Orie Lavaun (Dee) DeBord was born on October 2, 1928, and passed away peacefully in his sleep on May 9, 2019, at 90 years of age.
Orie was born and raised in a two-room cabin on Griffith Mountain, outside of Pikeville, Tennessee. The son of Grace and Oscar DeBord, he was one of ten children raised on a 100-acre subsistence farm, and he lived a hard-scrabbled early life. He received an eighth grade education at Pikeville’s Griffith School, after which he worked in Bledsoe County coal mines and lumber mills until, in 1948, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy. He underwent boot camp at Naval Training Center in San Diego.
While later stationed at NAS North Island in San Diego, he, on a blind date, met his wife-to-be, Barbara Dean, and they were married on March 16, 1952. Barbara and Orie had four sons, Wayne (Terrie), Kevin (Kathleen), Bruce (Beverly), and Jason (Jennifer). Barbara and Orie were married for 67 years.
Orie served in the Navy for 20 years, and was a veteran of both the Korean and Vietnam wars. While in the Navy he earned his high school equivalency diploma. His Naval career included service in several aviation squadrons and on many aircraft carriers, including the maiden voyage of the USS Ranger, during which she transited the east and west costs of North and South America, crossed the Equator twice, and rounded Cape Horn.
He was also stationed on the 1966 cruise aboard the USS Oriskany, during which she caught fire in the Gulf of Tonkin, off the cost of Vietnam, and during which 44 sailors and aviators lost their lives. He retired from the Navy in 1967 as the Aviation Ordnance Chief in charge of Oriskany’s guided missile shop.
After his retirement from active duty, he embarked on a second career as a civilian employee at NAS North Island’s supply department, where he was in large part responsible for the re-supply of the very aircraft carriers on which he had served. While in that position, he earned an Associate Degree in supervision at Southwestern College, and became fluent in American Sign Language in order to better communicate with several of his subordinates. He retired from his civilian position after another 20 years, in the early 1990s.
Orie was predeceased by his parents Grace and Oscar; his nine brothers and sisters Altha, James, Hazel, Jonnie-Ann, J.T., Fleta, Ray, Hoyt and Benjamin; and his granddaughter Emily.
He is survived by his wife Barbara, his four sons, nine grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.
Orie loved both country and bluegrass music, playing pinochle, cribbage, backgammon, and acey-deucy with friends and family, and, most importantly spending time with his wife, sons, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and friends. He will be loved and missed dearly by his family and by all those fortunate enough to have had their lives touched by this extraordinary everyman.
A memorial service is being held on Saturday, August 17 at DeBord Cemetery with full military honors at 10:00 a.m.