Friends and colleagues of Judge Mark Orr say he died this morning after a short battle with cancer.
Orr, 54, who was the presiding judge for the 38th Circuit, was diagnosed with melanoma last November. He was on the bench this week, according to Taney County Circuit Clerk Brenda Neal.
In 2007, he succeeded Judge James Eiffert when he retired. It is anticipated that Governor Nixon will appoint someone to succeed Orr.
Orr was a graduate of Hillcrest High School in Springfield. He received an undergraduate degree from Drury University where he was a member of the Kappa Alpha Order. He attended law school at the Universityof Missouri at Columbia earning a juris doctorate degree in 1986.
Following law school he served as a law clerk for the Missouri Court of Appeals Southern District before joining the law firm of Pool, Smith, and Wieland in Springfield.
In 1988 he opened a law office on the square in Ozark where he had a private practice for the next 14 years. He was elected to the Young Lawyers Section and served on the Board of Governors of the Missouri Bar. In 1994 he was elected Prosecuting Attorney for Christian County Missouri. He also served as City Attorney for the City of Ozark and as Municipal Judge for the City of Clever.
In 2002 he was elected Associate Circuit Judge for Christian County Missouri. In 2006 he was elected Circuit Judge of the 38th Judicial Circuit consisting of Christian and Taney Counties. He was re-elected in 2012 and served until his death.
Orr served on the Board of the Ozark Chamber of Commerce, the COMET Drug Task Force and the Finley River Community Foundation. He taught classes as an Adjunct Faculty Member at Drury University.
"He dealt with some of the most difficult and dangerous people and I never heard him raise his voice or lose his temper," said attorney Eric Eighmy.
He is survived by his wife Sarah Taylor Adams and two children, Emily and Mary.
Neal says associate judges in Christian and Taney counties will assume Orr's dockets until an appointment is made.
Visitation will be held from 5 - 8 p.m. Monday (06-02-14) at First Baptist Church in Ozark. Funeral service is at 11 a.m. on Tuesday at the church.