Thelma Orr, after persevering through several bouts of tuberculosis, the death of three children and her husband, devoted her life to helping others. She served as an outreach worker for Family Planning, a field worker for the National Urban League, Human Resources Director for Franklin School. In 1963, she trained as a teacher and later became a workshop director in the Laubach Literacy Training Program.
Through her outreach and advocacy work at the Urban League, Ms. Orr facilitated special civil service tutoring to help prepare minority applicants for the police and fire department examinations. Orr was directly responsible for the recruitment and development of a number of African American police officers, including our current Chief, Art Howell.
She continued to serve the community until the time of her death, serving on the George Bray Neighborhood Center Board, the Center for Community Concerns, Lincoln Neighborhood Center Inc. and the Kenosha Job Advisory Council. Her large collection of awards and tributes includes an honorary Doctor of Social Work degree conferred upon her by Carthage College.