Remembering Our Mother,
Grandmother & Great Grandmother
Lorraine Wilson • 1932–2017
Our loving, beautiful and kind mother, Lorraine Wilson, died Oct. 19. Unresponsive for several days before her passing, we believe that she was afraid to leave her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. We spoke loving words to her during those sad days, and she came to understand that her family would miss her terribly but it was time for her to rest–no longer in pain, no longer in fear. Her loving son Lonnie, Daughter Jo, Granddaughter Kelly and Great Grandson Seth were at her bedside and held her as she left us peacefully.
Her parents, Clyde and Clara (Reed) Watkins, adored their daughter Lorraine from the moment she arrived January 16, 1932. The family resided on a hardscrabble farm in Belmond, Iowa. The farm not only provided for the Watkins family, it also was the living laboratory where our mom learned that for life to flourish, it must be nurtured and loved. It’s a childhood lesson that mom learned on the farm, held fast to her entire life, and passed on to her children and the generations that would follow.
In 1950, while staying with her sister, Mom took a job at a five-and-dime general store in Marshalltown, Iowa. It was a silly summer job—and it would change her life forever.
Mom met the love of her life, John Wilson, one bright summer day. Their first date was a double date picnic with mutual friends at a Fourth of July celebration. And you’d better believe there were fireworks for the young couple! Summer faded into fall then winter, and on Christmas Eve 1950 John asked Lorraine to be his wife and she said “YES”!
Weeks later, John received draft papers and they decided to marry before John reported for basic training in Fort Sheridan, Texas and they were married March 3rd, 1951 in Marshalltown, Iowa and honeymooned in Kansas. Weeks later, John reported for US Army basic training and Lorraine continued her senior year and graduated high school. Lorraine then joined him in Texas as he went on to special forces training. She then returned to her parents’ farm when John was stationed in Hamburg, Germany where John would be assigned to guard the infamous Berlin Wall. Lorraine gave birth to the couple’s first child, daughter Josica, born in 1952 in Marshalltown, Iowa while John was still away. Dad returned to the states in the spring of 1953, and would make their home in various Iowa locations.
While living in Cedar Rapids, their family grew larger and louder when son Lonnie and daughter Jisica arrived in 1956 and 1958, respectively.
The one-time farm girl grew into a confident, adoring stay-home mom. In addition to raising her three children, Lorraine developed an affinity for sewing, and enjoyed creating a wide variety of arts and crafts.
With their children, Lorraine and John instilled curiosity and interest in fishing, camping and traveling to various states to enjoy the many wonders each one offered. They also introduced their children to the love of and responsibilities for cats, dogs and other beloved pets over the years.
The family was residing in Fort Ord, California, when John would again be called to serve his country during the Bay of Pigs crisis in 1961. Later, the family would return to Iowa until making their home in Washington state.
Now a working mother, Lorraine was hired as a microfilm technician for the City of Hanford, Washington. She also worked in retail. When the couple opened Wilson's Cut and Wrap, their own small business, Mom would work side by side with Dad. Later, the couple retired to the Oregon coastal town of Newport, to live closer to their daughter Jo, where they would live out their lives with their beloved Annie, a doxie dog, for the next 20 years.
Although Lorraine lost the love of her life when John died in 2007, their love story and the family they created will continue to flourish for generations in the lives of their loving children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, including son Lonnie Wilson of Stayton, OR; daughters Josica Teichert of Newport, OR; and Jisica (Randy) Watkins of Burbank, WA; and grandchildren Kelly (Ray) Suarez, Moxee, OR; Jestin Fought of Sedro-Woolley, WA; Summer (Josh) Buckley of Kuna, ID; Brandon (Jessica) Wilson of Napa, ID; Jordan (Heather) Wilson of Stayton, OR; Eric (Michelle) Watkins of Kennewick, WA; and Erica Watkins of Burbank, WA.
How lucky Lorraine was to also know and be a role model to her great grandchildren, including Devin Fought of Othello, WA; Jacob Fought of Sedro-Woolley, WA; Seth Fought, Haylee and Rylee Suarez, of Moxee, WA; Hayden,Weston,Gracen and Madden Buckley of Kuna, ID; Alexis Terry of Hermiston OR; Abbey, Mikey and Sophia Krzemien of Napa, ID; Addison, Delilah and Daphany Wilson of Stayton, OR; and Bodeen Watkins of Kennewick, WA.
Lorraine is also survived by many nieces and nephews, as well as brother-in-law Larry (Anna Mae) Wilson of Marshalltown, Iowa. Lorraine was preceded in death by her husband John Wilson, Sister Maxine Hamiel, brothers Harold Watkins and Dee Watkins, and her parents Clyde Watkins and Clara Reed.
Our hearts are broken, and if you had the very great pleasure to know our mother, grandmother and great grandmother, we know your hearts, too, are heavy with sadness. We are so very grateful for the very wide circle of family and friends who loved our beautiful Lorraine throughout her life. We should all be so lucky to have more Lorraine's in our lives and to experience our own deaths with quiet dignity.
We offer mom’s friends and family much love and big hugs, and want you to know that Lorraine loved all of you. We also invite you to the celebration of Lorraine’s life on Wednesday, Nov. 1, at 1 pm. at Hillspring Church in Kennewick, Washington. Following graveside interment at 2:30 pm., our family welcomes everyone back to the church for a reception hosted by Hillspring Church.