Lee Orr, age 87 passed to new horizons after a long career of 50 years in
aviation teaching the Spartanburg community and over 1000 students on how to fly. She earned her pilots license in 1965. She
was inducted into the South Carolina Aviation Hall of Fame in 2001. She participated in air races including the All
Women's Transcontinental Air Race, the Air Race Classics, and the Powder Puff Derby. She founded the Blue Ridge Chapter of
The Ninety-Nines, a women pilots' organization. Orr was also a member of the Arkansas Chapter of The Ninety-Nines and later
served as secretary and governor of the organization at regional and national levels and on its international board of directors
Additionally, she received a
number of awards and honors in her lifetime, including the Evelyn Bryan Johnson Award, recognizing career contributions in
aviation, in 2006 and was a 1988 Amelia Earhart scholarship recipient. She was instrumental in getting the Spartanburg Pilot's
Association started and was one of its founding members. "She pushed two or three of the guys to get that started. She
felt it was one of the most important things the Spartanburg downtown airport could do for its pilots," said Joe Sessoms,
public relations chair of the Spartanburg Pilot's Association. The association was a way to keep pilots up to date on safety
guidelines, something Orr was very passionate about. Off the airfield,
Orr was a dedicated wife and mother of three daughters, Willauer, Kimi Kauer, and Babbs Brown. "She was a women's libber.
She loved to travel, loved people, loved church," Willauer said. "She was the matriarch of our family." Kennedy
said Orr was very close to her daughters. "She raised three best friends," Kennedy said. Willauer described her
mother as a beautiful and vivacious person who loved life and loved people and who was loved by all her students and everyone
who knew her. "She loved everybody that she met," Willauer said.
up in the air with her mother, Orr would often remark that she loved flying because she felt closer to the angels and God.
Now she soars with the angels watching over her sisters of The Ninety Nines!