Condolences for Thomas “Tom” Edward Orr

Frances Stewart posted on 4/10/21

Frances Stewart - Class of 1972. What an inspiring, wonderful - and tough - teacher, drama coach and mentor! Fond memories of going to Chapel Hill drama competition with ONCE UPON A PLAYGROUND, and YOU'RE A GOOD MAN CHARLIE BROWN and our senior play YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU. Any classes he taught were not-to-be-missed and full of lively discussions. Thank you, Mr. Orr. I was blessed to have you in my life.


Elizabeth Iler Coleman posted on 1/27/21

To my absolute favorite and best teacher of all time, Mr. Orr, thank you for your inspiration and your high expectations. As I shared with you many times, you impacted my life and made it better. I aspired to the position of professional educator and used the strengths and abilities you saw in me and refined, to teach my students. All my love and prayers for your family, the Bearcat Family, and Hendersonville. We have suffered a great loss and a heartbreak that will never mend.


Theresa (Orr) Schwab posted on 1/22/21

Cousin Tommy introduced me to family history, which has become a passion. I will miss him forever, this talented writer and gifted storyteller.


Jerald Wright posted on 1/19/21

Old Friends die and leave a memory of peace and longing for times long past. I miss Mr. Orr and the spirit he brought to all who knew him. What he stood for and the dedication he had for our town and friends will be remembered.


Michelle Gossett posted on 1/14/21

Michelle Gossett-Class of 1992 Mr. Orr was willing to enhance the best potential of any student willing to learn. I gained a passion for Shakespeare through his teaching and passion for Shakespeare. He made learning fun, but he was not tolerant of giving less than the best of your potential in his class. I remember making an A in his class and feeling such pride. I challenged an English teacher in college. I told him as far as English and English teachers are numbered. I did not need validation from any other instructor for the rest of my life to my literacy or competence in English. I had studied under Tom Orr and made an A which to me is the highest honor I will ever receive.


Jean McGrady posted on 1/13/21

Tom was a delightful gentleman and historian, always with a quick smile and a story.. I knew him from his work on the library board. He will be sorely missed. Best wishes to all his family.


Sandra Little posted on 1/11/21

What a great man, one of a kind. He will surely be missed, but most definitely loved!


Sandra Little posted on 1/11/21

What a great man, one of a kind. Will surely be missed, but most definitely loved!


Vickie Osborne posted on 1/11/21



Vickie posted on 1/11/21



Kelly Bell Lytle posted on 1/11/21

I have so many fond memories of Tom Orr. Most importantly, he challenged me to do my best and believed in me. His wit and humor were second only to his love of teaching others. He changed my life for the better in so many ways.



Michelle Morgan posted on 1/11/21

One of the best teachers I had at HHS (84) He instilled confidence and brought out the best in his students. Kept in touch even after school up to Dec 31. Definitely will be missed. Thoughts and prayers to the family


Sandra Morgan Carpenter (Sandee) posted on 1/11/21

Tom Orr was a good friend to me and my family. I was able to move from calling him Mr. Orr when he taught me high school English to Tom when he directed me to two of his historic courthouse plays. I was not involved in drama in high school but always wanted to be. My husband Bill was the actor. I knew Tom would wanted Bill for parts in the courthouse plays and to get to Bill, he went through me! Lol, I was a hard one to teach but he made me feel valuable to the plays. He called me his lucky penny. Tom loved my mother, Beulah Morgan. He interviewed her once for his article. They also enjoy discussing the teenage canteen and changes over the years. Tom was always so happy to see his students. I especially loved catching up with him at the annual HHSAA Hall of Fame Awards. We both loved beach music and shag dancing. Thank you Tom for making me an actress! You will be missed! I hope someone carries out his vision of having bronze statutes on Main Street commemorating folks who contributed so much to Hendersonville. He had mentioned Don Barber and Robroy Farquhar. I think a statute of Tom Orr would fit right in!


Johnny Gibbs HHS class of '69 posted on 1/11/21

Mr.Orr was a standout during my high school years as well as afterwards. Always took time to stop and chat about anything and everything. We have lost a true champion and Bearcat, much too soon.


Felicia Williams posted on 1/11/21

Mr. Orr was the best teacher I ever had. He would challenge me to do the right thing and even force me to be in a play. He was and always will be the BEST.


Bill Stokes HHS Class of 1981 posted on 1/10/21

Mr. Orr had a woven Thoreau quote hanging on his wall when I was in school: “If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.” I am so glad the music he heard kept him in our community for so many years. RIP, good sir. Godspeed!


Alyson Reim Friedman posted on 1/10/21

He referred to me fondly as his “impudent hussy”, a nod to My Fair Lady - our senior play. I played Eliza Doolittle under his direction. He supported and honed my acting training in high school. We participated in many one act festivals statewide and those experiences gave me a foundation on which I still continue to build on. He remained a friend and cheerleader - always encouraging. I will hold on to his memory forever and I am so grateful he was one of my mentors. I will miss him deeply.


