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WOLBRINK, Lorraine 1919-2017


Posted By: Tammy (email)
Date: 2/24/2019 at 18:37:06

Our beloved mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother, Lorraine Wolbrink of Wellsburg, Iowa, passed away on December 21, 2017, just in time to spend Christmas in heaven. Visitation will be held on Wednesday, December 27, 2017 at the Wellsburg Reformed Church from 9:30 a.m. until the time of funeral service at 10:30 a.m. Burial will follow at the Wellsburg Reformed Church Cemetery. Memorials may be directed to the family.

She was born Janie Lorraine Barickman on January 24, 1919, a year before women won the right to vote. Her parents, Harry Barickman and Florence (Andrus) Barickman, owned Pansyvale, a nursery in Des Moines. Lorraine grew up amid plants, helping her dear “Poppa” with greenhouse chores and customer requests. Thus began a lifetime of cheerful nurturing, both of plants and people.

Lorraine graduated from Roosevelt High School in 1937 and went to work at Schulze and Burch Biscuit Company to earn money to continue her education. Two years later she enrolled at Central College in Pella. While there, she met a farm boy from South Dakota named Gideon, who sat behind the steering wheel of a car “just like Poppa.” Gideon was drafted into the Army in 1941, and Lorraine went off to teach in Searsboro and Urbandale. But they continued to correspond and see each other when they could. They were married in Des Moines on January 15, 1944.

Fourteen weeks later Gideon, by then a first lieutenant, shipped out to Europe and waded ashore at Omaha Beach a few days after the invasion. He was in a foxhole somewhere in Germany in early 1945 when a letter arrived from Lorraine telling him about the birth of their daughter, Janie Marie.

After the war Gideon enrolled at Western Seminary in Holland, Michigan. He and Lorraine lived there for three years before taking a pastorate in Litchville, North Dakota, where they served both the Litchville and North Marion Reformed churches. In 1957 they moved to Newton Zion Reformed Church in Erie, Illinois. In 1963 they moved to Wellsburg, Iowa, where they served the Wellsburg Reformed Church until Gideon’s retirement in 1979.

Lorraine will be remembered for many things, foremost the example of her life. She was deeply religious and accepting of everyone. Many times in North Dakota there was a knock on the door and a rough-shaven man standing on the porch. Hoboes riding the rails knew they could get a hot meal at the parsonage. She was curious and playful and interested in the world. It was her rule that the family could not pass a full day in the car on a cross-country driving trip without stopping at least once at a museum, historical site, or point of interest—the house of Henry Clay, the Stephen Foster Memorial, a remote park she’d spied on the map that required navigating hairpin turns on gravel roads used mostly by huge trucks carrying uranium ore. That was the educator in her. Her lively mind and “otherness” made her an excellent teacher. After her own children were in school, she resumed her professional career as a grade-school teacher, first in Garden Plain, Illinois, and later in Wellsburg. She knew the name of every plant and wildflower, the result of formative years in a greenhouse and her experience as a Campfire Girl counselor. Finally, Lorraine will be remembered for being always in motion, constantly busy with something, forever engaged in a task or planning a project. Among many other things, she kept a big garden, tended African violets on the windowsill, drew illustrations for the church cookbook, quilted, sewed whimsical stuffed animals from fabric scraps, and maintained a record of family history dating back to the 1630s in Massachusetts. These passions and interests were often relegated to the corners of her life while she addressed the foreground issues of caring for family, teaching school, attending two Sunday services and Wednesday night Bible study, teaching Sunday School, participating in Ladies Aid and other church groups, teaching Vacation Bible School, and maintaining certification by taking college courses during the summer and extension courses during the school year. In short, she was a “doer,” task-oriented and seemingly tireless.

Lorraine was preceded in death by her husband Gideon; son-in-law Rev. Rodney Koopmans; sisters Mary Gaunt, Catherine Barickman, and Elizabeth Shapiro Williams; brothers, Gilbert and Leroy Barickman; as well as many sisters- and brothers-in-law.

She is survived by her children Janie Koopmans of Bronxville, NY, Paul (Vivian) Wolbrink of Spring Lake, Michigan, Harriet (Joe) Wolbrink Rankin of Ann Arbor, Michigan, and Martha (Michael) Schultz of Maple City, Michigan; three sisters-in-law, Pat Barickman, Sarah DeBoer, and Eltha Wolbrink; grandchildren Lara (Todd) Hiller, Dirk Koopmans, Shelley (Jeff) Wolbrink VanDenBerg, Rebekah Rankin Ross, Ellen (Bobby) Schultz Fox, and Annie Schultz; great-grandchildren Aiden, Avery, Evelyn, Alannah, Elliott, Lillian, and Bobby.

--Abels Funeral Homes (www.abelsfuneralhomes.com)


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