Joe John Orendorff, B-17 Bombardier, 8th AF, 100th BG

Joe John (Captain) Orendorff

Orendorff, Joe John (Captain) of Columbia Heights. Born Sept 12 1920 and passed peacefully and surrounded by his family on Jan 10 2015 at 94 years old. Preceded in death by wife of 50 years, Adeline, parents John & Artie Oren-dorff and 6 siblings. Survived by sister Helen Williams (Paul), daughters Pat Blake (Bill) and Debra Moe (Teresa) and son Steve Orendorff (Maureen). Also survived by grandchildren Candy, Don, Hester, Shiloh, Joe, Sunny, Ginny, Dave, Adam and Bobby, 17 great- grandchildren and 2 great-great-grandchildren. Dad lived a life of service. During WWII he served in the 8th Army Air Force, 100th Bomb Group as a Bombardier in a B-17. He flew 29 missions over Germany, 19 as Lead in the squadron. Sitting in the bubble at the front of the B-17, ahead of even the pilot, Dad was literally the first man into enemy territory. In the late 1980's he began documenting his missions with displays and photos, and giving living history talks at Middle Schools, Air Bases and Thorpe Abbotts, England where he was stationed. Dad travelled with all 3 of his children to Thorpe Abbotts, putting life and reality to the stories he told us as we were growing up. He was uncommonly brave, humanly afraid, transparently emotional and proud of his service to his country. Dad served at Northrup King Seed Co. for nearly 45 years from warehouse to Packet Seed Supervisor. Dad served as City Councilman in Columbia Heights for 8 years. He was proud to have a street named after him: Orendorff Way. Dad was one of the original founders of the Brooklyn Center Church of Christ and served as Elder, teacher, song leader, treasurer and fix it guy for 35 years. Dad served as chief chauffer for his wife Adeline and her primary caretaker in the last 3 years of her life. He was a resourceful 'jack of all trades'. "Can't" was not a word in his vocabulary. Dad was a traveler and visited all 50 states. He was strong, confident, and stubborn, with a soft spot for children and dogs. If you ever met him, he did not leave your life untouched. Thank you Dad, for the proud legacy you left us. We will miss you. Thank You to the staff of 17S, 3rd flr, Minnesota Veterans Home. The care, respect and understanding you gave Dad in the last 2 years of his life was amazing. Fort Snelling Interment with Honors at a later date.

Published on January 18, 2015

Star Tribune

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