The seventh annual Volley for a Cure event being staged on the Lee University campus on Friday, Nov. 1, will be missing a familiar personality this year.
For six consecutive years, JoRetta Orr has been courtside cheering on the volleyball team, whose players affectionately called her “Jo Mama.” Mrs. Orr died in June at the “young” age of 82.
As a result of her support and influence on the event, sponsoring committee members voted to dedicate the 2013 event to “The Memory of Jo Mama Orr” and to name the annual scholarship in her memory. Each year, between games 2 and 3, a scholarship is given to a college-bound student whose life and family have been affected by breast cancer. This year that scholarship will officially become the “Jo Mama Volley for a Cure Scholarship.”
The Volley for a Cure event is a major undertaking first begun by Jo Mama’s daughter and son-in-law, Lee University volleyball coaches Andrea and Kevin Hudson. Andrea recruited her sisters, Zandra Whaley Welch, Linda Roark, Yvonne May and Kathy Eaton and then a tradition of all out “Pink” fundraising for the cause of cancer began.
Each year the events get bigger and bigger, and now include a luncheon, the sale of T-shirts, charity ballgames, sponsorships and a fun fundraising event called Flamingo Flock where residents find bright pink flamingos on their lawn and make donations to send them on to other friends, supporters and co-workers. Proceeds support the MaryEllen Locher Foundation.
In the midst of all the festivities has always been Jo Mama, cheering on her daughters, the volleyball team and athletic departments at Lee University.
Culmination of the series of pink events each year is the traditional volleyball game which has been dubbed the Volley for a Cure, with all players, their families and students on board for the cause.
A familiar sight at each year’s game was Hudson’s mother, Jo Mama, who cheered from the sidelines in her wheelchair. She was always decked out in the pink attire of the day and intermingled with spectators and athletes with her enthusiastic personality and wit.
A tradition of her family was to pose for a mother/daughter official photo at the conclusion of each game.
An avid sports fan, Orr was an inductee into the Lee University Athletic Hall of Fame as a meritorious winner for her many years of faithful attendance at many school athletic events. She was also an avid Atlanta Braves and UT Vols fan. Having been a fast-pitch softball pitcher in her youth, she was fond of softball and through the years attended all the games of her children and grandchildren.
Orr is a former employee of the Church of God International Offices and Church of God Publishing House. She also worked for a short time in the Bradley Central High School cafeteria. She was a member of North Cleveland Church of God in Cleveland for more than 35 years.