During Orrin's senior year of high school, he got his first taste of elective politics by being voted class vice president and winning a citizenship award. Orrin also won Baldwin High's mock presidential election in 1952.
Although Orrin was known as a tough kid who, in a fistfight, would never admit he was beaten, he was not rowdy. One of his favorite memories is attending performances of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, sitting high up in peanut heaven at the Syria Mosque.
A member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Orrin (bottom, second from left) was among some two thousand full-time missionaries in 1954 whom the church sent to forty-two missions throughout the world. He served for two years in the Great Lakes Mission, which included areas in Ohio and Indiana, and he believes his mission experience was the most important two years of his life.
Orrin grew up in this small frame house in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. After losing their first home to the Great Depression, Orrin's parents scraped together their money, bought a heavily wooded acre of land, and purchased secondhand materials to build their house -- board by board. Until they painted it white, one side of the two-story house advertised "Meadow Gold Ice Cream."
Orrin (back row, third from left) decided at age twelve to make basketball his standout sport. He was slender and wiry, stretching 118 pounds of skin and muscle over a frame that reached his full height of six-feet-two-inches by ninth grade. As team captain his senior year, Orrin led his team to win the Triadic Conference championship for the first time in school history.
Orrin met Elaine in an astronomy class during their sophomore year at Brigham Young University. They never had a date before he left for his mission, but they wrote weekly for two years and fell in love through letters. The couple married in August 1957.