October 10, 1932 – November 28, 2018
It is with a strong sense of gratitude that we are recognizing the special impact that Milton Stanley Orris had on the world and the people around him.
Milton passed away suddenly of a heart attack on November 28th, 2018, after 86 years of living life to its fullest. Always active in his community and in causes important to him, he was driving himself to his Rotary Club meeting in Penticton, BC. His family and his friends are so grateful for the time we were privileged to spend with him and we will miss his enthusiasm, caring and intense desire to help and share himself with others. From his birth in Winnipeg on 10/10/1932 until his last days in 2018, he never stopped building connections with others, whether his family, his friends, a waiter in a restaurant or a homeless person on the street.
Milton had too many careers and impacted too many people to recount them all here, but he was a tremendous presence and influence on all manner of organizations and people. He spent his formative years in Grand Forks, BC, where his parents owned the local newspaper. This spawned his first career, working in the newspaper industry honing his lifelong skill as a great writer, crossword genius and Scrabble expert. It was also the site of his first marriage, to Olive Eek. Through his life he maintained his connections to Grand Forks, frequently visiting and being a big part of his sister Dawn’s life and her family’s, including his niece Kelly, and Kelly’s children Spencer and Carley.
He followed his newspaper life by directing Camp Easter Seal for disabled kids and that began a lifelong pattern of helping those less fortunate than himself. That is where he met Yvonne MacKinnon, who became his second wife and mother of his first two boys. After starting graduate school in Saskatchewan, the birth of Loron in 1963, a year in Rasulia, India, and the birth of Jay in 1965, he moved to London, Ontario for a job at Fanshawe College. From there it was on to the University of Toronto where he developed the midwifery course and taught health care administration, a passion that was a pillar of the rest of his life.
Toronto also was where he met his third wife, Diana Bennett and gained two more sons, Matthew and Cameron Scrivens. It was the site of his ten-year long tenure as a Dean at Ryerson, where he redefined what Continuing Education meant in an urban location. Under his tenure the department grew from a sleepy outpost of Ryerson Technical College to a central part of Ryerson University’s mission and financial model. While in Toronto he also began his 40-year association with the Canadian Association Of University Continuing Education and began his Long Term Health Care certificate program and his course in Loss, Grief and Growth. During this time he reconnected with the Unitarian Church and became a Chaplain. Milton loved to be part of peoples’ significant days, to “marry, bury and name”, regardless of religious affiliation or gender. A highlight was to officiate for his son Cameron’s wedding.
As his sons finished university and began to move around the world (Japan, Hong Kong, and two in New York), Milton moved on to the next phase of his life. He transitioned to consulting and into the life of Marilynn Booth and her children Kristen, Kylie and Rob.
With the birth of his grandchildren, Luke (2002), Ryan (2004) and Olivia and Matthew (2007), Milton found new people to share his love with. For Milton, being a grandparent was one of life’s peak experiences. He loved to spend time with his grandchildren, endeavouring to be the best grandfather that he could be. He enthusiastically embraced this new role and loved to talk about his grandchildren with any and all. Milton was always excited to see them, care for them and be a role model, sharing his spirit and wisdom with them.
In 2006 he welcomed Ruth Campbell and her daughter Allison into his life. During these past twelve years in particular, Milton spent a good part of his time traveling around the globe to visit or travel with his sons, spending as much time as humanly possible with them and their families. His move back to the Okanagan Valley to be with Ruth gave him the opportunity to connect back to his roots and share his positive view on life with new communities.
We all have been incredibly blessed to be part of Milton’s life over his 86 incredible years. His light will continue to guide us through the rest of our lives. He truly was a larger than life figure and it is impossible to overstate the impact he had on his family, his friends, his colleagues, and even the strangers around him. His genuine desire to make things better for all people, to help anyone and everyone around him, to have positive impact on any issue or injustice he saw, will continue to inspire us for the rest of our lives.
There are more dimensions to Milton than can be expressed in any statement, so please remember him in whatever way he came to you, as a professor, a friend, a colleague, an athlete, a world traveler (more than 50 countries), a mentor, a community member, or a stranger. He will be missed by his complete extended family, but especially by his partner Ruth, his sons Loron, Jay, Matthew, Cameron, their wives Christy and Tracy, and his four grandchildren Luke, Ryan, Olivia and Matthew.
A Celebration of Milton’s life will take place Sunday, December 16, 2018 – 5:30 pm at the Shatford Centre, 760 Main St, Penticton, BC.
If you wish to offer a gift to honour Milton, please consider donating to the legacy endowment fund set up in his honour at the South Okanagan Similkameen Community Foundation. This fund will exist in perpetuity to support programs for youth mental wellness in our region. Donations will receive a tax receipt.
Condolences and memories may be shared by visiting www.everdenrust.com