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George Orr

George Orr, 90, of Guilford passed away on April 21. George was born in Avoca Beach, Australia on August 16, 1933, to Arthur and May Orr and grew up on a farm in rural New South Wales. His father was from New Zealand and an Infantryman in the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC), who served and survived battles at both Gallipoli and the Somme in WWI. All returning soldiers were given land, theirs in Australia. 

As a young boy George became interested in bicycles and quickly excelled in the sport on the road and on the track. From 1948 to 1955 he raced and won several large races in Australia including the 131 mile Goulburn-Sydney, 132 mile Bankstown-Wollongong, and multiple state and national track titles as both an amateur and professional. As a young man, while racing full time, he also gained a trade as an electrician. Soon after turning professional he left Australia for Europe where he was part of the first wave of Australian riders to race there. He lived in and competed for teams in Italy, Holland and Belgium and even trained and raced with famed Italian cyclist Fausto Coppi.

In the winter of 1956, he worked in London in the cycling off-season where he met his future wife. Married in 1957, George and Iris lived in Belgium while he pursued his cycling career. Struggling to make ends meet George took a job as an electrician on the DEW (Distant Early Warning) Line across the Arctic. They mainly lived in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada while George commuted to his Arctic base.  They came briefly back to London before moving on to South Africa where he was an electrician in the mines in the Johannesburg area.

After 2 years they moved back to London, where George worked as a salesman in the British Engineering sector as well as maintained a side interest in selling cycling equipment. He started a family in London and then eventually moved to the USA in 1977 where he continued his import/export cycling company. He started to race again in the US, along with his two sons, and continued to race bikes into his 70’s. In 1993, when he was 60, he won the Masters World Cup.

George was passionate about cycling, having coached many up and coming cyclists from Australia and Great Britain in the 60’s, he continued coaching in the 80’s at Yale and Choate Rosemary Hall and was a personal coach to many individual riders in the New England area over the years. He and Iris dedicated a great deal of time and effort in promoting races and the sport across New England. George also owned and operated a window cleaning business along the Connecticut shore for over 20 years. 

Always having a story, George had a quick wit and his Aussie charm won him many friends.  He remained loyal to his Australian roots even though he spent most of his life away from there.

In 2012, George was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease and bravely fought that condition while always keeping his dignity and sense of humour,  leading to the need for full time care 2 years ago.  He passed peacefully at Apple Rehab Care Home in Colchester, CT.

Husband to Iris for 63 years, (, he leaves his sister Dawn of Brushgrove Australia, two sons Ross of Colchester CT and Stuart of Nyon Switzerland, two grandchildren Kyle and Nerea, and a great grandson Jayden. He was greatly loved and had many friends across the world. He will be greatly missed.

There will be a memorial for family and friends later this year celebrating the lives of George and Iris Orr.

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George was a real character. He had such a quick wit and great sense of humor. What a facinating and full life he lived! I really consider myself lucky to have known him.

Deepest condolences to his family and friends. Wish I could be there for the memorial.


-Piet Masone


An amazing man! An amazing life! It was a privilege to have known dearest George. He was an inspiration to our entire family and it was always a pleasure to see him, Iris, and his wonderful family. He will be sorely missed. Love always, Eva.

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