Orlo Ray William Hossack was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan on November 18, 1891. In 1910, at age 19, Hossack appears as a draftsman in the Portland City Directory for the architectural firm of Bennes, Hendricks and Thompson, where he worked until 1912. In the mid 19-teens, he worked in several other architectural firms, including as an architect for the Oregon-Washington Railway and Navigation Co.
On July 7, 1915 Hossack and Mildred Fitzpatrick were married in Portland.
Following service in World War 1 as a lieutenant in the Army Air Service, Hossack returned to Portland and became partner in the Ready Built House Company. He was awarded his license to practice architecture in 1922 based on experience (“grandfathered”) and in 1923 established his own practice, based in the Terminal Sales Building at SW 12th and Morrison. In 1922, Hossack designed the Spies-Robinson Prairie School-style house in Irvington at 2424 NE 17th Avenue, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Hossack’s link with the Prairie School design of Frank Lloyd Wright may be through his first local employer, the Illinois-educated John Virginius Bennes who introduced the Prairie School House to Portland in 1909.
Hossack’s wife Mildred died of Typhoid fever on March 30, 1924.
By the mid-1920s, Hossack’s architectural practice had hit its stride and he was taking on high-value residential projects, but also larger institutional projects, including the Washington County Courthouse; the Oregon State Tuberculosis Hospital in Salem; the Egyptian-revival style Palestine Lodge (a Masonic Lodge at 6401 SE Foster Blvd., now on the National Register of Historic Places); the Kenton Masonic Lodge; and the Seventh Day Adventist Church at SE 43rd and Washington Street.
In 1926 he designed and oversaw construction of one of the first homes in the Dolph Park addition, The Frederick B. and Irma B. Mallory house at 2809 NE Thompson, built by Robert B. Beat.
In October 1927, Hossack married Mildred’s sister Carrie, also a widower, and adopted Carrie’s daughter Betty. Carrie was a teacher at Irvington Elementary. The family lived at 624 East 18th (today’s 2944 NE 18th).
Throughout this post World War 1 period, Hossack was also active as a captain in the Air Service Reserve Officer Corps, and in civil aviation. In 1935, he took assignment as construction officer in the Civilian Conservation Corps, based in Boise, Idaho. While there, he contracted pneumonia and died on January 31, 1937 at the age of 45, leaving his wife Carrie and daughter Betty.
From the Oregon Journal, February 2, 1937