Lynn Hollis posted on 1/10/21

I am so sorry at the Passing of Mr Orr. He was one of my favorite teachers and I have so enjoyed reading Ridge Lines. He will be sorely missed by the whole community.


Samantha Hannah posted on 1/10/21

He made all the waitstaff at Mills River Restaurant day better and lives better by getting to know him. I was lucky enough to get to see him and catch up a few days before his passing. He will be greatly missed and will forever be a part of the family here at Mills River Restaurant


Yvette Taylor(Prissy) posted on 1/10/21

Calling me Pristine. Me callung him Puddin.


Ray Bennett - Class of 1969 HHS posted on 1/10/21

Tom Orr had "Great Expectations" of us all! He will be missed greatly by all of us who had the privilege of his excellent instruction, demanding of excellence, Quality of leadereship, and warm friendship.


Marcia Mills Kelso posted on 1/9/21

My heart is broken over the loss of Tom Orr. He gave so much of himself to so many over the years. He was by far the best teacher during my years at HHS. His teaching, writing, directing, etc. will be missed in our community for years to come. There will never be another Tom Orr. My heart and sympathies go out to his family at this time. Love to you always Mr. Orr!!!


Kathy Streeter Morgan posted on 1/9/21

Tom Orr was a true treasure as an educator, thespian, historian, and friend. We will miss him greatly. Please consider donating to the Thomas E Orr scholarship fund so we can honor him each year with a scholarship to a deserving senior. Make check to Hendersonville High School Alumni Association, 1 Bearcat Blvd, Hendersonville, NC 28791 or donate online at and specify Tom Orr Scholarship Fund


Linda Alton Gilbert posted on 1/8/21

Such a wonderful man and always a pleasure to talk to.How he helped write the stories of the Honor Air and the play was something that will always be cherished. His stories of our town will always be special for generations to come.


Michael Sinclair posted on 1/8/21

I met Tom in the first grade and we remained lifelong friends. The news of his death leaves me with a hollow feeling in my stomach. I’m having great difficulty accepting that we shall never again recall humorous events in our school days.


Lynnette Raines posted on 1/8/21

My thoughts,and prayers are with the Orr family. Mr Orr made such a positive impact on our community.


Martha Gaillard posted on 1/8/21

Tom was a friend to all who knew him. What a shock and what a loss. His family will be in my prayers.


Dorothy Capes Weaver Class of '85 posted on 1/8/21

Mr. Orr was an amazing English teacher. He was always kind and made you laugh but you learned so much. Thank you Mr. Orr .


Dot Beddingfield posted on 1/7/21

To Carol, Ashley and Orr Family, You're in my heart, thoughts, and prayers at this time. I hope you always hold onto the warm and wonderful memories you shared together, and that they continue to bring you comfort and peace. Mr. Orr was an inspiration to all of us who knew him. Ashley, he told me many times how much he loved you and thanked me for being your teacher. As the saying goes, "What a teacher writes on the blackboard of life can never be erased." That is certainly true of Mr. Orr.



Gleanus Gilliam posted on 1/7/21

He was interested in my mother Serepta Arrington WWII veteran 98 now. He done a story on her family ,The Hamilton’s , whom he was ken too. His interest was kind, sincere, He became a friend on Facebook too. Love his stories in the paper.He will be missed.Prayers to his family


Alan Wylde HHS class of 1975 posted on 1/6/21

Tom Orr was the finest and most inspiring teacher I ever had, from kindergarten through graduate school. I have followed his example long into my own maturity, though I live hundreds of miles away.


Alton Connor posted on 1/6/21

I am so deeply saddened by the sudden passing of Tom Orr. Our lives have been connected for well more than 50 years. He was my sophomore English teacher at HHS and we saw each other out and about thru the years at the grocery store, at church, at productions he put on. He was an icon in this community and his physical presence, as well as his vast historical knowledge and his enduring friendship will be greatly missed. I'm thankful that my life was touched by him. I will always be grateful that he thought enough of me to ask me to speak at the funeral of another beloved HHS teacher, Hannah Logan Edwards. I send my love, thoughts, prayers and deepest sympathy to his family as they walk through this season of grief! We all grieve with his family. Tom Orr, you will be missed by many because you touched the lives of countless many. Excelsior!!!


Lynn Garren Lance posted on 1/6/21

I am heartbroken at the passing of Mr. Orr. He has been a staple in my life from my childhood as a neighbor to having him as a teacher at HHS. I have too many fond memories of Mr. Orr to list. He was a wonderful man and I learned so much from him that has enriched my life. Mr. Orr will be greatly missed in the Bearcat Family and the community at large. Rest In Peace, Mr. Orr, you blessed our lives!



Diana Mebane McHenry posted on 1/5/21

What I remember the most about my Uncle Tommy was his amazing sense of humor. Even from a young age, I remember his quick wit and storytelling. Many of his stories involved memories of growing up in Hendersonville. I know he touched many lives during his tenure as a teacher at HHS and as a dedicated community advocate in his beloved hometown of Hendersonville. He was a shining example of living a life full of joy and purpose. He will be sorely missed.