Orpah H. Graybill, 96, co-founded Graybill Machines, mother of three, award-winning gardener, author

By on May 29, 2019

Orpah H. Graybill, 96, of Newport Road, Lititz, died peacefully on May 20, 2019, after a short illness.

She was born on Sept. 8, 1922, to Peter M. and Rebecca Hernley of Manheim. In 1942, she married Wilbur H. Graybill, who was her husband for 63 years until his death in 2005.

She was a devoted mother to: Wilbur B. “Will” of Lebanon; Mary Alice Fyock (David) of Lititz; and John H. Graybill of Boca Raton, Fla.

As a young woman, Orpah desired to become a teacher but her parents needed her to help on the family farm and those dreams were ended. She worked long and hard on the farm and was a tireless worker into her old age. She often told her children that “to work as hard as she could” was her new career goal. Accomplished! Orpah worked side by side with her husband for over 50 years to establish Graybill Machines, Inc., Lititz. She was the bookkeeper and he was the equipment designer.

Orpah adored her three grandchildren and her seven great grandchildren: Amy Stehn (Jonathan) of Leesburg, Va., and their children: William, Geoffrey, Kathryn and Emma; Dean Fyock of Kennett Square, and his son: Graybill Fyock; and Michael Fyock (Jennifer) of Lititz, and their children: Jason and Marisa. She was known to them as “Great Graybill.” Visits to Great Graybill’s house always included a drink of orange juice and ginger ale. For many years she baked cakes every Saturday for the men who worked at the family business. Black Forest cakes were her specialty.

The third of seven children, Orpah is survived by her brother: Peter Hernley (Mary Kathryn) of Manheim; and her sister: Lois Derstler (Gordon) of Lititz. She was predeceased by her sisters: Naomi Greiner (Lester), Ruth Rohrer (T. Hershey), Reba Hershey (John) and Jane Sheetz (Jesse).

She is also survived by 21 nieces and nephews of whom she was very fond.

A life-long member of White Oak Church of the Brethren, Orpah served on numerous committees over the years. She served for 30 years on the purchasing committee at the Brethren Village helping to decorate the common spaces. She also served on the board of the Farm and Home Foundation of Lancaster for 12 years.

Orpah was an avid flower gardener, doing most of her own gardening at her home into her early 90s. The gardens around her home were beautiful. When she joined the Town and Country Garden Club, her gardening world expanded. She became a life-long member of the group, winning awards at the local, state and national level for her flower arrangement and educational exhibits.

Neighbor children were a special interest of Orpah’s. Many did odd jobs for her around the house and yard and learned the value of doing a job well. Every year at the end of summer, she had a party for the children. Several of those children later became faithful employees of Graybill Machines, Inc.

When she was in her 90s, Orpah wrote and self-published a book, “Halfville, A Historical and Personal Perspective,” about the crossroads community at the intersection of Newport and Lexington Roads north of Lititz. She dedicated the book to her husband who had lived there for 85 years.

Friends and family are invited to a public memorial service on Friday, June 21, at 4 p.m. at the White Oak Church of the Brethren, 1211 N. Penryn Road, Manheim. The family will receive guests Friday afternoon from 3:30 p.m. until the time of the service.

Contributions in Orpah’s memory may be made to White Oak Church of the Brethren, 1211 N. Penryn Road, Manheim PA. 17545; or to a favorite charity of your choice.

To express a condolence with the family, visit spencefuneralservices.com. Arrangements by Spence Funeral Services, Manheim.

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