Lorraine Thelma Ferris was born to Thelma Alma (Weaver) Johnson and Elton Randall Johnson, in Klamath Falls, Oregon on April 5, 1927
That family, along with an older brother, Lloyd E. Johnson, lived on a small fruit farm where they raised turkeys. Elton, who was quite a fisherman, also built several apartment buildings in town. Thelma was a homemaker and helped to work the farm. It was the Depression and times were hard. Sadly, the couple divorced, and Lorraine and Lloyd lived with their mother, between Tucson, Arizona and Southern California. Elton went into dentistry, and remained close with his two children until his passing. Mom (Lorraine) adored her dad.
Mom has shared many memories of her childhood. One was surviving the devastating 1933 earthquake which hit south of downtown L.A. and killed many. Mom and Grandma Thelma were downtown shopping, and in a dressing room when the quake hit. Grandma Thelma rushed 6 year old Lorraine out in the streets to see chaos. All of a sudden, Grandma and mom were shoved violently by a nearby businessman who pushed them from certain death when an awning crashed down, narrowly missing them.
Another memory is going to Jr. High School in Tucson. Times were difficult, and she and her brother would sleep on the porch to keep cool. Grandma Thelma would clean and cook nearby for $3.00 a week, and mom would babysit for 50 cents. She enjoyed friendships in school and attended a Baptist Church at that time, where she accepted Christ. There was a pastor and his wife there who took her under their wing, whom she called Pop and Mom McCorkle. She made lifetime friends with a beautiful girl named Genevieve, who married Ken Vermillion. They had 3 sons who became family friends of Mom (Lorraine) and Dad’s (Mynard) children. Only the youngest Vermillion son, Greg, survives.
Mom was Aunt Lorraine to her brother Lloyd and Betty Johnson’s two of California, Lelanie and Randall (Randy). She loved them very much, and often spoke to me of her care for each. She would try to stay connected with them as they didn’t live close by, and each time she spoke with one, she would call me, her daughter, to tell me how they were doing. Both reached out to my mother, their aunt, at difficult times, and they were appreciated, valued and loved.
Lorraine dearly loved her cousin (Christine) Louise and spent much time together while living in Long Beach together. Louise married Jimmy Sadler and had three girls, Sandy, Laury and Judy (deceased), who too became close family friends, and still are dear to us. Louise lost her first husband and remarried Charley Gish, bringing Karen and Judy into our lives.
During WWII, mom worked at the Army depot in Long Beach. Awfully pretty and outgoing, she was a favorite in the office, where she worked hard doing secretarial work for the war. Mom would attend the dances to entertain the soldiers, which were “strictly chaperoned!”. She loved to dance, and would always needle dad that he wouldn’t dance at their wedding. During this time working and living in Long Beach, she was encouraged to write a soldier named Mynard Ferris, Jr. Grandma Thelma was dating his father, Mynard Ferris, Sr. So, on a lark, mom wrote to dad, as she did to other soldier boys. I believe that’s when dad fell in love with mom, through their letters. He would pour out his heart to her, making it through the beaches of Normandy on D-Day, the Battle of the Bulge, and more. Earning the Bronze Star and other citations, he was truly a hero among men, and humble. Dad was a Lath and Plaster by trade from the state of Illinois, as was his father. Returning to California after the war, he met Lorraine. She recalls, “After meeting me, Mynard INFORMED me that I was going to marry him! I sort of laughed.” She had a very serious boyfriend at that time named Jimmy, who too just returned from the war. Visiting mom before returning home to Tuscon, grandma Thelma allowed Jimmy to sleep on a cot in the living room. Mynard came over that evening, and asked Jimmy what he was doing there with his fiancee, focusing a very stern look upon Jimmy. Well, Jimmy gathered his things and quickly left, and that was that. Mom and Dad were married at the Normandie Chapel in Long Beach on January 26, 1946.
Dad and mom then raised 4 children in Orange County, California, Daniel, Stephen, Suzanne and Christine. One child, Andrew Scott, born last and who went to be with the Lord. Mom taught Sunday School at the First Assembly of God Church in Garden Grove. She loved music, and sang in the choir, occasionally asked to be a soloist. Mom worked part time at various jobs, keeping up with her secretarial skills. Mom loved gardening and plants, and was a very good cook. She liked to read and collect new recipes. Mom always took care of her appearance, and at 90, was still a “pretty woman” said by many who knew her in Illinois. She loved her grandchildren and great grandchildren. She is survived by 4 children, 14 grandchildren, and 18 great grandchildren. She was known for remembering these with her little gifts and faithful cards, which she would choose carefully, and thoughtfully select a special verse for the recipient. Mom was a loyal friend to those who were in her circle. She will look forward to meeting her dear, special friend and neighbor, Vilma, on the other side.
Above all, Mom loved Jesus Christ, her Lord and Savior. She would always say she wasn’t a very good reader, however her final years were spent reading the scriptures often. She loved to talk about the scriptures, had lots of questions, and welcomed different perspectives on a passage. She enjoyed learning new things in the Word, and the Holy Spirit revealing these to her would make her excited and happy. She knew exactly where she was going, and in time for her anniversary on January 25, she stepped peacefully into glory to meet her Lord, her husband of 68 years, her son Andrew, and a host of dear ones gone before. She will be missed sorely by her loved ones, but we will all be together soon enough, perfected in His Love. Good-bye for now, mom, grandma, and great-grandma, you are loved.
Viewing and friends and family will gather at Lemley Chapel on Saturday, February 3 at 12 noon. A Graveside Service will be held on Saturday, February 3, 2018 at 2:00 PM at the Sedro-Woolley Union Cemetery. Visitation will be available on Thursday & Friday February 1 st & 2nd from 9am to 5 pm and on Saturday from 9am to 1 pm.