Colonel George F. Orthey, JR, VMD, born to George F. Orthey Sr. and Alice Eva Downer in Passaic, NJ 8 October 1932, passed peacefully with his sons by his side. He registered for Selective Service 1950 and obtained a BA in Agriculture Rutgers University in 1954 in the Army ROTC program. He stayed in the Army and from there he went on to University of Pennsylvania to earn a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine 1958. He was stationed in the Panama Canal zone where he operated an Army jungle animal zoo. Subsequent stations included Puerto Rico, Washington DC, Texas, Hawaii, South Korea, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania. He was awarded the Legion of Merit in 1982. He Retired as a full Colonel U.S. Army Veterinary Corps 1982. He was married to Mary Lou Wertz of Newport, PA who preceded him in death and is survived by his very dear friend Marian Wood of Camp Hill, his sister Eugenia MacKellar of Newport, VT, and his sons, George F. Orthey III of Taylorsville, NC and his wife Dorene, and W. Scott Orthey of Drexel Hill, PA and his wife Trudy and their children, Madeleine of Havertown, PA and her husband Barry Harvey, Perry, Ben and his wife Julia, and Rosa all of Philadelphia, PA.
As a luthier, 1964 - 2019, he made and sold over 1,500 Appalachian Dulcimers, 1,500 Autoharps, 200 Hammered Dulcimers, 200 Psalteries. He also made a few experimental instruments including a guitar, some mouth bows and two harpsichords. Related to his musical interests, he was a Founder of the Mountain Laurel Autoharp Gathering which grew out of an informal gathering which he hosted on his Newport, PA farm in the 1980’s and was formally established in 1990. The gathering continues to flourish, see https://mlag.org/
He was inducted into the Autoharp Hall of Fame in 1998 and the Old Time Country Music Hall of Fame in 2014.
A viewing will be held at Highland Presbyterian Church,11 Church Road, Newport, PA, 3-5pm on Thursday, August 20.Burial to follow at Wrights Church Cemetery, Millerstown, PA. In Lieu of flowers please consider a contribution in his name to the Gary Sinise Foundation or the charity of your choice.