FAIRMONT — A Celebration of Life service for Lorraine Harper, 93, of Fairmont, Minn., will be 1 p.m. Saturday, June 15, 2019, at First Congregational United Church of Christ Church in Fairmont. Lorraine was called to her eternal rest Monday, June 10, 2019, at the Trails of Orono Assisted Living and Memory Care Center in Orono, Minn.
Visitation will be held prior to the service from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the church. Burial will be in Lakeside Cemetery, Fairmont.
Lakeview Funeral Home and Cremation Service in Fairmont is assisting the family with arrangements.
(Elva) Lorraine was born May 11, 1926, in Plattsmouth, Neb., daughter of Lloyd and Leota Sharp. In 1931, the family moved to Omaha, Neb., where they joined the Northside Christian Church and Lorraine was baptized in 1936. She was active in Sunday school, youth group and choir. She and a couple of friends started a church newsletter that kept in touch with all the servicemen during the war.
Upon graduation from North High School, where she was elected to the National Honor Society, Lorraine attended business school and then took a job as a stenographer and bookkeeper for three lawyers and later a large financial company.
On June 15, 1946, Lorraine was married to Lt. Colonel Ernest Harper Jr., just home from active duty in China where he flew missions against the Japanese as part of the Flying Tigers group. He took a job as engineer with Northern Natural Gas Co. and worked in the Omaha office for 18 years before being transferred to Minnesota. He managed the Welcome, Minn., plant for six years and then was transferred to northern Minnesota where he managed three locations. Following Ernest’s retirement, they moved back to Fairmont where they had many wonderful friends.
The couple was very active at the Congregational Church. They both attended a Cursillo weekend and were members of a Bible study group for many years that formed following the Cursillo experience. With her love of music, Lorraine sang in church choirs, also a ladies’ trio for 24 years. She joined the Mozart’s, a colorful area choir in Fairmont.
She served as Welcome Wagon hostess for several years and also organized the Friend to Friend program where volunteers each “adopted” a lonely senior citizen. Lorraine planned numerous get-togethers for all of them.
She was on the Ladies Board at the golf course, serving as Bridge chairman. Lorraine served two years as president of the local P.E.O Chapter Y, was active in church circle and became president of the Ladies Fellowship in two of her churches, Omaha and Cloquet. Lorraine also taught seventh grade Sunday school in Minneapolis and Fairmont. In 1996, Lorraine organized and chaired the first annual bridge benefit for Lakeview Methodist Health Care Center. That event grew from 32 bridge players the first year to 120 players in 2007. This event was held annually until 2014.
Ernie and Lorraine had many trips, but the highlight trip was to Brazil in 1981, where they attended an International Rotary convention and were privileged to shake hands with Mother Teresa, the featured speaker. They also got to visit the gorgeous statue, “Christ of the Andes” an architectural wonder.
In 1987, Lorraine’s parents moved to Fairmont from Omaha, Neb. There were many enjoyable times but also difficult ones. From October 1998 to December 2002, there were four funerals, her parents, her sister’s husband who had been pastor for 50 years and her husband of 56 years who died unexpectedly. Ernie’s memorial service was held on Christmas Sunday in 2002.
Left to cherish her memory are her two sons, Ted (Debbie) Harper of Delano, Minn., Jim (Charlene) Harper of Wayzata, Minn.; daughter, Diane (Gary) Branson of Chile; grandchildren, Christine (Lucas) Brey and their children, Hixton and Grayson; Leslie (Nick) Koshenina, Meredith Harper and Shannon Harper all of the Twin Cities, Minn. area; sister, Della Greenlee of Thousand Oaks, Calif.; brother-in-law, Ed (Marge) Harper of San Antonio, Texas; as well as many nieces, nephews, cousins, extended family and friends.
Lorraine was preceded in death by her parents, Lloyd and Leota Sharp; husband, Ernie Harper; her 10-year-old brother, Jerry Lee; mother-in-law and father-in-law, Marguerite and Ernest Miles Harper; brothers-in-law, Rev. John Greenlee, Marvin Harper and Dean Harper; sisters-in-law, Elnora Gordon, Marjorie Flegle, Elaine Montieth, Maxine Marks and Lucille Wray.
The family requests memorials be made in Lorraine’s name to the First Congregational United Church of Christ and the Lakeview Methodist Health Care Center both of Fairmont.