Valley Lives - Murray Orlando

The following article first appeared in "The Low Down to Hull and Back News" in the January 12, 2011 issue. Reprinted with permission.

Murray Orlando, 'amazing' Low teacher,h3 dies at 68

by Lucy Scholey

Murray Orlando, former Kazabazua mayor and beloved St. Michael's High School teacher, died Dec. 20 at his Kazabazua home. He was 68.

His wife, Ann Orlando, confirmed he died from a heart attack. Orlando also leaves behind his daughter, Julie Orlando, and son, Matthew Orlando.

A prolific community member, locals knew Orlando as a practical mayor, dedicated athlete and lover of life and people. Locals often spotted him jogging down Martindale Road or driving his truck adorned with Green Bay Packers paraphernalia.

But he was best known as a high-school teacher, at St. Mike's in Low, where he taught from 1967 to 1990.

"That was the strongest thing I believe he did," Ann said.

Valley Lives
Murray Orlando, when he was principal of St. Michael's High School in 1980. Photo courtesy of Lynn Visentin.

A Montreal native, Orlando moved to Farrellton with Ann in 1967 and soon gained a teaching position at St. Mike's. After a year, he took time off to complete a master's degree and a doctorate in educational psychology at the University of Ottawa. During his studies, he remained active at the school and coached the football team.

"He couldn't wait to get back to St. Mike's," said Ann. "He just loved that school."

The school, in turn, also loved and respected him.

Zelda O'Neill was a student during Orlando's first year at St. Mike's. She later became a teacher and worked with him for 25 years.

"Any student will tell you that he was an amazing teacher," she said. "He treated each one as an individual."

Both on the football field and in the classroom, Orlando taught by example. But four hip replacements and problems with his heart, liver and prostrate slowed his athletic and teaching capabilities.

He remained a devout Green Bay Packers fan - driving in his "Packer Tracker" adorned with Green Bay stickers and fuzzy dice - and finally got the chance to watch them play a live home game this past fall.

Orlando is also remembered and respected as mayor of Kazabazua, a position he held for 10 years (1977-87).

A funeral service was held at the McGarry Memorial Chapel in Wakefield on Dec. 23.

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