Thursday, July 20, 2017
6:00 PM to 8:00 PM EDT
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
Paw Paw Location
60900 Michigan 40
Paw Paw, MI 49079
Rosary Service at 7:30pm
Life Story / Obituary
Throughout her rich and rewarding life, Lorraine Plaszczak made the most of the days she was given. She was a strong, hardworking and resilient woman who had a contagious zest for life that was so easy to see. There was no greater gift in Lorraine’s life than her family, and her great-granddaughter was the light of her life. A longtime resident of the community she loved, she was the sort of woman everyone seemed to know. Lorraine was a woman of faith who held fast to the family traditions that meant the world to her. Content in whatever life brought, she faced whatever came her way head on with both poise and courage. Deeply loved, she will be forever missed.
It was great to be an American during the 1920s when ballroom dancing and jazz music were among the latest trends, and legends Ty Cobb and Babe Ruth made baseball America’s favorite pastime. It was just as this decade was dawning that Charles and Susan (Lammers) Wiedenfeld announced the birth of the baby girl they named Lorraine Helen on November 9, 1920, in Hardington, Nebraska. She was raised primarily in Iowa and Nebraska throughout her formative years. Lorraine’s parents were farmers, and her mom worked tirelessly, running a cattle ranch with Lorraine’s uncles in Western Nebraska. Growing up during the Great Depression meant the family had fun in whatever way they could create it, often getting together for a game of baseball. Perhaps this is where Lorraine’s love for the Detroit Tigers came from. She graduated from high school in Nebraska as part of a graduating class of only 12. Much later in life, she returned back to Nebraska to take part in her 60th class reunion. After graduating, Lorraine completed beauty school and joined her sister, Ann, in San Diego and became a hair dresser. Later she became a beautician in Paw Paw, working out of her home.
Not to be forgotten during her time in San Diego was Lorraine’s introduction to the man who would change the course of her life forever. His name was Thaddeus “Ted” Plaszczak, and they met when she and her sister went to a USO dance. After falling deeply in love, they were married on November 29, 1942. The newlyweds moved back to Paw Paw and were great dance partners who danced locally. Lorraine and Ted also enjoyed weekend visits to Chicago. Together they were blessed with the births of two children, Roman and Ellyn.
A hardworking woman, Lorraine was a pioneer of sorts as she was a successful working woman. She worked as a realtor before she and her husband opened Sea Land Air Travel, which people thought was crazy in a small town at the time. However, they did well and even added a gift shop full of things Ted would collect from all over. The business continues to thrive today under the direction of their daughter.
Life in the Plaszczak home was always a bustle of activity. Lorraine followed her kids’ activities closely while also working outside of the home. Some of their best memories were made while boating on Maple Lake and they also kept a cabin cruiser docked on Lake Michigan. Although Lorraine didn’t swim, she could waterski with the best of them! In addition to heading to the lake on the weekends during the summer, they also regularly went to grandma and grandpa’s house nearby. The family always had several pets, dogs, cats, birds. Lorraine had a special love for her dog, Innes.
After Ted passed in 1987, Lorraine eventually went to live with Ellyn. She enjoyed going with Ellyn to dog shows and she was also so proud of Roman who was involved in boat racing. Even though she thought it was dangerous, Lorraine did travel to Key West to watch him race. She also did a lot of traveling, primarily after Ted’s death. Some of her destinations included Hawaii, Egypt, Singapore, Japan, Russia, Ireland, Paris, London, throughout the Mediterranean, Crete, Alaska, California, and to various places on cruises including to the Panama Canal. Lorraine always said to put a suitcase on her tombstone! There was also a memorable trip to Ireland with Ellyn and her grandson, Brett, who was just 10 at the time. In Thailand, they went to a working elephant camp where she bought bananas for the elephants. One elephant walked right up to her, swung his trunk, knocked her over, and took all of her bananas. Lorraine got up and shouted at the elephant, “you can’t take all my bananas!” Although she was 86, she went to Cancun for her only grandson, Brett’s, destination wedding where she had the time of her life and danced the night away in the sand. Lorraine greatly enjoyed saltwater fishing as well. On a recent trip to Florida when she was 93 she even caught a shark!
As someone who liked being busy, Lorraine was a woman of many interests. She enjoyed picking vegetables from the garden while living with Ellyn, although she hated the morning glories with a passion. Lorraine was known to steal Ellyn and Dave’s car once in a while for a quick trip to the corner store, which she wasn’t supposed to be doing. Their neighbor would call to say, “Mom just peeled out of the driveway on two wheels!” Roman would then end up going to the store to help her start the car and safely get back home. Lorraine was very involved in the community. She was an active member of The Coterie and named Hospice volunteer of the year when she was in her 80s. Lorraine loved motorcycles and had the time of her life when Ellyn’s husband took her for a spin later in life. She was into sewing, upholstery, and quilting as she was very artsy. Lorraine just loved creating things and could also fix just about anything.
More recently, Lorraine was thrilled to become a great-grandmother. As her family and friends can attest, she simply lit up when Riley was around, and she savored every moment they spent together. Lorraine and Riley often did puzzles and read stories together, and when Riley began reading she took over on reading stories to her great-grandma.
All who knew Lorraine Plaszczak would agree that she was truly beautiful on the inside and out. She was so gracious and kindhearted with a certain spark about her that drew others near with ease. Lorraine’s greatest gift was her family, and although she treasured her roles as a wife, mother, and grandmother, she just may have argued that nothing was better than becoming a great-grandmother. Lorraine will never be forgotten.
Lorraine Plaszczak, of Paw Paw, passed away on Monday, July 17, 2017. Surviving are her children: Roman (Ava) Plaszczak and Ellyn (Dave) Jones; brother, Dick Wiedenfeld; grandson, Brett (Jessica) Jones; and her great granddaughter, Riley Jones. Lorraine was preceded in death by her husband, Ted. Visit with friends and family on Thursday, July 20, 2017, from 6-8 p.m. at the Betzler & Thompson Life Story Funeral Home, 60900 M-40; Paw Paw (269) 657-3870. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11 a.m. on Friday, July 21, 2017, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church. Interment St. Mary’s Cemetery. Food and fellowship will follow. Please visit Lorraine’s personal web page at www.BetzlerFuneralHome.com where you may share a favorite memory or photo and sign her online guestbook before coming to the funeral home. Memorials may be directed to Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan.