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Ivan Orton

Former Cherokee resident Ivan Orton passed away at home in Seattle in the arms of his family on January 16.  He was 72. He had been fighting a blood infection that reached his heart, on top of a decade-long battle with Parkinson’s.

He is survived by his wife of 42 years, Liz Valauri, his children Christopher and Alexis, and his siblings Deronda and Irvie (wife Suzie).

Ivan led a unique and energetic life. Born to a minister and a nurse in Altus, he grew up working on farms and attended high school in Cherokee, where he was the Oklahoma State Debate Champion in 1966. He then studied at NW Oklahoma State University, pursued a PhD in political science at UT Austin, held a fellowship with the Russell Sage Foundation in New York City, and finally earned his JD at Harvard Law.

After attending Harvard, Ivan moved to Seattle where he lived with his beloved wife Liz Valauri, a dancer/choreographer and teacher, and raised two (now adult) children: Christopher, a musician/composer, and Alexis, a scientist.

Ivan dedicated his life to helping others, working for 30 years as a King County Prosecutor against financial abuse of the elderly and complex economic crime. His passions included soccer, computers, teaching, and working as a statistician for the Seattle Seahawks.

He is remembered especially for his kind and giving spirit, immense brainpower, and endless jokes. He loved to cook and would regularly prepare multi-course feasts for friends even while facing health issues.

A small funeral was held on January 26, 2021.  When able, the family will also hold in person gatherings in Seattle and Oklahoma to celebrate Ivan’s life.

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