You are here

Q & A with Pat Orr: Pizza King of the valley

August 16, 2011

Pat Orr was born in Los Angeles and grew up in the San Gabriel Valley, spending his junior and senior high school years in Ontario.

He attended Chaffey Junior College where he played football and got one scholarship offer from Marshall University in West Virginia. As fate would have it, he decided not to go. The next year, their entire football team died in a tragic plane crash.

Orr wandered up to San Francisco State College which became a university his senior year. He received a degree in broadcast communication arts and a journalism. He almost had a job with Norman Lear Productions working on the sitcom “Sanford and Son,” but the TV writers went on strike and all productions shut down.

He eventually took a job writing tech manuals for a large insurance company in Los Angeles. That morphed into a marketing/sales promotion job until he went into the restaurant business. Orr moved to Apple Valley with his wife and two small children a year after the family’s first Little Caesar’s store opened in Victorville.

Q: Describe a special memory you have of Apple Valley.
A: I was attracted to the feeling of “community” you couldn’t find any longer “down the hill” as small towns like Ontario and Cucamonga grew into a megalopolis. Apple Valley has a history of attracting new people who want a fresh start like Roy and Dale and many others. I was impressed to go to church with Roy and Dale and eat brunch at Apple Valley Country Club with everyone from the Mayor to my gardener. There was no class distinction here. We were all just folks.

Q: What do you do in your free time?
A: We have a beat-up cabin in Crestline we have been remodeling. I play a little golf in charity tournaments and I involve myself in activities of Apple Valley Rotary. I serve on the Board of the Apple Valley Christian Care Center and am finishing up my third and final year in a leadership role with the Chamber of Commerce. Plus I am an elected member of the County Republican Central Committee and do what I can to support local issues and candidates when the opportunity arises.

Q: Tell us one thing that most people don’t know about you.
A: I like to sing and have performed a few times in public with my daughter, Sarah, over the years because when she’s next to me I sound pretty good.

Q: What is your passion?
A: Doing what I can to keep a society where my kids and their kids (someday) have the same opportunities I did to work hard, make it on my own, remain free and promote hard work — not an entitlement — as a way to a better life.

Q: What person, living or from history, would you most like to have dinner with and why?
A: I would like to have dinner with Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin. Jefferson because he embodies and helped create the foundations of what we call “freedom” in this country. He was a thinker, a writer, a farmer, a politician and he put it all on the line and became a wanted outlaw to stand for what he believed in. An interesting guy.

I admire Franklin because of his enduring wit, wisdom and creativity. I imagine he was the fat funny guy who kept all the high flying egos grounded during the First Continental Congress and the events surrounding the Declaration of Independence. None of the other leaders of the Revolution seemed to perceive Franklin as a “challenger” to their place in history, yet he is more often quoted and among the best remembered compared to many of his contemporaries now lost to time.

Q: Where do you get your values from?
A: Observing people I admired and how they earned the respect of others through actions, not words.

Q: Who is someone who had a big influence on your life?
A: My father-in-law gave me my first job sweeping leaves at his concession stand at the L.A. County Fair when I was 7 because my Mom had no one to leave me with and she worked for him too. He was a full time LAPD Officer but spent his vacations running and owning food stands at the fair. It was about work ethic, being honest and being kind to people. He helped all he came in contact with and provided me (eventually) with a wife and a start in the food business.

Q: What is your favorite quotation?
A: “It has been said that politics is the second oldest profession. I have learned it bears a striking resemblance to the first” — Ronald Reagan

Q: Tell us about your faith.
A: I was raised a Seventh-day Adventist then drifted away. Came back to church before I was married and enjoyed the teaching and attitudes I found in the Presbyterian Church. (They love a good potluck.) We attended Church of the Valley for many years and now attend Jess Ranch Community Church.

Q: What is your secret to living a happy, satisfying life?
A: Realizing that personal achievement, titles and money aren’t happiness. No one ever asks to see their bank book or trophies on their death bed. My family is and will always be my proudest achievement. Raising good, productive kids is a real skill and challenge. Choosing a mate to stick with you and do most of the hard work is also important. My only long lasting secret to share with single men is to find an elementary school teacher to marry. They are patient, loving and used to helping us grow up.

Q: What words of advice do you have for the next generation?
A: When someone says to you: “We have always done it this way,” it is time to look for a better way. That is what has defined Americans. We always find a better way.

Q: Tell us about the charities that are close to your heart and why.
A: I share with the Rotary Foundation because it is the only way I know my dollars can be used world-wide and locally for great projects. Together with the Gates Foundation, Rotary is eradicating polio from the globe. I hope I can go on a World Immunization Day trip with other Rotarians soon to India or Africa to help end this disease. I am also committed to the Christian ministry of the Apple Valley Christian Care Center where our goal is to provide senior care in a loving, nurturing environment. If we are lucky we will all get old. Outstanding care for our seniors is something we should all embrace and help improve just out of our own self interest if nothing else.

