Justin Orvis

Justin Orvis was remembered as a giving person who loved family and friends and always kept a positive attitude, even in the face of a crushing disease, believing a sad or angry day is a wasted day.

“He never seemed angry, he told me once, ‘I’ve made up my mind to be happy every day,’” said his aunt Sue Orvis. “He looked at every day as a gift.”

A 1999 graduate of Port Washington High School, where he played basketball and football, the 6-foot-6-inch Mr. Orvis attended college at Northern Michigan University in Marquette, Mich., where he played football.

After college he moved east and met his wife, Tess Stammler, of Virginia. They married in September 2010 and lived in Wake Forest, N.C., where he worked as a field electrician for McKinstry Co.

He died July 15 due to complications from glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer.

Those who contract the disease are typically only given 13 to 14 months to live, his aunt said. But Mr. Orvis lived 22 months, during which he underwent two surgeries to remove brain tumors.

When he was diagnosed as having the disease, his wife, Tess, was pregnant with their daughter, Abigail, who is now 1. They also have a son, Hunter, who is 4.

His positivity helped his aunt’s 18-year-old daughter, she said.

“He called or texted my daughter, Alyssa, almost every day. She’s dealing with an auto-immune disease and he’d be hooked up to his chemo and she’d be hooked up to her IV and tell her, ‘Stay positive, keep fighting, keep going, you can do this,’” she said. “She’s doing very well now.”

Mr. Orvis most enjoyed spending time with his children and family and his Boston terrier, Pepper.

He was fond of working and playing outdoors, whether gardening, landscaping or fishing, especially at his grandparents‘ and uncle’s house on the Menomonee River in northern Wisconsin. The family plans to take his ashes to the cabin there, his aunt said.

Despite living in North Carolina, Mr. Orvis continued to root for Wisconsin sports teams, especially the Badgers, Brewers and Packers.

He also was a skilled carpenter, building a jungle gym and treehouse in the yard for his children and converting his garage into a “man cave.”

Mr. Orvis often returned to Wisconsin whenever he had vacation time, making it a point to not only visit immediate family, but also his many aunts, uncles and cousins.

His last visit to Wisconsin was in June when he spent time with his large extended family and attended a Brewers game with high school friends.

“He was going to go fishing up north but he took a turn for the worse and had to go home earlier than he planned,” his aunt said.

By that time, Mr. Orvis had lost sight in his left eye and control of his left leg, Sue Orvis said.

Besides his wife and children, Mr. Orvis is survived by his parents Andy and Ann Orvis of Port Washington, sister Kerry Orvis of Belgium, and grandparents Richard and Carol Beyer of Pembine. He was preceded in death by his grandparents Roland and Elaine Orvis.

A celebration of Mr. Orvis’ life will be held from 2 to 5 p.m. Aug. 19 at the bandshell in Veterans Memorial Park in Port Washington. In lieu of flowers, donations are requested to “The Benefit of Justin Orvis” at Port Washington State Bank for a college fund that has been established for his children.



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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

125 E. Main St.
Port Washington, WI 53074
(262) 284-3494


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