Life Story / Obituary
The world lost an amazing man, husband, father, brother and Papa on Sunday, February 5, 2023 when Stefan Jude Orlando, 56, passed away peacefully at his home in Traverse City, Michigan after a long battle with Multiple Sclerosis.
Stefan was born July 25, 1966 to Sam and Sherry Orlando in Grosse Pointe, Michigan and moved to West Branch around the age of six. Stefan was a proud graduate of Ogemaw Heights High School, and attended Olivet College for music, Delta College, Saginaw Valley State University with his Bachelors in Education and began teaching at OHHS in 1991. He received his Master’s in Counseling from Central Michigan University in 1999 and served as an academic counselor until his early retirement in 2019 from Ogemaw Heights High school.
Stefan met Heather Pelczar from Bay City, Michigan in 1997 and were married on January 9, 1999 and made West Branch their home and raised their family until moving to Traverse City, Michigan in 2019.
Stefan was an amazing man who despite his health managed to keep his beautiful smile, patient heart, continuous encouragement and guidance, witty personality and intense love for his family and friends. He had an unique ability to always see the best in everyone that he came in contact with. He was instrumental in helping his students with academic planning and was active in serving his community with many acts of volunteerism in any way possible.
Along with over a 25 year career in education, teaching and counseling, he also coached his children’s football, baseball and soccer teams, volunteered for his sons Boy Scouts Troops He also helped to support and raise money for the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Michigan.
When Stefan wasn’t serving others, he enjoyed free time which consisted of building a home for his family, being on the lake, fishing, swimming, listening to his favorite jazz or 70’s music while puffing on a cigar or pipe. He enjoyed gardening, sitting by the campfire, playing softball, guys weekends, biking, canoeing, watching football and eating good food, especially pizza and cheesecake. Stefan valued the time he spent with his family. He made it a priority to take time travel and camping with family and friends.
Stefan was a part of many local organizations such as Ogemaw Angelfish Swim Club, in both competing and coaching, Masters Swim Program (Chubbs) the OHHS Marching band, where he played the tenor saxophone, the Boy Scouts of America, OHHS ESP committee where he was instrumental in providing many thousands of community scholarships to his students, as well as the Knights of Columbus.
Stefan is survived by his wife, Heather Orlando, his children Jarritt (Melanie) Orlando, Isaac (Haley Burgett) Orlando, Mikaella Orlando, grandson Maleek, brother Sam (Jeri) Orlando, sister Bernadette (Barnell) Williams, nieces Shannon Orlando, Amber (Herman) Moseley and nephew Sam (Rebekah) Orlando, mother-in-law Janet Pelczar, sister-in-law Rebecca (Brian) Benson, brother-in-law Nate Pelczar (David Moreno), nephew Brad Benson along with several great nieces and nephews.
Stefan is preceded in death by his father, Sam Orlando, his mother, Sherry Orlando, as well as his father-in-law, James Pelczar.
A Celebration of Life gathering is tentatively planned to be held on Friday, July 21, 2023 at the Knights of Columbus Hall in West Branch, Michigan. Further information will be shared though Facebook and the Life Story Funeral Home website in June 2023.
In lieu of flowers and other gifts, donations can be made to the Ogemaw Heights High School ESP Committee for the future “Stefan Orlando Memorial scholarship” as well as online to the Michigan Multiple Sclerosis Society. https://secure.nationalmssociety.org/site/Donation2?df_id=55995&55995.donation=form1