Q: What’s your favorite sports team and why?
A: I have a weakness for the UCLA Bruins because if my intellect and my left knee had been stronger when I was a senior in high school I could have had a football scholarship there. Plus, you can’t tell me those baby blue uniforms aren’t just really keen. I prefer college sports and high school sports over pros. My son was on the first varsity football and basketball teams at Granite Hills and I like the guys at Apple, so I follow my home town teams.

Q: What is something you are particularly proud of?
A: Married 34 years, two college-educated children who understand the meaning of hard work and what it can produce.

Q: What’s your favorite movie and why?
A: “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.” My college roommate and I had every line memorized and we used them often. The rapport, good humor and loyalty between Redford and Newman was magical and while not historically accurate, you left the theater wanting to believe it all. When you are 20 years old being bold, bad, brave and going out in a blaze of glory is a wonderful image.

Q: Tell us about your favorite thing about Apple Valley.
A: It is getting to be more of a challenge, but it is still possible to connect with people, get involved with people, projects and issues that interest you and make a difference. We still have a community of “small fish” where we can all swim together and not be bowled over by large powerful interests that dominate the big affluent cities.

Q: What book had a significant impact on you?
A: My 10th grade U.S. history book got me hooked on the Civil War and from there it was anything historical. I am an absolute adherent of the phrase; “If you don’t learn from history, you are doomed to repeat it.” This works in life, finance, politics and every other human endeavor.

Q: Tell us about a special vacation.
A: We went with another couple who are our best friends to Germany, and Italy. They met while serving in the Air Force in Germany so they had lots of stories and places to show us. Bavaria was as pretty as anywhere I have ever been and the Germans are friendly and warm, particularly after a few beers. Every small town along the Mosel River had a Wine Festival with bands and parades during the time were there. Then we went on to Venice and Tuscany for some Italian wine tasting. It is awesome to stand in front of a no name church in Balzano, Italy and realize the doors of the church have been there since before Christopher Columbus was born. For a history buff, every street is a new lesson and adventure in the old world.

Q: What makes you tick?
A: I’m a Type A personality that likes to get things done. My wife hopes that someday I may actually learn how to use my “shut up filter” which will make me much more appreciated by the folks I interact with. I have an unfortunate habit of jumping in to help, organize or direct whatever it is. Guess I am a doer, not a planner.

Q: What are five things you can’t live without?
A: My family; the ability to communicate both verbally and in writing; humor; my dog, Scout and my few good friends.

Q: Tell us about one thing you want to accomplish in life.
A: I still am trying to be the person my Yellow Lab thinks I am.

Q: What’s your favorite place to eat in the High Desert?
A: Duhhh ... Little Caesar’s Pizza. Number two is Viva Maria’s in Apple Valley.

Q: If you had three wishes, what would they be?
A: Both son and daughter will have long happy marriages; My money will last as long as my wife and I do; Americans will reject the concept that the government is the answer to all problems.

Q: What’s your favorite guilty pleasure?
A: Any possible combination of chocolate and peanut butter.

Q: Tell us about a happy memory in your first car.
A: One you can print I assume? (Just kidding, Honey.) My parents bought me a 1948 Mercury for $50 from my Dad’s brother who was the original owner. It was a huge gray steel monster that I painted with spray paint to “clean it up.” Since I was older than the other guys I had my driver’s license early, so I became the popular guy who drove everyone to school. Back then in Ontario before storm drains had been invented (apparently) the water would run three or four feet deep down several streets between my house and Chaffey High School. There was no doubt the old “Gray Ghost” as we called her could ford the stream. It was like a Sherman tank crossing a puddle. Unfortunately I wasn’t smart enough to realize that really old wet brakes had no stopping power ... until we did it once. After that we would pick up some speed, crash through the river that was San Antonio Street and then just coast all the way to school. Only once did we have to jump out and stop the car manually in the parking lot. The rest of the time it just kinda coasted into the lot and stopped. Testosterone and total lack of mechanical skills are a dangerous combination.

Q: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
A: As an old guy selling pizza and yelling at some yahoo on the TV to quit giving away my tax money to someone who pays no taxes.

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to say, anything you’d like to get off your chest?
A: I wish all voters would pay attention to issues and candidates more than two weeks before an election. We have to stop listening to what candidates say and watch what they do and have done. I am a native Californian and I have never been so unsure about the future of our State to survive the “gimme gimme” mentality the entitlement gravy train has produced for the last 40 plus years in our beautiful State. If you don’t know anything about the issues or candidates, for God’s sake ... don’t vote based on image or sound bites.

Who would you like to see profiled in an upcoming Q&A? Drop us a line at News@AppleValley-Review.com.

Tags: