Harold Orlich
Harold Orlich
Harold Orlich

Obituary of Harold Gary Orlich

Harold Gary Orlich September 11, 1935 – March 14, 2024 

Born in Johnston Iowa, Gary Orlich age, 88, left this earthly life on March 14, 2024. 

He is preceded in death by parents, Nikola and Kata Orlich and his eleven siblings, Dushan, Mary, Reike, Bronco, Mildred, Mike, Eli, Steve, Violet, Nick, and Helen. Daughter Amber Louise died in an automobile accident in 1990. Wife and mother of his daughters, Andrea, Alison, and Amber,  Binney Addison George Orlich, died in 2006. Wife Mary Ann Dunn Daniels Orlich, Mother of son Todd Andrew deceased in 1983. 

Gary is a graduate of Drake University.  Trained in the Marine Corps, Gary fulfilled a childhood intention to learn to fly.  Gary served as a Navy-trained Marine pilot, flying A4s.   

Gary’s career moved into banking, and his love of flying never stopped. His passion led to his dream job, flying as a Captain for Trans World Airlines, where he served until 1994.  On a routine flight, in 1970, Gary protected passengers and fellow crew members during a late night hijack attempt, resulting in a safe outcome for all except the hijacker who had demanded to be flown to North Korea.  Gary served in a training capacity for Saudia pilots learning to fly the Boeing 737.  After retirement from TWA, Gary was hired to train Asiana Airline pilots.  Known in the airline industry for his focus on safety and duty time guidelines he impacted those standards in each niche of his flight career.  Gary trained pilots at Flight Safety in Tucson, instructing in the classroom and simulator.  Gary was hired by Paul Allen and his Vulcan umbrella company to train pilot crews flying the Boeing 757. Gary flew precious art pieces across the Atlantic to be displayed in Seattle.  He flew the Portland Trailblazers to and from NBA games. Flying for TAG Aviation was an adventure taking him to The Amazon, The French Riviera, Greece, Hawaii, The Barcelona Olympics, South Africa, among other exotic destinations. Motivated by challenges and tests of his skills, he successfully landed the large aircraft on a short landing strip in Pullman, Washington, transporting Paul to his Alma Matar.  He forged a special relationship with Paul’s mother, who referred to Gary as “my pilot”. 

Gary’s focus on safety was widely recognized and led to his work with Sentient Flight Group, Inc., providing safety training and check rides to pilots flying for private aircraft owners.   

Working in the world of transportation, Gary’s final employment was driving for Sun Shuttle transporting Oro Valley residents to Tucson destinations.   

Gary’s first love was aviation. His second passion was golf.  Gary’s home course was Tucson National where he also owned three homes over the years.  Gary’s brothers were all golfers and being the youngest, Gary was trained and taught skills and etiquette through early exposure to golfing culture.   

Gary is survived by daughter Andrea (Jeff) of Kansas City, daughter Alison (Karl) of Spokane, Washington, granddaughters Claire and Hillary and grandson Nicholas of Kansas City,  and son Todd (Victoria) of Miami, Florida and grandson Griffin of Los Angeles, and granddaughter Emily of New York City.  Multiple nieces and nephews have loved and admired Uncle Gary.  

Gary is survived by wife Laura K. Orlich and her son Aaron Racine (Barbara), granddaughter Kelly, and grandsons Wyatt and Asa all of Kansas City.  

Gary’s last years were enjoyed with visits from family and watching wildlife and sunrises from the back yard.  He enjoyed quiet times, likely reminiscing about a life of travel and amazing sights, cuisines, interesting celebrities, exquisite golf courses, and family experiences. He impacted with a quiet footprint on the land (with the possible exception of emotional expression on the golf course), while establishing a robust safety presence in the sky above. 


He has earned his rest in peace.  


The family requests donations be made to the following:

American Heart Association


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Alzheimer's Foundation of America


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A Graveside Service will be held at 11:00AM on Thursday, April 11, 2024 at Evergreen Mortuary & Cemetery, 3015 N Oracle Road, Tucson Arizona 85705

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A Memorial Tree was planted for Harold
We are deeply sorry for your loss ~ the staff at Adair Funeral Homes - Avalon Chapel
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