March 17, 1932 – November 12, 2023

Dr. Orvil Emanuel, an impassioned educator, avid birdwatcher, and devoted husband, embarked on a new adventure on November 12, 2023. Born in Jackson County, Mo., on March 17, 1932, his life was a harmonious blend of unwavering dedication to education, service, and a colorful array of personal interests.

Graduating from Central Missouri State University with degrees in Elementary Education and Psychology, Orvil’s journey in education culminated in a distinguished administrative career. Orvil began teaching at Chapel Elementary School in Raytown in 1955. He then enlisted in the Navy from 1957-1959, but returned to education in 1959 when he became a principle for the first time at Knob Noster Elementary School.

In 1961, Orvil assumed the principalship at Westridge Elementary School and in 1962 he transferred to Johnson Elementary School where he served as principal for 19 years. Always driven by a ceaseless desire for improvement, he earned a Doctor of Education degree in School Administration from the University of Kansas in 1969. The final chapter of his legacy as a leader and educator unfolded at Ingles Elementary School, where he served as principal for seven years, retiring in 1988.

Orvil’s love of life extended beyond the classroom. Known for his vibrant socks, love of Pavarotti, the symphony, ballet, and knowledge of western history his greatest joy by far was the companionship of his wife, Helen.

Orvil is survived by Helen, his stepson and daughter, Sage Elwell and Stacy Elwell-Chalmers, and their families, including grandchildren Aaron Schmid, Cole Chalmers, Gus Elwell, Riley Chalmers, and Carson Chalmers. His familial circle also includes his niece, Dawn Svedberg, and Jill Shinn, as well as nephews Kent Palmer and Bill Vanasek and 6 great nieces and nephews. Their cherished memories will stand out as a testament to the warmth, kindness, and generosity that defined his personal life.

Orvil’s life exemplified the transformative power of education, the arts, and the richness of a life well-lived. May he rest in peace, leaving a profound and enduring legacy in the world of education and in the hearts of his beloved family.

A new adventure has begun for Orvil, one surely marked by the same quest for discovery with which he and Helen explored the world – chasing birds, crisscrossing the United States, and exploring distant lands together. And their volunteer efforts at Powell Gardens, with the American Red Cross, aiding in disaster relief, and feeding the homeless during national hurricanes, attest to their commitment to service.

A skilled woodworker, Orvil crafted gifts with precision and care, leaving a tangible reminder of his passion for creation and the joy he took in making things for loved ones with his own strong hands. As he embarks on this new journey, his memory will endure through the many lives he touched and the vibrant legacy he leaves behind.

Celebration of Life: Saturday, November 18, 1:00-2:30pm, Longview Chapel, 850 SW Longview Rd., Lee Summit, MO 64081

Please dress casually (no need for suits) and no black

In memory, we ask that you perform an unexpected act of kindness instead of sending flowers or that donations be made to:

Burroughs Audubon, 7300 SW Park Rd. ~ Blue Springs, MO 64015

Kansas City Hospice and Palliative Care, 9001 State Line Rd. Ste 300 ~ Kansas City, MO 64114.

Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF)