Memorial Service for John Orbell, this Friday (Jan. 11), 4pm Knight Library Browsing Room

Dear Climate Change colleagues,

Some of you knew John Orbell, who was an active member of the UO's Climate Change Research Group since it began 10 years ago and was publishing on climate change in Climatic Change as recently as 2016. He attended all the CCRG Symposia over the years. Of course, most of you who knew him simply as being an active scholar on campus.  He died in late October and there was a funeral at the end of December, but I wanted to bring to your attention that there will be a memorial service to honor John this Friday (January 11th) at 4pm in the Knight Library Browsing Room.  If you have the time, I am sure Sandy (his wife) and other family members would appreciate your presence there. My understanding is that there will also be an opportunity for those so moved to speak briefly about John.
He was a political science colleague of mine who helped me immensely throughout my career.
Best to all of you for 2019,
John MacLeod Orbell            John MacLeod Orbell Obituary
June 3, 1936 - October 20, 2018

John MacLeod Orbell was born in Auckland, New Zealand on June 3rd, 1936. He died at home of natural causes on October 20th, 2018. John was the middle child and first son of Jack and Eileen Orbell.

John completed his B.A. in history at Auckland University in 1957 and his M.A. in 1960. After spending a year teaching high school in New Zealand, John was accepted by the political science PhD program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. John completed his PhD work in 1964 and was offered a position at the Ohio State University in Columbus. After three years, he met some University of Oregon faculty members who invited him to officially visit and be interviewed. The interview led to the offer of a job which John accepted. The fact that Oregon resembled New Zealand in many ways made the decision an easy one.

John became a full professor in 1973 and developed a pattern he followed for the rest of his life. He focused on different areas of study for about ten years before his curiosity took him on to something else. His areas of focus were as varied as urban politics, elections and opinions, social cooperation, human evolution, rational choice, and climate change. His articles were widely published in journals covering topics as varied as English literature, Sociology and Bioeconomics. His scholarship was defined by his inquisitive nature and curiosity about the world around him. In 1997 John became a Distinguished Professor of the College of Arts and Sciences.

His many interests extended to music, poetry and art. He read and wrote poetry and became an accomplished wood carver in his retirement. He was a competitive swimmer in his youth and a dedicated and energetic runner well into his seventies. Everyone who knew John well understood his deep and abiding love for New Zealand. He never tired of visiting, looking at his thousands of photos or tracking current events and politics.

He married Sandra Doler in 1975 and together they had two sons, Matthew in 1979 and Paul in 1983. Matthew, a psychologist, and his fianc?, Khrystal, reside in Corvallis, Oregon. Paul, a musician, and his wife Denise live with their son Erikson, born in November 2017 in New York City. John's sister Margaret Orbell predeceased him in 2006. His brother Graham lives in Auckland, New Zealand with his wife and family.

A memorial service will be held on December 27th, 2018 at 11 o'clock in the morning at the Episcopal Church of the Resurrection in Eugene. Lunch will be served immediately after the service. Memorial gifts may be made to the Church of the Resurrection or to the Union of Concerned Scientists.


Published in Eugene Register-Guard on Dec. 18, 2018