Christian 01

Orbra Walter Bliss

July 11, 1934 ~ August 28, 2022 (age 88) 88 Years Old

Orbra Bliss Obituary

Orbra Walter Bliss was born July 11, 1934, in Syracuse, New York, to Kenneth Royal and Violet Fern (Tebo) Bliss.  He met Sarah (Sally) Ann Van Amber at Homer Bible Conference when she was 14, and he was 15 in 1949.  They both wanted to become missionaries and eventually married on June 6, 1953.  They attended John Brown University and Moody Bible Institute. Orbra majored in Radio Broadcast Engineering and worked on the staff of WMBI, Moody's radio station, while he was a student.  

They joined SIM International in 1959 and headed to Radio Station ELWA in Liberia, West Africa, with four small children.  The fifth child, a daughter, was born three years later. Orbra was primarily a radio engineer supporting ELWA's transmitters and infrastructure. He also managed the printing shop for a time. He was the photographer for ELWA's public relations needs and a ham radio operator enabling many ELWA staff to stay connected with their families. He also pastored a church in the nearby village of Dwahzon.

They returned to the United States in 1969. Orbra worked at the Christian radio station WRVB in Madison, Wisconsin, converting it to stereo, and was on staff when it was purchased by the University of Northwestern – St. Paul and renamed WNWC.  He also worked for WMTV-NBC15.  

Orbra and Sally moved to Elkhart in 1975 to join the HCJB World By 2000 project, located in facilities provided by Crown International. In 1980, they moved to HCJB Radio station in Quito, Ecuador, where they ministered until 1987, when they returned to Elkhart, Indiana, to design other transmitters for HCJB World Radio. (The HCJB World Radio name later changed to Reach Beyond. The HCJB Engineering Center later became a separate entity, SonSet Solutions.)

Orbra and Sally were active at Zion Missionary Church, especially with youth groups, missions, and Bible studies. Orbra continued working with the high school youth group until he was nearly 80 years old, being a grandpa to many.  He loved astronomy, archaeology, ham radio, and computers, buying his first home computer, an Osbourne 1A in 1982. When we asked, "What can it do?" he said, "I don't know yet."  That became a great love for the whole family and produced many proudly "nerd" offspring. 

Orbra was preceded in death by his wife, Sarah Ann Bliss, in October 15, 2021, his brother, Lyle Bliss, and his grandson-in-law Bryant Atwell. He is survived by his children Violet Ann (Michael) Bliss Dietz, Dorothy Christine "Chris" (Steven) Himsel, Elizabeth Jane "Beth" (Tim) Drake, Walter Orbra (Gail) Bliss, and Esther Sue Bliss; their grandchildren, Christopher (Marion) Dietz, Sarah Ann Dietz, Benjamin (Margaret) Himsel, Danielle (Joshua) Atwell, Mark (Anna) Drake, Ashley (Grant) Hageman, Caleb (Abbi) Bliss, Elisha Bliss, and Josiah Bliss; great-grandchildren, Zachary Lanczycki, Kendra Atwell and Kristian Atwell, Morrigan Himsel, Eleanor Hageman, Phineas Hageman, Michael Bliss, and Hudson Bliss.  Orbra is also survived by his sister-in-law Ruby Bliss and brother, Hollis (Sandy) Bliss. The memorial service for Orbra will be at 11 am on Thursday, September 8, at Zion Missionary Church, 1135 East Hively Avenue, Elkhart, IN 46517.  Visitation will be one hour before the service at the church. Stemm-Lawson-Peterson Funeral Home, 1531 Cobblestone Blvd., Elkhart, IN 46514, is assisting the Bliss family. He will be laid to rest in the family plot at Onondaga Valley Cemetery in Syracuse, New York. A memorial service is planned for New York state at a later date. Details will be posted when they are available.

Memorials can be made to SonSet Solutions 2830 17th Street, Elkhart, IN 46517, Reach Beyond or SIM  Online condolences may be made to the Bliss family at


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September 8, 2022

10:00 AM to 11:00 AM
Zion Missionary Church
1135 East Hively Ave
Elkhart, IN 46517

Memorial Service
September 8, 2022

11:00 AM
Zion Missionary Church
1135 East Hively Ave
Elkhart, IN 46517


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