Deceased June 2, 2008
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Orrin H. Lincoln Jr.
Orrin H. Lincoln Jr. died at age 93 on June 2, 2008, in the comfort of his own bed in Basking Ridge, N.J. Born in Northfield, Mass., and raised in Greenfield, Mass., he graduated at the top of his high school class and spent a year working at the local A&P to save money for college. He attended Amherst on a scholarship resulting from an admissions interview arranged by a former high school classmate. His gratitude for the opportunity to acquire such a fine education led to a lifelong devotion to the College.
After graduating magna cum laude in the Class of 1938, Orrin moved to New Jersey with his wife, Lois, to start a career in the actuarial department of Prudential Life Insurance Co. After 40 years with the Prudential, Orrin retired as vice president of administration.
Orrin and Lois raised three sons in Basking Ridge, N.J., where they became active in many community organizations. Among his many volunteer activities, Orrin was especially proud of his service in the VITA program to provide assistance with income tax preparation for individuals needing help. He was also an active member and trustee of the Bishop Janes United Methodist Church in Basking Ridge.
An avid gardener and accomplished woodworker, Orrin was a stern but loving father and grandfather. Photography fascinated him as early as his high school years, and younger family members are grateful not only for the photographic record he built over the years but also for the careful arrangement and description of the many slides and photographs he has left behind.
After 68 years of marriage and near constant companionship, Lois’s death in 2005 was a difficult transition for Orrin. Shortly thereafter, he faced a diagnosis of stomach cancer with remarkable strength and determination. Even as his health deteriorated, his hearing and eyesight never failed him, and his mind was as clear and sharp as ever. Regular visits from family members from near and far kept his spirits up during his final months.
Over the years, Orrin served his Class and the College in a variety of roles. A Johnson Chapel associate, he felt a great sense of responsibility to give back to the College that took him in as a young man. George Bria ’38, upon hearing of his death, shared the information that Orrin had just been reelected as Class president at the 70th Reunion of the Class of 1938. Planning and attending the Reunions at Amherst brought much joy to Orrin, and it saddened him to have to miss the 70th due to failing health.
Orrin died peacefully in his sleep and with all of his affairs in order, which will surprise no one who knew him. Surviving him are his three sons, two daughters-in-law, and eight grandchildren. He was followed at Amherst by one son, Edward J. Lincoln ’71, and one granddaughter, Emma S. Lincoln ’02, both of whom were proud to follow in his footsteps.
In 1933, at the age of 18, Orrin said the following during his high school valedictory speech, “We are graduating from youth to manhood and womanhood. From now on, it is we who must advance the work which our forefathers have already begun. As we do this, let us always keep before us the reminder that our world is not perfect; that there is nothing which cannot be improved; that there is nothing about which more cannot be learned.” Seventy-five years later, he was still living by the same guiding principles.
Emma Lincoln ’02