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Tribute to Dean Cecil Orr

The funeral took place in Londonderry, this morning (Tuesday 15th November), of the Very Reverend David Cecil Orr, a former Dean of Derry, who died peacefully at his home in the city’s Waterside, last Friday 11th November.

Dean Orr, who recently marked the 65th anniversary of his ordination, served his entire ministry in the Diocese of Derry and Raphoe where he is remembered with great affection by former parishioners and clergy. The current Dean of Derry, Very Rev Raymond Stewart, had been friends with the late Dean for over 40 years and recalls his predecessor’s strong attachment to St Columb’s Cathedral, where he worshipped regularly during the 25 years of his retirement.     

Dean Orr, who was 89, was born a short distance from the Cathedral, in Carlisle Road, where his father owned a draper’s shop. He was educated at the Model School, Foyle College and Trinity College Dublin. The late Dean served his curacy in Drumragh (Omagh) from 1957–60, before being appointed Rector of Convoy and Monellan. He spent 10 years there, followed by incumbencies in the Maghera Group (1970–80) and Drumragh (1980–84). It was a signal honour for him when, in 1984, he was appointed Rector of the Parish of Templemore (St Columb’s Cathedral) and Dean of Derry.

Dean Orr was active in the life of the diocese and the wider community. He was Honorary Secretary of the Diocesan Council and Synod from 1982–95, and secretary of the Derry Diocesan Board of Education for five years until his retirement. He was awarded a Silver Acorn for his long service to the Scouting Association, and the Honourable the Irish Society made him a Freeman of the City of London for his contribution to the community in Londonderry.

Dean Orr is survived by his wife, Valerie, sons Richard, David and Jonathan, daughter Melissa and a number of grandchildren. His Funeral Service took place in Saint Columb’s Cathedral at 11am, this morning, followed by a private family burial.

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