RIP my Grandma Lorraine, we
will all miss you very much
My Grandma Lorraine passed away November 25, 2011 in Glenrock, WY

She is survived by one son and six daughters, 18 grandchildren, and 19
great-grandchildren (with one more on the way)

The above photo was the last time I saw Grandma, in August 2010
She was full of life and still ran circles around everyone
She was diagnosed with lung cancer earlier this year
and made it through her first rounds of treatment
but increasingly grew weaker...  Mom and Dad went to Wyoming for two
months this summer to take care of her, but recently returned to
California.  They couldn't convince Grandma to leave Wyoming,
which was her home.

She passed away the early morning after Thanksgiving.

My cousin Jessica, the oldest of Grandma's 18 grandchildren, wrote
this about Grandma...

"God there she goes down the hill in a go cart with no breaks red hair
blowing in the wind. God there she goes down the street on a moped
with a basket on the back red hair blowing in the wind. God there she
goes chasing that rooster with a rake red hair blowing in the wind. God
there she goes down the waterslide 60 years behind her red hair
blowing in the wind. God here she comes to heaven with wings of an
angel red hair blowing in the wind. Rest in peace grandma."
And my sister Kristine wrote this:

"Lillian Lorraine Stewart (she was known by her middle name), born in Pacific Beach,
California in 1930, died November 25, 2011 in Glenrock, Wyoming after receiving
treatments for lung cancer.

Though she had spent most of her adulthood in Lakeside, California, Lorraine was adamant
that she spend her final days in Wyoming, her home for the past decade. This was
important to Lorraine as she had spent a part of her childhood in Wyoming and had also
raised several of her seven children there.

Before moving to Wyoming, Lorraine lived for more than 40 years in Lakeside, California,
in a home touched by magic. Its floors wobbled and sloped at impossible angles, the
ceilings were low, and the bedroom opened into what seemed to be a funhouse of mirrors â
€“ rooms led to more rooms led to even more rooms. There were clothes to play dress up
in, strings of pearls and costume jewelry to dazzle and rouge to color the lips and cheeks.
But what bewitched her grandchildren most was her collection of dolls – hundreds of
which lined shelves and filled closets. Dolls made in Germany, in France, in the United
States. Dolls of porcelain bisque, cloth and plastic. Dolls with pouty lips, eyes that blinked
and arms that gestured. Dolls of modern presidents, Barbie dolls and kewpie dolls. Along
with these marvels, music played from hinged wooden boxes housing ballerinas dancing in
pirouettes. Grandma permitted us to play with nearly all her dolls. She would pop her head
into the rooms where we created our make believe worlds; she was unobtrusive, she
merely wanted to ensure we were safe and entertained. But she was no softie. She
enforced eating every bite of dinner and did not tolerate whining or sloppy execution of
chores. She did not care what other people thought of her. She spoke her mind and never
understood political correctness. If she thought you were getting a bit overweight she
told you.

Outside her Lakeside house were more adventures to be had – turkeys, chickens,
doves, a shaggy black dog named Patches, dozens of hiding places and caches of metal
objects and tools for pretending nearly anything. At Grandma Lorraine’s house all
games were possible, any story could come true. All that was needed was time and cousins,
which were in abundance. All of us grandchildren played until darkness took hold. We
danced and ran and hid from foes. We gathered eggs, chased the turkeys, dressed as
kings and queens and ate more cookies than we ever had permission to do. We spied on our
mothers, fathers and aunts and uncles through a special hole in the bathroom that looked
into the kitchen. We played with Simon Says in the electric glow of that warm living room
decorated each Christmas as if by fairies. The adults enjoyed Grandma Lorraine’s
home too, talking long into the night, smoking cigarettes on the front porch and laughing so
hard they said their sides hurt.

Grandma raised a large family through thick and thin. She was married several times,
(men found her red hair and blue eyes irresistible) but found that her true love was the
land of central Wyoming where she lived below the Rocky Mountains, close by the Platte
River. Wyoming, she said more than once, was home.

Lorraine worked hard to feed her children, often putting in countless hours at multiple
jobs. Her mental toughness and energy were legendary – into her eighth decade she ran
circles around everyone and suffered no fools. Though she was not sentimental, she
surprised us all when she brought home a peach-colored, dainty teacup poodle she named
Shadow. She spoiled her little dog and doted on her more than she had ever doted on all
her previous animals.

She was an enthusiastic gambler, especially when she played slot machines. She would
shoot off like a dart to find just the right lucky spot, choosing her station carefully by
the color and glow of its screen. We would lose sight of her inside Barona Casino she
moved so fast. But where Lorraine was most at home was at a yard sale or inside a resale
store; if there had been an Olympic event for thrift store shopping she would have been a
gold medal holder. She could bargain down to the price she really wanted to pay. She found
paintings, furnishings, clothing and dolls of exquisite provenance at the most ordinary of
stores. On more than one occasion she believed she would be made rich by re-selling one
of these purchases, but research I conducted often proved otherwise. Yet she was ever
hopeful and hosted a daily yard sale on the front porch. When Antiques Roadshow
premiered on PBS my sister and I rejoiced – Grandma’s vocation was now a widely
celebrated American pastime. When eBay became popular we helped sell one of the most
unique dolls she ever owned – Queen Elizabeth the II of England in her full coronation

My sister is pregnant; and though her child will never meet his Great Grandma Lorraine,
he will know her, for he will surely hear the many stories of the woman with the red hair
blowing in the wind, her heart always seeking Wyoming’s wide open spaces – and yard