Ellsworth G. Van Orman – Colonel, United States Marine Corps

From a contemporary press report

Ellsworth G. Van Orman, 84, a retired Marine Corps colonel who later was a teacher and administrator in the Alexandria school system, died of congestive heart failure January 9, 1998 at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

Colonel Van Orman, who lived in Arlington, was born in Elkhart, Indiana, and graduated from the University of Illinois.

He served for 24 years in the Marine Corps, beginning in 1936. His career included pre-World War II service in Shanghai; combat operations on the islands of Tarawa, Saipan, Guadalcanal and Iwo Jima during World War II; and service as a brigade and division intelligence officer in Korea during the Korean War.

His decorations included the Legion of Merit, two Bronze Stars, the Air Medal and the Navy Commendation Medal.

After retiring from the Marine Corps in the 1960s, Colonel Van Orman settled in the Washington area. He received a master's degree in school administration from George Washington University and, with his wife, Mary Beth Van Orman, began a 10-year team teaching career in world geography at George Washington High School in Alexandria.

In 1971, he was named director of classified personnel for the Alexandria school system, and he remained in that position until retiring in the late 1970s.

Colonel Van Orman was a founding member, senior warden and vestryman at St. Margaret of Scotland Anglican Church in Alexandria. He also had been a vestryman and assistant treasurer at Grace Episcopal Church in Alexandria.

He was a member of Sons of the American Revolution and the Touchdown and University clubs.

In addition to his wife, of Arlington, survivors include two children, Chandler L. Van Orman of Washington and Bethany Prendergast of Orlando; a sister; three grandchildren; and a great-grandson.


On Friday, January 9, 1998, at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, beloved husband of Mary Beth Van Orman; loving father of Chandler L. Van Orman and Bethany Van Orman Prendergast; brother of Betty Sine. Also survived by three grandchildren, Robin Van Orman, Dr. Bethany Gardiner and Cameron Van Orman; and great-grandson, John H. Gardiner. Services will be held on Tuesday, January 27, 1998 at 1:45 p.m. at Fort Myer Old Post Chapel. Interment Arlington National Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to St. Andrew and St. Margaret of Scotland, 402 East Monroe Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22314.

Read our general and most popular articles

Leave a Comment