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Emmitsburg loses friend, hard worker, veteran

Richard D. L. Fulton

(2/25) Robert Calvin Orner. an 87-year-old veteran of World War II, popular and respected Emmitsburg resident,  and valued employee of Emmitsburg Jubilee, passed away on February 16.

Orner, who was born July 12, 1924, in Harney, was the son of Dewey and Margaret Auchinbaugh Orner, and was married to Blanche R. Harbaugh Orner for 62 years.

Orner worked at Jubilee for over 25 years, and was still a full-time employee at the local food store at the time of his death. He had previously worked at Cambridge Rubber Company in Taneytown prior to its closing.

Pastor Jon Greenstone, Elias Evangelical Lutheran Church, said Orner “served on the church council over the years. He was very faithful and attended church with his wife every Sunday. They were very quiet and humble. (His death) was a great loss.”

Greenstone stated that Orner worked at area farms while growing up in Harney, and subsequently met his future wife, Blanch, at the roller skating rink in Taneytown.

“He was then called away for the war (World War II),” the pastor said. “He said he spent time in Germany and he generally didn’t want to talk about the things he experienced, which were (apparently) next to hand-to-hand combat.”

He loved his gardens, Greenstone said. “He and his wife enjoyed raising produce and they froze and canned their own beans and tomatoes.

Waiting on customers at Jubilee was, to Orner, “more than (conducting) a business transaction,” the pastor noted. “He loved to work, which is why and how he was befriended by so many, because he loved the people.

Steve Trout, co-owner of Emmitsburg Jubilee, said, “He was a good man. He was probably one of the best consistent workers I’ve ever known.”

“Bob was like the father figure and the soul of the community,” Trout stated. “He was 87 years old, never worked less than 40 hours a week. He was a great man and a hard worker.”

Jubilee Manager Rich Boyd said he was always impressed with how hard of a worker Orner was. “He was dedicated and reliable. There’s so many adjectives you could use to describe him.”

“He was always helpful to customers,” Boyd stated. “I really have been amazed at how many customers have come up to us and the staff and said how sorry they were to hear about him (his passing).”

“He was fun. He’d be a little bit of a character and joke around and had a great sense of humor,” the store manager said. “He could dish it out. He was fun to work with.”

Orner started off in the grocery department of Jubilee and ultimately worked in the deli and seafood section where he helped the deli manager, Lisa Manahan, order supplies, set up the seafood sales case and merchandise.

Orner was a member of the Masonic Lodge and VFW Post 6918 in Harney.

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