Life Story for
John Orendorff Sr.
John Orendorff Sr. was born in the small town of Etiwanda, California in February, 1931. His parents were Willaim Perry Orendorff and Beatrice Wolf.
The Orendorff side of the family trace their American roots to Illinois and then Oklahoma. Orendorff groups settled in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Texas and California. The Wolf family is traced to Davey, also known as Daisy, Scruggs- Wolf. Davey was born in Indian Territory. A full blood, she died shortly after giving birth to Beatrice Wolf.
The Orendorff family has a long history of military service. One family group lived in Pennsylvania but eventually settled near Frederick, Maryland. Christian Orendorff of Maryland was Prisoner of War (P.O.W.) during the Revolutionary War and released by the British during a prisioner exchange October 25th, 1780.
Orendorffs served in WWI and WWII. James Orendorff (John's older brother) served in the US Navy. James' son Jamie later served in the Navy. Ernest Orendorff of West Chester, Pennsylvania served in the Marine Corps until his death in Viet Nam on August 3rd, 1966.
John Orendorff Sr. went to Belmont High School until he lied about his age and joined the Army at age 15. He served as a driver in Korea even though he could not legally drive in the US. After being discharged, he returned to Los Angeles and eventually became a contractor for an Engineering firm that was testing nuclear weapons in the Bikini Islands of the Pacific. While in the Pacific, he was exposed to unsafe levels of radiation that would lead to the paralysis of his left face.
Back on the mainland, he became a bail bondsman outside of the Lincoln Heights Jail, where his slogan was
"Johnny on the Spot." He lost his business due to drug use and when he helped a friend bail out a friend's father and his son. Both jumped bail and John could not bring them back to court.
He had a life long interest in car racing. He was a pit crew member at Ascot raceway in the 50's. He became a driver/owner of a 3/4 triumph-powered midget car and ran races at Trojan Speedway in Southgate. At the same time, his son was a driver for a 1/4 midget car and the father-son team won the Francis Bolden Memorial race held in Chino, California.
He had an incredible sweet tooth which got him in trouble later in life when he developed Type II Diabetes. He miraculously beat the disease, which was of no surprise to anyone who knew him well.
Some would say that John was a man whe died more than once in his lifetime. Through sheer will and maybe some stubborness, he came back to life a fighter to live out his 9 lives the only way he knew how.
He passed away under the excellent care of the California Veteran's home of West Los Angeles on November 20th, 2017 His last spoken words were "ice cream."
He is survivied by
His daughters Rosemary, Argelia and Dan Dan
His sons John Jr., Alberto and Jose
His wives Ruth, Maria Luisa and Grace
His granddaughters Kathryn and Carla and his grandson, Anthony