O’Rourke & O’Rourke
Inc. Funeral Home

25 River Street
Salamanca, NY 14779
phone: (716) 945-4760
fax: (716) 945-4222

Orpha June Harter

Mrs. Orpha June Harter, age 84, formerly of Salamanca and Great Valley died Wednesday morning, January 5, 2011 at The Pines Health Care & Rehabilitation Center in Olean, NY.

Born on June 26, 1926 in Salamanca, NY she was the daughter of the late Nellie Blanche Field and Harry B. Brown. As a six month old infant she survived the December 23, 1926 fire that destroyed the family's home on Ellicott Street claiming the lives of her 2 year old brother, James and her 14 year old step-sister, Jessie. She was married on June 22, 1949 in the People's Methodist Church to Mr. Howard Wayne Davis who predeceased her on August 6, 1968. On August 18, 1974 she married Mr. John "Jack" Harter Jr. aboard their sailboat "Aftermath" at Onoville, NY. He predeceased her on August 27, 1997.

Mrs. Harter was a 1945 graduate of Salamanca High School and a 1948 graduate of Buffalo Children's Hospital School of Nursing in Buffalo, New York. Following graduation, she worked as a staff nurse at Children's Hospital.

Following her position as staff nurse at Children's Hospital, she was employed as a registered nurse at the former Salamanca District Hospital. Some of the highlights of her career at the facility include: working in the emergency room as first survivors of the 1951 crash of the Continental Airlines flight off Sawmill Run began to arrive; participating in the 1963 transition from the City Hospital on Academy Street to the new facility on Parkway Drive; and setting up a temporary hospital at the Prospect Elementary School during the 1972 Hurricane Agnes flood which divided the city. Following a career of 39 years, she retired from her position as Director of Nursing in 1988.

Like her generation she lived through difficult times. Her mother, Blanche, had her husband, declared an "unfit father" early in the 1930's and raised her children singlehandedly. It was only late in life that she found out that her father, Harry, had been using an assumed name, his real name being Roy Mitchell. She lived through the Depression, World War II, and the Korean War. She outlived two husbands and six siblings. Like her mother before her she will be remembered for her perseverance and pragmatic attitude towards life. She had many treasured memories of her professional life and especially loved being around children.

Following her retirement she was active in senior citizen's groups including A.A.R.P. She served as the Activities Director for the Great Valley-Killbuck Senior Citizens Group for many years. She was also a member of the Ladies of the Elks and the Salamanca Retired Hospital Employees' Association. She was a member of the United Congregational Methodist Church of Salamanca.

Surviving are: 5 children, Daryl (Charles) Behm, Rockaway, N J, Jeffrey (Linda Johnson) Davis, Great Valley, NY, Stuart (Laura Gregory) Davis, Hilton,NY, Caryl (George) Herrick, Morganton, N.C., Sharyl (Robert) Sicoli, Woodbury,MN; 11 grandchildren; 4 great grandchildren; several nieces and nephews.

Mrs. Harter was predeceased by 4 brothers, James Brown, Dawayne Brown, Palmer Brown, Eugene Graham, and 2 sisters, Mildred Westervelt and Jessie Brown.

Friends may call at the O’Rourke & O’Rourke Inc. Funeral Home, 25 River Street, Salamanca, New York on Friday from 4-7 P.M.

Funeral services will be held on Saturday at 10 AM in the United Congregational Methodist Church, with Pastor Joshua Schallert, officiating.

Burial will be in Wildwood Cemetery, Salamanca, N Y.

The family suggests memorials to Home Health Care & Hospice, 1225 West State Street, Olean, NY 14760.

E-condolences can be sent to john@orourke-orourke.com.