Osbourn Park High School Will Hold Celebration of Life for Lillian Orlich, Beloved Guidance Counselor

Miss Orlich served nearly 70-years as a Manassas-are educator


Osbourn Park High School’s long-serving guidance counselor Lillian Mary Orlich passed away on March 7, 2024. She worked for nearly 70 years as a local high school educator and will be remembered by thousands of students and colleagues. 

Osbourn Park High School in Manassas will host a celebration of the life of the beloved teacher and counselor, on March 17 at 2 p.m., in the auditorium named in her honor. 

“Miss O,” as she was often called, positively affected most everyone who knew her. 

“Her accomplishments, awards, and honors received throughout her lifetime are too numerous to mention. Miss Orlich’s influence and many attributes offered to the students of the Manassas and Prince William County areas will be present for generations to come, anyone lucky enough to be taught, counseled, or work with Miss Orlich, will have memories of a fine, remarkable woman that lived a brilliant life," reads her obituary. 

Orlich taught and counseled five generations of Manassas-are teenagers from the silent generation, who matriculated in the 1950s, to the rebellious baby boomers of the late 60s and early 70s, up until today’s technology-immersed Zoomers.

Orlich was born and raised in New York City and relocated to Manassas in the 1950s. She remained in Manassas for the rest of her days, where she fully committed to her service as an educator.  

Miss O worked at the original Osbourn High School and transferred to the new Osbourn Park High School, a Prince William County public school,  in 1975. As far back as anyone can remember, there was nowhere she would rather be then at Osbourn Park. There, she became an institution.

Every morning, she was the first to arrive at school. The students and staff loved her. Like the Queen, Ms. O watched administrations come and go, while she remained a fixture. Ms. O was always very much present. She consistently offered students and teachers much-welcomed advice. 

While many educators consider mid-life retirement with a comfortable pension something to look forward to, Miss O, had no desire to retire from education. Her coworkers doubted she would ever retire and fully expected to find her expired at her desk one day. 

She avoided that fate and finally retired in 2017 when she was nearly 90. 

Besides her parents, Orlich was preceded in death by one sister, but it was her students and colleagues who meant the most to her.

"I survived by the many lives helped and touched by my teaching, loving and caring,” Orlich said in a statement she had included in her obituary.

The Prince William County School Board has already honored Orlich for her many years of service, first, having dedicated the Osbourn Park High School auditorium to her in 2003.  Upon the opening of Gainesville High School in 2021, the school board also named the counseling wing the Lillian M. Orlich Student Services Center.

Hal Parrish, former mayor of Manassas, and a former student of Ms. O.'s, spoke at the Gainesville High School dedication ceremony.

“We should all be so lucky as to have teachers who challenge us, who express high expectations for us, who guide us to be better, not only during class and school but for creating a better life and setting us on the path for the future,” Parrish said.

Due to the pandemic, the dedication ceremony could not be widely attended, and due to her advanced age, Ms. Orlich only participated virtually from her nursing home in Manassas.

Fortunately, people can say their goodbyes in a more public forum. Miss O requested that her memorial service be held in her honor at OPHS; she wanted it to be a joyful celebration of life. Those who knew her are invited to attend. 

“I direct that a memorial service be held in the auditorium of Osbourn Park High School with the school principals, with whom I worked during my career in Manassas, officiating," she wrote. "I would like everyone else who has touched my life during my career, from assistant principals, counselors, teachers, and students, to be invited to attend."

Since Miss Orlich was insistent the memorial be held at the high school. She will likely be there in spirit. (Take that figuratively or literally, but I have heard the electricity at OP has been behaving strangely this past week.)

Miss O asked that if anyone makes a memorial contribution in her name or her memory, do so to a charity that supports children. 

Baker Post Funeral Home in Manassas invites those who knew Miss Orlich to sign her guest book at www.bakerpostfh.com. Visitors to the site can also donate flowers for the service or plant a tree in her memory. 

A celebration of Miss Orlich’s life, and memorial services, will be held on Sunday, March 17, 2024, at 2:00 p.m. in the Lillian Orlich Auditorium, on the campus of Osbourn Park High School, 8909 Euclid Ave, Manassas, VA 20111.

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