October 5, 1941 – September 16, 2019
Richard DeVore Orvis Jr., passed away at the age of 77, on September 16, 2016. He was born on October 5, 1941, in South Bend, IN, to the late Richard Orvis Sr. and Eunice (Bachman) Orvis.
Richard or “Dick” as many knew him, attended South Bend Central High School, (class of ’59) and kept up with the monthly Alumni lunches. After high school, Dick worked at the Orvis Funeral home, in South Bend. This is when his music career began. He then graduated from IU Bloomington, with a bachelor’s degree in Business. Richard was a life-long musician and made his career by playing rock-n-roll, blues, jazz, and pop. A talented keyboard player, he was also the lead singer for many bands, including: The Suave Gents, The Ultra-Tones, Dickie & the Debonaires, The Fugitives, Mother Bear, Champion, Me & Them Guys, and Dick & Debbie.
Dick recorded several 45’s, including “Please Mr. Disc Jockey”, “Yo-Yo Girl” (featuring his wife Gwen at the time on background vocals), “The Stomp”, “The Lonely One” and with the Fugitives rousing covers of “Lonely Weekends” and “Sticks & Stones”. He lived in California from 1968 – 1978, performing at such legendary venues as The Fillmore West and The Avalon Ballroom. During this time he teamed up with Roger Salloom & Robin Sinclair to record an album for Chess Records (“Salloom, Sinclair & The Mother Bear”). He returned home to South Bend in 1978 where he continued his music career, teaming up with Debbie V and forming the band “Champion”. For most of the past 10 years he and Debbie V performed at The Elks Club and Bent Oak Country Club and provided music therapy for residents at nursing homes and memory care facilities in the Michiana area.
Richard is survived by his 3 sons, Richard (and Dawn) Orvis III of Granger, IN; David Orvis of Allen, TX; Cris (and Brooklyn) Orvis, of Mishawaka, IN; his sister, Julie Pomp, of Seattle, WA; companion Lucy Deguch of South Bend; long-time music collaborator, Debbie V, of South Bend; grandchildren, Patrick Harold, Byron Orvis, Madalynne Orvis, Ian LeDoux, Gavin LeDoux, Jackson LeDoux and Alyssa Wilson; “honorary” step-children Chris DeGraeve and Scott Mennucci; former wife, Paula Orvis, and her children, Nick Wiatrowski, Vicky Wilson; as well as many great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews.
Richard is preceded in death by his parents Richard Orvis Sr. and Eunice Orvis as well as his first wife, Gwen Brown.
The Orvis family would like to thank St. Joseph Regional Medical Center Critical Care Unit for the care Richard received there and to all his family and friends that visited him.
Visitation for Richard, will be held on Tuesday, Sept. 24, from 4-7pm at the McGann Hay Granger Chapel, 13260 SR 23, at Cherry Rd. A service will take place on Wednesday, Sept. 25, at 11am, with visitation one-hour prior. Pastor, Scott Bowie, of St. Peters United Church of Christ will officiate the service. Burial will immediately follow at Riverview Cemetery in South Bend, IN.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made in Richard’s name to the American Lung Association (lung.org).