John Orso of Highland Lakes, N.J., passed away quietly on Sunday, Sept. 13, 2020, at home surrounded by many of his children and grandchildren at his side. He was in his 90 year.
Chief Orso and his wife, Theresa, were married for over 61 years and raised five children while he proudly served as a police officer in Fort Lee for over 40 years. John often worked three jobs while attending college to obtain a degree in Criminal Justice while helping to raise the children .He was also accepted to Law School. They lived “up at the lake” full time once he and his wife, Theresa retired here in 2001. His beloved wife and grandson, Sam, pre deceased him in 2018.
John was born and raised in Fort Lee to immigrant parents, Natale and Caroline Orso. He was the fifth of six children. His father and his brother, Louis, passed away before he was 9 years old. This experience helped him to become responsible at an early age and develop empathy for others. He owned a candy store, The Fort Lee Stationary and worked with his uncle, Gaetano Tarrona in construction before he was drafted into the army during the Korean War.
John was a humble man who during the War, served as a Psychological Warfare Specialist. He earned a Korean Service Medal with 2 Bronze Service Stars, United Nations Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Oversees Bar, Combat Infantry Badge and Good Conduct Medal. Due to injuries received he was awarded a Purple Heart and Veteran Affairs Disabled Status.
Once he returned from service, John worked as a Port Authority Police Officer before joining the Fort Lee Police Department. He worked as a juvenile officer and eventually achieved the rank of Chief before retiring after more than 40 years of service.
John along with his beloved wife Theresa, instilled the importance of faith and family into his children and grandchildren’s lives. Taking are of others and sharing his faith was of utmost importance for him.
Chief Orso attended Mass and prayed the Rosary and Divine Mercy daily and attended Eucharistic Adoration. He was a member of the Knights of Columbus, Our Lady of Fatima Legion of Mary, the Veterans of Foreign Wars ; was a Eucharistic Minister at Hackensack University Hospital and Our Lady of Fatima Church. John was an avid Yankees fan and enjoyed watching the games with his children and grandchildren by his side.
He leaves behind his son, Ron Orso and wife, Kathy, daughter Jean Orso and husband Roger Grey, daughter Mary Rose and husband Alfredo Castro, daughter Kim Orso Tong and daughter, Dr. Colleen Orso and husband, James Sullivan; as well as his 11 grandchildren, brother Dominick and wife Wilma and many beloved nieces and nephews and loving friends.
The wake was held at Ferguson Funeral Home, Vernon, on Sept. 18. A Mass of Christian Burial took place at Our Lady of Fatima, Highland Lakes. A private burial will take place at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Holt International Special Needs Children’s Fund (holtinternational.org) 250 Country Club Road, Eugene Oregon 97401, or New Jersey Right to Life Organization, 242 Old New Brunswick Road, Piscataway, N.J. 08854.