Fabric artist, Haute couture fashion designer, Pattern maker, Seamstress
Stage Manager and Costume designer extraordinaire, Educator
Daughter, Sister, Cousin, Stepmother, Grandmother, Aunt
Precious wife, Friend and inspiration.
At 8:30 am on Thursday October 20, 2022, Lorraine died in the Vernon BC home she made, shared and loved with her husband Dave. The bright autumn sun was working its way over the hills, surrounded by the richness of her art and passion, her favourite music playing on the iPod next to her bed, and the pine trees standing outside her studio window dappling morning light against the house. She passed in the most serene, tranquil, calm and beautiful way, taking her final peace-filled breaths with Dave at her side, her hand in his. Lorraine lay in repose for two days at home with Dave, her grandchildren Iris, Caspar, June and Raidon, stepdaughters Amie and Tressa, and their partners Bryan and Matt sitting beside her with loving attention, colouring books, knitting, conversation, tears, laughter, and silence. On Saturday October 22 Lorraine’s remains were lovingly wrapped in a blue blanket by Dave and the wonderful funeral home staff, and escorted by the family from the house to the funeral home van.
LORRAINE’S CANCER JOURNEY
Lorraine was diagnosed with uterine cancer in December 2020, underwent surgery in January 2021, and until late summer of this year, embraced chemotherapy and radiation treatments with positivity, focus and endurance – Dave ever-at her side, close friends supporting them both. Then, on September 29 Lorraine suffered a severe pulmonary embolism that resulted in palliative treatments shifting to end of life care. Lorraine received incredible care by the Triage, ICU and 6th Floor nursing teams at Vernon Jubilee Hospital.
On October 13, Lorraine returned home with Dave as her principal caregiver – a role he welcomed, knowing it would be a wonderfully loving thing to be able to care for her every minute of each day and night until the time came for her passing. Lorraine’s sewing room became their bedroom, a sanctuary of colour, light, familiarity, every corner full of the most excellent creations for reminiscing and reflecting on a life lived with beauty. Lorraine died seven days after coming home – five days after her 67th birthday, four days after her mother’s 100th, ten days after her eldest grandson’s 16th, and nine days before her beloved Dave’s 75th. In his birthday card to his wife, Dave wrote, “I love you deeply, I’m so glad our life paths converged, we’ve been beside each other for 43 years and loving it!”.
In the days in the ICU and then at home before she passed, some of Lorraine’s family were able to travel from coastal BC and Alberta’s plains to spend time with her. Amie, Tressa, sisters-in-law, Michelle and Naomi, and brother-in-law Doug had their last, bright conversations with Lorraine while in hospital. At one point Lorraine quipped to Tressa, Amie and Dave about cancer’s undiscriminating unfairness, “eat the French fries and cream puffs!”. Lorraine’s brother, Greg, and her mother, Doris, made a careful journey from Vancouver to Vernon, spending important time together and celebrating the Mother-Daughter birthdays. Doris and Lorraine and Greg had two days of many chats, hugs, and time spent very close with loving, intentional goodbyes. Amie and Tressa, and their families, came as soon as Dave called with the news that Lorraine passed and had meaningful time to be with their dad, of reconnection, and tender farewell to their stepmom.
LORRAINE’S LIFE AND ART
Lorraine was born in Vancouver BC on Saturday October 15, 1955
Lorraine’s sewing career began when she was a preschooler, making outfits for her Troll dolls (drawing on her mom’s sewing talents and guidance) and in high school she proudly told her parents that she skipped PE classes to work on costumes for the Drama Department’s productions! In her graduating year Lorraine won a garment sewing contest and was awarded a high end sewing machine; from there, her gifts with fabric and her passion for making fabulous things flourished. Lorraine took clothing design and textile courses at Douglas College (Vancouver), moved to Montreal and worked in the city’s thriving garment industry for a company called ‘Adorable Lingerie’, and was drawn back to BC after getting a call from a high school friend starting a new clothing company: Far West Mountain Wear Co. In 1979 Lorraine became Far West’s designer and pattern maker, and sample sewer for the company’s line of outdoor wear. In 1980, Lorraine stepped out on her own and opened “Lorraine’s Couture Studio and Fibre Art Studio”, initially working out of her one bedroom apartment and getting off to a strong start.
Lorraine met her ‘to be’ husband Dave through the Powerhouse Theatre, and they married at Trinity United Church in Vernon, in 1981. As Lorraine stepped into family life with Dave, Tressa and Amie, “Lorraine’s Couture and Fibre Art Studio” moved to a large, sunny room in a family-sized house that they purchased.
Over the years Lorraine was a wonderful friend to so many who shared her love of sewing and quilting, learning, the United Church, and a good party. She loved the Theatre and partnering with Dave (W.L.Seaton High School Drama Teacher) in every aspect of his shows, making a formidable production duo. Lorraine’s intuitive sense of flow and organization made her a respected stage manager and usher in community and professional productions alike. In their theatre life together, Lorraine was first and foremost the designer and builder of costumes for dozens of theatrical productions, from small intimate settings, to full scale professional shows. Notably for the Powerhouse Theatre: I am a Camera, Trojan Women, Taming of the Shrew, Little Shop of Horrors, Sveva and virtually all the major productions at W.L. Seaton Secondary School over a 27 year period of time.
Lorraine was gifted in colour theory, tailoring and liturgical art. She was passionate about fashion history and the ways people around the world used fibre and colour. Lorraine enjoyed challenging her eye for colour, taking colour theory courses (in which she got top marks, always) and embarking on complex colour-related projects. When it came to tailoring, pattern-making, and quilting techniques, Lorraine also excelled. She shared her knowledge as a skilled and supportive educator at the community college, in public schools and private classes, as well as offering workshops for quilting guilds and United Church worship committees around BC.
Throughout her career, Lorraine created hundreds one-of-a-kind wedding dresses, formal gowns, and special occasion suits as well as offering alteration services and sewing every-day wear too. Quilting became a passion over the years and she won countless awards in quilt, fashion and art shows – locally and nationally. Lorraine’s love for, and sensitivity to the nuisances of colour underscored her entire life’s journey and art-making. Her mastery of colour is evident in the copious quilts she created. Her fabric art legacy is as broad and rich and deep as the full spectrum of Light.
In their life together Lorraine and Dave camped through much of Canada and the western US. At a later date in honour of Lorraine and their adventures in their custom designed and built “CAMPER TRUCK”. Dave will make what he lovingly calls “a home run camping trip” to spread Lorraine’s ashes in the waters at the most Westerly, Northerly, Southerly and Easterly points of their Canadian travels: Rennell Sound (Haida Gwaii), Watson Lake (BC/Yukon border), Clark’s Harbour (Nova Scotia) and Cape Spear (Newfoundland)