Born: May 27, 1909

Died: June 2, 1959

Married: Barbara Durgan

Children: Kendrick VanOrman Jr., Leon VanOrman

Kendrick F. VanOrman was a school bus and cab driver who was murdered by a cab fare.

Adirondack Daily Enterprise, June 2, 1959

Robert Foley, 20, Is Charged With Murder

Ken VanOrman Beaten and Shot

Hit With Revolver Four Times Then Shot In Back of Head Twice


One of Saranac Lake's most liked men, Kendrick VanOrman, 50, of 304 Broadway, was beaten and shot to death in cold blood yesterday afternoon about 2:30 by Robert J. Foley, 20, who took VanOrman's cab and $100.

Foley was arrested at 6:30 yesterday afternoon near the St. Regis Hotel on Broadway and after questioning, was arraigned for first degree murder by Justice of the Peace William Mansion. Foley waived examination and was remanded to the Franklin County Jail at Malone. He was taken there early this afternoon after being held over-night in the Saranac Lake Jail. He will be held for the grand jury.

VanOrman, a local taxi driver for twenty years, was hit four times over the head with the butt of a .22 caliber revolver and then shot twice through the back of the head as he lay unconscious, face down.

The beating and shooting took place in a wooded area about five miles from Saranac Lake on the Forest Home Road.

Abandons Car

Police Chief William Wallace said that Foley and his young wife, Bonita, went to the Brundage taxi stand at 56 Main Street at 2:10 p.m. yesterday. They asked to be driven to the trailer home of Mrs. Foley's father, Elzear Le Blanc, which is situated about mile northwest of the McMasters Road.

When they arrived, the couple went into the trailer and Foley soon came out and told VanOrman he wanted a ride back into Saranac Lake.

The Shooting

On the return trip, near a marshy place, Foley told police that he asked VanOrman to stop because he, Foley, was feeling sick. Foley got out, pulled Van out of the car and then covered him with the target-shooting revolver.

Foley marched VanOrman about fifty yards into the woods and demanded all the taxi driver's money.

"Don't Shoot Me"

"You can have my money and the car, but don't hurt me", Foley said VanOrman pleaded. But Van Orman's hands were tied behind his back with his own belt and then Foley clubbed him four times on the head with the butt of the revolver, knocking has victim face down. He then fired the two shots into the back of VanOrman's head.

Foley then drove the cab, a '56 Plymouth, back through Saranac Lake to Bloomingdale where he went to a bar for a beer and a pack of cigarettes. He again drove through Saranac Lake and, near the Chamber of Commerce Information Booth on Lake Flower Avenue, Ken Seymour, a night driver for Brundage, recognized the cab and thought it peculiar that a stranger was driving it. Seymour was on his way to work in his own car.

This was at 5:15 p.m. Foley apparently thought he might have been spotted, for he immediately thereafter abandoned the car on Pine Street near the railroad tracks at the cemetery.

He walked to 61 Shepard and asked Edward Miner to drive him in his taxi to a bar in the village on Bloomingdale Avenue.

At 5:45 he took another cab driven by Louis Darrah to take him to his wife on the Forest Home Road and bring them both back to Saranac Lake. The Foleys had spaghetti and pizza at another bar and restaurant.

Darrah said Foley and his wife didn't speak on the long ride in.

Meanwhile at 5:25 Ray Brundage walked across Main Street to the police station and reported Van Orman missing. Brundage told the police that Van Oman was supposed to drive the school bus at 3 p.m. Brundage had previously been looking for the missing man.

Local Police Make Arrest

Police officers Neil Rogers and Oliver Queior were alerted and at 6:30 they saw Foley on Broadway near the St Regis Hotel. They picked him up. He did not resist arrest.

Foley was questioned by the Bureau of Criminal Investigation, State Troopers and local police and admitted the shooting and robbing of Van Orman. One officer said that Foley broke down in tears twice, but was calm during most of the questioning. On being taken to a cell he soon fell asleep

Arrested Before

Foley had been arrested once before on a charge of auto theft. He had been dishonorably discharged from the U.S. Navy. He attended Saranac Lake High School until 1954, leaving in his tenth year. He is the son of Mrs. Stella Jarvis. His father died some years ago. His stepfather, Francis Jarvis, died about a year ago.

VanOrman A Vermonter

Kendrick F. VanOrman was born on May 27, 1909, in Montpelier, Vt., the son of Elmer E. and Ruth A. Burbank VanOrman. He married the former Barbara Durgan, who survives, on June 27, 1929 in Saranac Lake.

Besides his wife he is survived by two sons, Kendrick Jr., of Sackets Harbor, and Leon, who is in the Army in Washington D.C. There are two grandchildren.

The body is reposing at the Fortune Funeral Home. Funeral services will be held at 2 o'clock Thursday afternoon at the Methodist Church with the Rev. Lionel Driscoll, pastor, officiating. Cremation will follow in Troy.

Mr. VanOrman came to Saranac Lake 35 years ago and for many years was a taxi driver and school bus driver for the Ray Brundage taxi service. He and his wife made their home at 304 Broadway.

Mickey Cimbric said this morning that Foley drove up to the Brookside Inn in Bloomingdale. "I was working outside," Mickey said, "and thought it strange that Foley parked the car pretty well down the parking lot." At that time of afternoon he could have parked closer to the Inn entrance.

Foley had one beer and then came out to the car, returning once more to the Inn for a pack of cigarettes.

Mr. Cimbric said he was surprised to hear that Foley had done such a thing, that he had heard that he had worked well at various jobs and seemed well-behaved.

Stanley Savarie, village manager, said that Foley worked from August 1958 to December 1958 with the highway department crew, starting out all right but not doing so well at the end. "That is why we had to let him go," Mr. Savarie said.

Chief Wallace said that Foley seemed unconcerned this morning and that he was joking, when his wife visited him at the lock-up. The Chief said Foley weighs 140 pounds, is five feet, ten inches tall, blonde who has long sideburns and wears a leather jacket and tight pants.

Adirondack Daily Enterprise, June 2, 1959

Duke Benz Tells Of K. Van Orman


About 17 years ago Mr. Kendrick VanOrman sat behind the wheel of one of Ray Brundage's first school buses and along with his daily school run began a long career as the valued "first" assistant coach of the high school athletic department.

"Van", as he was affectionately called, knew the name and number of every athlete over the years and could call by name the young charges that were so much a part of his daily existence as they rode to and from school.

Van's interest in athletics was developed by the playing of his two sons on the local teams. Both of them stellar performers and the older boy a successful coach following his graduation from college. When the younger son finished his army stint, Van was looking forward to the day when perhaps he could sit in the stands and watch teams coached by his boys play one another.

During the past three years I had the privilege to travel more than 6,000 miles sitting just behind this man and more important to be able to talk with him as he had no doubt many times talked with his sons. His philosophy was truly American in every detail; he understood the meaning of "giving up for someone else"; he had the real knowledge of the phrase "the dignity of man." He had a deep-seated faith in God and knew the part that the spirit played in athletics and in the daily pursuits of life. When the boys lost, he lost and when they won, he enjoyed the deep-rooted feeling of a "winner" just like any other young fellow.

"Van" was good in the two places that count on this old earth of ours, in the mind and in the heart. He was a "man's man", and he imparted this type of thinking to the youngsters on his bus so that they would have the chance to become ladies and gentlemen in the eyes of their community. As the measure of the man he could truly say, "I give no thought to my neighbor's birth, nor to the way he makes his prayer; I give him a free man's place on earth, if only his game is square."