Patricia Orrok

Obituary of Patricia Ann Orrok

Our mother, Patricia Ann Orrok (Wall), known as “Pat” by all her friends, died peacefully at home in Belvidere, New Jersey on the morning of June 23, 2023 at the age of 94. Mom was born on June 11, 1929, in Cranford, New Jersey, daughter of John B. Wall and Mae O. Wall (Kobarg) and younger sister to Joan. She married George W. Orrok, also of Cranford, in June of 1950 and soon set about accomplishing her greatest desire in life: to raise a family. Settling in a cozy home in Roselle Park, first came the three girls- Catherine, Patricia (Tricia), and Maureen; then the three boys- John, Michael, and Peter. Things were tight in those days, both in money and in space. But Mom, expert in running things on a tight budget, made wholesome casseroles that probably cost about a dollar, and served them to a family of eight that all sat at a table that was no bigger than a standard card table. The riches Mom (and Dad) provided were childhoods free of worry, memories of day-trips to Sandy Hook beach, cookouts in the Watchung Reservation, and camping trips in Vermont with Aunt Joan, Uncle Roy and our Hagerstrom cousins. Christmas was a special time. All children went to bed Christmas Eve without evidence of a Christmas tree or presents. The next morning, with all children waiting at the top of the stairs, Dad went downstairs to “check” to see if Santa had come (and plug in the lights). Then we children came down to a house completely transformed with a decorated tree with presents spilling out all around it.

In 1974, with the three boys still at home, the family moved to the historic village of Norton in Hunterdon County, New Jersey. In rural Hunterdon, there were often great expanses between where you lived and where you needed to go, such as to the grocery store. So, in her late forties, Mom learned how to drive and got her driver’s license. Driving a car allowed Mom to accomplish the ordinary errands that come with running a household, but also gave her the opportunity to work in a professional setting. Mom worked for a time in the 1970’s and 1980’s, first running the day-to-day operations at the Hunterdon County Chamber of Commerce, then at Horizon Bank in Clinton, New Jersey (later to become Chemical Bank and then Chase Bank). The Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce, himself a retired executive of a major utility company, told Mom she could be running a Fortune 500 company. To all who knew Mom, that sounds about right.

The house in Norton became the place for many gatherings as the family grew to include many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. The July cookouts for Dad’s birthday, and Thanksgiving and Christmas gatherings were very special times. Over the years, everyone received as gifts their own special and indelible memories of these family gatherings. In the center of the action was Mom, usually presiding over the work to be done in the kitchen. Anyone wandering into the kitchen was usually given an assignment, or they would face the famously repeated line, “If you are not here to work, out of the kitchen!” Order and discipline were the trademarks of Mom’s household. After dinner activities usually included a card game (often the game of “Hearts”). Mom seemed to know what cards everyone held, the odds of a particular card being played, and more often than not, won the game. This earned her the nickname “Rain Mom” after the well-known movie where card-counting was a prominent theme.

Although raising children was Mom’s life’s work, and circumstances prevented her from attending college, Mom was a true intellectual. Well-read and conversant in a wide variety of areas- religion, history, science and literature, Mom kept up with the latest developments in science and the natural world through the news, books, and her subscriptions to magazines such as National Geographic, The Smithsonian and National Wildlife. Mom remained very active until just a few years ago when her vision made it impossible to drive; she enjoyed Bridge Club and Book Club and the special friends she found there, museum visits, and many other activities. In her last days she expressed satisfaction that she had accomplished her life’s work: raising a family.

Mom was predeceased by her mother and father, her sister Joan, and our Dad, her husband of 61 years. After Dad’s passing, Mom’s dear friend John Smith provided companionship very special to her until his passing.

Mom’s survivors include her children, Catherine Orrok (Daniel Noble); Patricia Costello (Richard); Maureen Baldwin (Richard); John Orrok (Marlene Dooley); Michael Orrok (Kathleen); Peter Orrok (Joyce); and the twelve grandchildren and nine great grandchildren she adored.

A memorial service will be held, the date, time and place to be determined.

Donations in Mom’s name may be made to Common Sense for Animals, PO Box 589, Broadway, NJ 08808; or through their web site at .



A Memorial Tree was planted for Patricia
We are deeply sorry for your loss ~ the staff at Martin Funeral Home
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