Blair Orr passed away unexpectedly but peacefully at his acreage near Stand Off, Alberta, aka "the Ranch", on January 28th, 2021. He died at a place he loved since he was a small child going on cattle roundups on a horse with his father, Lee Orr. Blair leaves a legacy of five children, Wesley, Christy, Michael, Nikita and Natasha, eight grandchildren, his foster-daughter Cindy and her four children and her grandchildren. He is survived by his wife, Mylene, from whom he was separated but remained close with, his first wife, Lorna, and by two of his three older sisters; Anona and Genille, and by his older brother, Lynn. He is pre-deceased by his older sister, Nelda, and by his parents; Lee and Viola. Blair was adopted in a native ceremony by Art and Betty Healy and considered them as a family his whole life. While Blair was adopted at birth by the Orr's, he was reunited with his biological family and is survived by his mother, Wanda Garrett, who turns 100 years old this week, and by his brother, Corbin. He is predeceased by his colourful sister, Carla, in the Vancouver area and father, Richard Rose, in Edmonton, whom he only briefly met once.
Blair lived a full and exciting life. There are literally hundreds of almost fanciful stories out there about him. He was born at the current Galt Museum, then the Galt Hospital, on July 15th, 1946. His single mother, Wanda, while living in a house in the river bottom (there were houses down there then), tearfully decided to place him for adoption. They would not be reunited until 1985. Seven days after his birth he was adopted by Lee and Viola Orr and grew up learning to work on the family farm at Orton. His favourite part about his childhood was riding horses. Against his father’s wishes, he frequently skipped school to show up on cattle roundups. Lee Orr would go as far as hiding all the saddles and bridles so that Blair could not ride the roundups and would attend school. Blair would just make a bit and bridle out of some twine string, ride without a saddle, bareback, and show up anyway.
Blair moved to Calgary in 1966 and joined Simon Karate School and by 1969 Blair had earned his Black Belt. Blair opened his first Karate School as a yellow belt under the direction of Simon Karate. Then he moved to Lethbridge and opened the Orr Karate School. Blair was an excellent instructor and helped so many young students to build confidence in themselves and build strong bodies by combining Karate instruction with bodybuilding. He organized and promoted many tournaments in Southern Alberta as well as entering tournaments himself to test his skills against other schools in Canada and the USA. Blair won or placed in over 10 tournaments and attended seven Ed Parker’s World Competition in Long Beach, California. Blair switched from no-contact classes to Full Contact Kung Fu and ended his years of competing in 1975 by winning The North American Full Contact Championship in Vancouver where he knocked out his competitor in 6 seconds of the first round.
Blair was a family man. He first married in 1969 and spend much quality time with his family out exploring the hills and mountain roads of Southern Alberta in his four-wheel-drive Blazer. He loved fishing and could spend days walking the riverbanks searching for the best fishing holes with his kids. The family also spent much time at a beautiful river-bottom acreage with two rivers running through it where they had many campouts and parties with extended family and friends. Blair’s friends included many native families with whom he had fostered long term relationships since childhood. He loved attending Indian Days at Stand Off and had become a member of the Blood Tribe Magpie society which sponsored tribal pow-wows at Stand Off and where he received the name of IniPoca, translated as White Buffalo Calf. Blair was very artistic and spent his late years making native crafts which he sold locally. He kept horses at the ranch and his children learned to ride with him during the many trail rides and campouts into the mountains around Waterton.
He will be sadly missed by the many people and groups he interacted with over his life. Depending on Covid-19 rules, there will be a Memorial Service at the Ranch in July of this year. Information on this will be forthcoming.
To send flowers to Blair's family, please visit our floral store.