Elizabeth Lake Orr

November 16, 2019

CHARLOTTE- Elizabeth Lake Orr, a resident of Sharon Towers in Charlotte, NC, died Saturday, November 16, 2019, after a courageous battle with non-smoker’s lung disease.  She was surrounded by her children and loved ones, just one day before her 80th birthday.

Betty was born in Charlotte, NC, on November 17, 1939.  She was the daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Julian Lake and was raised in Winston-Salem, NC, a city she adored and resided most of her life.  Betty graduated with honors from Converse College in 1961, where she was affectionately known as “Betty Lake”.  Betty was a lifetime member of the North Carolina Society of the Colonial Dames of America, following in the footsteps of her mother and grandmother.  She was a member of First Presbyterian Church, Highland Presbyterian Church and various clubs and organizations, both throughout her life in Winston-Salem and during her residence at Arbor Acres retirement community.  Betty relocated to Charlotte in early 2018 to be closer to her children. 

Betty established lifelong friendships in Winston-Salem and across the south that remain to this day.  With an uncanny ability to remember names and vivid details, she was forever a great storyteller of people and places.  Betty had friends among all age groups and never met a stranger.  Always interested in others, she was a great encourager and made new friends in every stage of her life.  These relationships with her friends and her family sustained her and brought her immense joy.

Betty had various vocations in her career which ranged from social worker, editor, executive director of the Heart Association and insurance agent with New York Life and Jefferson Pilot.   She always maintained a strong entrepreneurial spirit.  Betty’s greatest accomplishment, however, was the raising of her three children, Charles, Elizabeth and Catherine, as a single parent from a young age.  

Since childhood on she enjoyed spending summers at her beloved family home, “Edgemont”, in Montreat, NC.   During her later years, Betty discovered her passion for painting, sculpting, bridge and croquet.  She enjoyed spending several winters in Englewood, Florida, which allowed her time to make even more new friendships.

Betty will always be remembered for her beautiful smile, kindness and concern for others and an amazing survivor spirit.  She had a determination to persevere through hardship, loss and chronic illness with unmatched strength and grace.  Betty’s lifetime legacy will forever be her love of family.

Betty is preceded in death by her husband, Richard Graham Orr, a daughter, Elizabeth Gilmour McLean and her younger brother, Robert Janney Lake.  She is survived by her children, Charles Cauthen and his wife, Karen and Catherine Turner and her husband, William, both of Charlotte, NC; her brother, Gilmour Lake and his wife, Nancy of Winston-Salem, NC and her sister, Scottie Lindsay and her husband, Scott of Hilton Head Island, SC, grandchildren, Julia Williams and her husband, Hampton, Mary Scott Mercer and her husband, Daniel, McClain Cauthen, Robert McLean and Frances Cauthen.  Betty is also survived by many adoring cousins, nieces and nephews.  The family wishes to extend a sincere thank you to the entire staff of Sharon Towers for their care and support during her residency.

A celebration of life service will be held at 11:00 AM on Thursday, November 21,2019 at Myers Park Presbyterian Church, Charlotte, NC with a reception immediately following in Oxford Hall. 

In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to Montreat Conference Center, P.O. Box 969 Montreat, NC 28757 or to Arbor Acres Retirement Community, 1240 Arbor Rd. Winston Salem, NC 27104.

Arrangements are in the care of Kenneth W. Poe Funeral & Cremation Service, 1321 Berkeley Ave., Charlotte, NC 28204; (704) 641-7606. Online condolences can be shared at www.kennethpoeservices.com.



Share your memories & condolences


  • Shirley G Williams

    I am thinking of you all and keeping you in my prayers. What a wonderful birthday gift for your mom to wake up in the arms of her "Loving Savior"! Much love to all of you at this time.

  • John Scheil

    I knew Betty in the insurance business in Winston-Salem in the 1980s. She is an amazing single mother career professional. Betty always has a smile and is a great conversationalist.

  • Karen Struble

    Dear Gilmore, Nancy, Scottie, Scott, and Family,
    We are very sorry to hear of your great loss. Betty was a delightful woman whom we were glad to meet during our time in Montreat.

    May God hold you close as you grieve together.

    Karen and Dan Struble

  • Nan Griswold

    Gilmour, Scottie, Charles and Catherine, sending my love and prayers for your loss. One of the connections I had with Julian was that he lost a son, Robert, to non-hodgkins lymphoma, when he was younger who had followed in his father's footsteps as a minister. I lost my brother, Robert, to non- hodgins lymphoma, at age 38
    also and he followed our father and became a doctor. I mention this because your brother and. I was not mentioned in the obitNanuary as preceding Betty. I wanted to let you know this and know it was not intentional Love u

  • Wanda Priddy

    I remember Betty as a bright spot in our office. She always had a smile and exuded joy — always uplifting. Her sweet spirit will be missed!
    Peters and sympathies to her family.

  • Ellen Watson Lane

    As a WS native, and a graduate of RJR High School, I was aware of the Lake family from my youth. I met Betty, in person, during 2012, and spent many delightful hours with her over the next five years. I appreciated her valiant spirit, joyful heart and delightful personality. She remained courageous through her mounting health challenges. A true Champion!
    My deep condolences to all family members.

  • Marsha Thrift Marion

    Betty was such a beautiful lady who was loved and will be missed by many. My first memories of her are at 1st Presbyteries church in Winston Salem when her dad was our minister. She was an inspiration to me when I became a single mom. I loved keeping up with her… Seeing her smile… watching her paint and create… And her love for so many.

  • Nancy Shore Ferguson

    I didn’t know Betty until I spent some time with her when Mother was at Arbor Acres. Betty was always so friendly and always smiling. That says so much for someone who lost her husband and reared three children on her own. I send my love to you. How could it have been so many years since I saw you last!

  • Brooke Johnson Suiter

    I am so saddened to read this morning that dear, sweet Betty has passed away. She brightened many a day with her smile and her unfailing kindness. She was a treasured friend. I thought every word of her obituary was so accurate and truly painted a portrait of a special person, who blessed my life. We enjoyed sharing our memories of growing up here in Winston-Salem. She will be remembered by many whose lives she touched. She was a true blessing from God.

  • Debra & David Brenner

    We extend our deepest sympathy to Gilmour and Betty's entire family at this sad time. She was a special, kind and gracious lady.

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