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Welcome to the memorial page for

Orval Dee Major

September 30, 1926 ~ May 31, 2017 (age 90)

Orval Dee Major

September 30, 1926 – May 31, 2017



Orval D. Major passed away on May 31, 2017 at age 90 after a short illness. He will be remembered as a proud grandfather, dear friend, true outdoorsman, and World War II veteran.


Orval was born on September 30, 1926 to Albert and Ivy (Qualls) Major in a rural community near the Green River in Hopkins County, Kentucky. At age 17, Orval enlisted in the US Navy, serving as a seaman first class on a tank landing ship in the South Pacific until the end of World War II in 1946.


After leaving the Navy, Orval became an operations and maintenance professional in the US Army Corps of Engineers. Throughout his 32-year career, he moved up the ranks and worked at three stations along the Ohio River. He began as a lockman on Dam 48 outside of Evansville, Indiana, was then promoted to head lockman on Dam 43 outside of Louisville, Kentucky, and finally became the assistant lockmaster on the Cannelton Locks and Dam in Indiana. He also served as an underwater repair diver on the locks and dams. His diving suit is now housed in a small museum near Cannelton, Indiana.


Orval loved the outdoors, especially hunting, fishing, walking through the woods, and taking a spin on his four wheeler. He also loved animals, and at various points in his life owned horses, cats, dogs, turkeys, chickens, guinea fowl, a sassy rooster named Arty, and a squirrel. He enjoyed wood carving, desserts, and watching professional wrestling and Indiana Hoosiers basketball.


But most of all, Orval loved his family and friends. His frequently hid candy in his shirt pockets for his young grandchildren to find and enjoyed sharing with them his love for the outdoors. He was a true “people person” and never met a stranger. He developed an uncanny ability to quickly make new friends and initiate long conversations with strangers.


Orval was preceded in death by his parents, his brothers Malcolm (Dorothy) Major and Henry “Turk” (Irene) Major, and sister Doris (Cee) Herring. He is survived by Wilma, his wife of 69 years; his daughters Sheila (Robert) Morris and Teresa Major Greer; grandchildren Lauren Morris, Amanda (Mark Rentfro) Morris, and J.C. Greer; his brother Ronald “Buck” (Jane) Major; and his sisters Emma “Jim” (Walton) Hicklin, and Betty Sue (Lloyd) Adcock.


A private memorial for close family and friends will be announced at a later date. Huber Funeral Home is handling his arrangements.




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