HIETT, Orrie Griffith
"Wheels up and roaring off the flight deck for the last time, but much higher altitude than I ever flew. Going to meet my Savior and enjoy the beautiful, blue sky." (O.G. Hiett)
Orrie G. Hiett, Jr., of Toledo, OH, passed on 11/4/2021, at the age of 90. He was born on 9/3/1931, in Buffalo, New York, to Orrie G. and Gretchen (Twigg) Hiett. When he was an infant, the family moved to Baltimore, MD, where he graduated high school from Baltimore Polytech Institute. His fondest childhood memories included spending summers visiting his grandparents' farm in West Virginia. He vividly recalled "sitting in the porch swing with my Grandma at twilight, gently swinging, listening to the whip-poor-wills and katydids and watching the purple martins flying this way and that catching their dinner."
In early 1950, aware he was soon to be drafted into the U.S. Army to serve during the Korean War, he immediately enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served as an electronics technician aboard the USS Mississippi. An announcement was made for those interested in attending the U.S. Naval Academy to see the ship's Captain. He applied, passed the test, and graduated from the USNA in 1957. His son, Todd, followed in his footsteps, graduating from the USNA in 1988. During his Naval
career, Orrie completed flight school and became a Naval
Aviator and flew off the USS Intrepid. One of his most memorable experiences was when his plane caught fire during an in-air refueling maneuver, and he had to bail out into the
After completing his service in the Navy, he joined General Dynamics Corp., Ft. Worth, TX, as a test pilot and instructor for the F-111 program before moving into a corporate pilot
position with them. While there he flew many celebrities,
including Bob Hope. He then served as their Marketing
Director and later their Office Manager in Dayton, Ohio. After retiring, he went to work for LTV, Chrysler Technologies
Airborne Systems, and Raytheon, retiring in 1997. During
retirement, he taught physics and meteorology at Owens Community College near Toledo.
Orrie married his former wife, a Navy widow, Evelyn Jones, in 1960 and became an immediate father to her three boys.
Together they had a daughter and another son. In 1990, he married Paula Bateman and accepted her two daughters as his own.
Orrie loved to read and to travel, from Chicago to San Francisco to New York to Spain, Italy, France, England, Bermuda, and Ireland, where he attended the USNA vs. Notre Dame college football match. He was a faithful Lutheran and member of St. Paul's Lutheran Church, Toledo. He also served on the board of directors for the National Aviation Hall of Fame in Dayton for many years. He had a beautiful tenor voice and was always singing in church choirs, as well as in a barbershop quartet. He was a kind and loving husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, always full of good humor and a friend to all. He was dearly loved by many and will be greatly missed.
He is survived by his best friend and loving wife of 31 years, Paula; his younger sister Sylvia Thomas; his children Michael (Susan), Andy, Torri (Dawn), and Todd Hiett, Sharla (Steven) Marks and Celeste (Richard) Meader; grandchildren Keenan (Nicole), Tom, and Alex Hiett, Kristine (Justin) Mayhall, Brad (Allen-Michael) and Wade (Amanda) Marks; great-grandchildren, Evelyn and Alice; his college roommate and dear friend, Fred Derr, and very close friend, Jim Lauber. He was preceded in death by his parents, an infant sister, Rachel, and a son, Chris Hiett.
His final resting place will be at The United States Naval Academy Cemetery and Columbarium in Annapolis, Maryland. The family requests that in lieu of flowers, those wishing to
remember him might consider making a donation to St. Paul's Lutheran Church, Toledo, or to the United States Naval
Academy Alumni Association & Foundation.
"High Flight" by John Gillespie Magee
"Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds, and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there,
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air
Up, up the long, delirious burning blue
I've topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or ever eagle flew
And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God."
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