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UPDATED: Frambors Founder, Town Meeting Member Steve Orr Has Died

Orr, 58, died Monday unexpectedly from heart failure.

UPDATED: Town Meeting member and Frambors moderator Kathy Vassar said Frambors is down and not working as of 6 p.m. Moderators are working on a fix or alternatives. Framingham Patch will update.

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Editor's Note: We were saddened to hear of Steve's death Monday night. The following is a statement released by the moderators of Frambors:

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It is with heartfelt sadness and shock that we announce the death of Steve Orr, the owner and founder of the frambors email list. Steve died unexpectedly of heart failure yesterday evening at the age of 58.  Right now the family would appreciate respect for their privacy as they deal with the shock of their loss. We will pass on information about funeral arrangements as the information becomes available.

Steve devoted much of his free time to promoting accountability and transparency in local government, and frambors was the primary vehicle for doing so. In his own words, "Why do we need these lists? This is a crucial question. This system of mailing lists is designed to be a great big flashlight to shed light on what's happening in Town government and in our community. Framingham government didn't used to be as good as it is today. As a matter of fact, some of the events that transpired were regrettable. I've only been here since '95 so I never saw how bad or good it was. But the point is that people tend to do better when everyone is better informed. [it] has been a vital source of community information, advice and recommendations on a wide variety of topics. You'll soon learn to appreciate the wide range of knowledge in our community."  

To promote accountability, he insisted that everyone sign their real name to every post. Just compare the posts here to the comments on local media articles, and you will know how critical that accountability was to creating civil discourse.

Steve dedicated an enormous amount of time to maintaining frambors and making it a better list. He managed all the technical details, and did some pretty nifty coding to minimize spam. He networked with owners and advocates for local issue forums. Whether you agreed with him or not, he was always exhorting people to provide better information. There was a tremendous amount of work behind the scenes to make this frambors happen and to improve the quality of the list. As moderators, we have the deepest appreciation for Steve's ongoing support and technical support.

In addition, Steve was a long-term Conservation Commissioner and Town Meeting member from Precinct 1. He was dedicated and diligent in his service to the Town, and his services to the town of Framingham will be enormously missed.

For now, we hope people will take a some time to honor and remember Steve.
After all, we wouldn't be here talking with one another without him.

For the time being, we will attempt to keep the list operational, but we don't expect this to be an indefinite situation. At a later time, we can discuss list logistics. Certainly, finding a way to keep frambors alive is one way to honor Steve. However, for now, let us focus on the man who made the conversation possible.

Thanks,
Linda Dunbrack and Kathy Vassar

TechGirl January 31, 2013 at 10:59 PM
Steve is gone and no one can possibly fill those shoes. Flamboyant, witty, passionate about his community. He never accepted passivity - and egged us all on to take a stand and make a difference. The beard, the bluetooth and the cowboy hat identified him, but in no way captured the man. Thank you, Steve. Single-handedly you managed to take a very large Town and turn it into a manageable, if messy neighborhood and every one of us is better for it. Thank you for putting action to your words, and for keeping us on our toes. I am thankful to have known you and humbled by the outpouring of genuine shock and dismay at your passing. You made a difference...you made us better...you will be sorely missed. And, here's Steve's email sign-out, which I can't bear to think I'll never see again - you get his wry humor and passion in a few sentences: "Time flies like the wind. Fruit flies like a banana. Stranger things have happened but none stranger than this. Does your driver's license say Organ Donor? Black holes are where God divided by zero. Listen to me! We are all individuals! What if this weren't a hypothetical question? steveo at syslang.net"
Linda Lea Wells February 01, 2013 at 01:16 AM
I am so saddened by this news. I can't believe we've lost such a good one. Steve, I'll miss you, your great big laugh and your bear hugs. Krystine, if you are reading this- I hope you are okay- please let us know if you need anything. As Steve always said, time flies like the wind... Love, Linda Lea Wells
john mackesy February 01, 2013 at 06:10 PM
Steve was also an avid skeet shooter. I shot with him off and on Sunday mornings for the last 12-13 years at the maynard rod and gun club. No matter how well or not so well we shot we always enjoyed ourselves. The conversations and debates were always civil and interesting no matter the topic. He brought many guests and friends and we always left smiling John Mackesy
Krystine Orr February 07, 2013 at 04:28 AM
,....still waiting for my guy to burst thru the door, hug the dogs,... then me. Grabbing his paperwork, off to town hall he would go. All of your good thoughts and prayers help me, day by day, to face my reality with a calmness. Thank You all so very much. Mrs. Krystine Orr- Gustav & Plato too
Brian McCue April 25, 2013 at 08:47 PM
Clearly the irrepressible kid I knew and liked in grades 8-12 remained un-repressed as an adult. He was what the old-time New Englanders called an "original."

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