and his wife Debbie, daughter Elizabeth Orrell Brady, son Brantley and daughter Althea. Bobby is also survived by grandchildren, Melanie Orrell, Megan Nashel, and Sara Mazur and great-grandchildren Rebecca and Max Nashel. Furthermore, he is survived by his nephew Duncan McFadyen and his family, niece Jane Orrell and cousin Bill Lee.

Bobby lived his life one day at a time and believed in always doing the next right thing.

Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 29 at Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church. Interment will follow in Oakdale Cemetery. The family will receive friends in the gathering hall at Wesley Memorial from 10 a.m. until time of the service.

In lieu of flowers, please consider contributions to Lower Cape Fear Hospice, 1414 Physicians Drive, Wilmington, NC 28401, or simply make a kind gesture for someone in need.

Please leave online condolences for the family at Andrews Mortuary.

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