BELLVILLE — His name meant “green pine tree.” Orrin McConkie was aptly named. He was tall and quiet and strong and full of life and when the strong winds blew hard against his branches, Orrin simply swayed and let the storm pass.
A young man of few words, Orrin’s tilt of the head and genuine smile communicated much more. What he lacked in words he more than made up in actions. Remembered as a hard working teen, Orrin loved agriculture, loved animals and loved to watch things grow. He earned the nickname “Hoss Cartwright” from his FFA friends because he was a big guy, with a big heart and gentle toward man and animal alike.
Sunday afternoon, April 7, 2013, Orrin turned his attention to farming and growing. He knew that a seed buried would promise new life in the form of a stalk and grains. While Orrin was working the field he went to be with the Lord from a tractor accident. He was 17.
Born Orrin Dwain McConkie Feb. 21, 1996, in Mount Vernon, he was raised near Bellville and attended Bellville Elementary and Grace Christian School before transferring to Clear Fork Schools. Orrin held deep bonds with his friends at school, and attended Knox County Career Center on the condition that he could remain in the Clear Fork FFA.
He was in his junior year at Clear Fork and was involved in every aspect of FFA: He was active on the trap shooting team, instrumental in agricultural displays at the Bellville Street Fair and helped with the fruit and tree sales. He recently made a trip to Denver, Colo., for a cattle show, visiting progressive farming sites all along the way.
Orrin really delighted in growing things — he loved to see how the Lord would raise something beautiful from a small seed he buried. He studied the Farmer’s Almanac to know the exact day to plant each variety of vegetable. His greenhouse is brimming with seedlings. He knew to grow his tomatoes away from his peppers. And he knew the tender care it took to raise a beautiful garden. Orrin had strong “milker hands” and lovingly cared for his milk cow, beef cattle, a calf and goats.
No project was too much for Orrin. He made his own butter and cheese and yogurt, and always had an eye on tomorrow. “What are we doing tomorrow?” he’d ask. “What’s for supper?” he’d inquire. He was overly cautious and all about making plans — lest he forget or neglect something.
An active member of North Bend Church of the Brethren, Orrin loved the youth group of the church. He put his love in action with the church by helping to build Habitat for Humanity homes in Shelby. He chose to spend his birthday in Alabama on a mission trip with Samaritan’s Purse, rebuilding homes for victims of the Tuscaloosa tornado.
Orrin was an all-American, hardworking, productive young man, the kind of young man any parent would be proud to call their son. God, country and community were all very important to him.
His family will cherish the memory of a young man beyond his years, who knew the Bible inside and out, who couldn’t get enough information on the Civil War and who looked forward to Thursdays — the day the “Farm and Dairy” News came to the house. They include his parents, Rob and Missy (Smith) McConkie; his sister, Cora; and brother, Wyatt; his maternal grandmother, Sharon (Cooperrider) Smith of Bellville; his paternal grandfather, Bob McConkie of Bellville; aunts and uncles, Marcie and Todd Leedy of Bellville and Pam and Adam Lee of Maryland; cousins, Lane and Monae Leedy and Faith, Hannah, Isaac and Luke Lee; and a huge circle of friends.
He was preceded in death by his grandfather, Harold W. Smith; and his grandmother, Barbara (Smith) McConkie.
The McConkie family will receive friends Thursday, from 1 to 7 p.m. in CitiChurch, 541 Ohio 97 West, Bellville. A worship service, giving glory to God for growing an outstanding young man — tall, quiet, solid — like a majestic pine tree — will be held Friday at 11 a.m. in CitiChurch. His pastor Patrick Bailey will speak. Orrin’s natural body will be sown in Bunkerhill Cemetery.
Contributions in his memory to Jefferson Township-Bellville Fire Department or North Bend Church of the Brethren may be made through the Bellville Snyder Funeral Home.
It is an honor for Snyder Funeral Home to serve the McConkie family. You may send a private message to them online by visiting: www.snyderfuneralhomes.com.Copyright The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.