Gerard Joseph Orndorff, 45, Balto. County police officer

September 23, 2002|By Athima Chansanchai | Athima Chansanchai,SUN STAFF

Gerard Joseph Orndorff, a 22-year veteran of the Baltimore County Police Department, died Wednesday at St. Agnes HealthCare in Baltimore after suffering a heart attack while playing golf with a brother. The lifelong Baltimore resident was 45 and had recently moved into a new house in Perry Hall.

Mr. Orndorff was a patrolman first class who worked as an accident investigator in the traffic division. He was the seventh of eight children born to John W. Orndorff Sr. and Mary Kerr Orndorff. His parents divorced when he was 4.

"We became closer taking care of each other," said his mother, who lives in Catonsville. "So this has left a big hole in our hearts."

His father, a World War II veteran who lived in Florida, died Tuesday.

Mrs. Orndorff said her son was especially close to his older brother John W. Orndorff Jr. of Catonsville, a Baltimore County police sergeant assigned to the Wilkens precinct.

"Whatever their shifts were, they would always meet for breakfast in the morning," Mrs. Orndorff said, usually after one of them had dropped her off for morning Mass. "They planned their big thing, their golf dates."

It was during one of their rounds of golf at Rolling Road Golf Course that Mr. Orndorff suffered his fatal heart attack.

"He and my brother John were connected," said eldest brother J. Michael Orndorff of Red Lion, Pa. "The joke was, if John built a new home, he would have to build another room for Jerry. If you took on one you'd have to take on both of them. They were very protective of each other."

Mr. Orndorff graduated from Catonsville Senior High School, where he played baseball. Two years apart in age, he and his brother John were buddies on the baseball diamond, the bowling lanes and the golf courses.

"Every Wednesday and Friday like clockwork, we played golf," his brother John said. "There was nowhere he went without me. That's why it's so hard. I not only lost my brother but my best friend."

His sister Rita Sullivan of Ellicott City said that all his life her brother wanted to be a policeman. He enlisted in the Marine Corps immediately after high school, hoping to be assigned to the military police. But he was stabbed in the heart during a fight while he was defending another Marine. After a long recovery, he was discharged after two years of service.

Granted a second chance at life, he followed his brother into the police force. His elder sibling said he ended up leaning on his younger brother for guidance.

"For whatever reason, I got an extra 20-some years with him," he said. "He was my right-hand guy."

A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 10 a.m. today at St. Mark's Catholic Church, 27 Melvin Ave., Catonsville.

Mr. Orndorff and his wife, Sandra Mounts of Parkville, raised her daughter from a previous marriage, Heather Rausch of Parkville, along with their son Clint Orndorff of Glen Burnie, who graduated from the Baltimore County Police Academy in the spring, and daughter Morgan Orndorff of Parkville. The couple later divorced.

He is also survived by his fiancee, Marie Alford of Perry Hall; another brother, Gregory Orndorff of Ellicott City; three other sisters, Gina Lewis of Hanover, Pa., Peggy Riddle of Mount Airy and Eileen Arrington of Springboro, Ohio; and many nieces and nephews.

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