Lorraine Marie Leffingwell, age 93 of Black River Falls, passed away gently on Saturday July 24, 2021, her daughter by her side.

Lorraine was born October 8, 1927 in Black River Falls WI to Silas and Myrtle (Hoem) Johnson of Melrose. She grew up in the Disco area and always said she had a wonderful life growing up on the farm.

She attended elementary school at Disco, getting top grades. She attended junior and senior high schools at Taylor and graduated as Salutatorian, Class of 1945.

While she was working at the Bus Depot in Black River Falls, her future stepson introduced her to his father, James Leffingwell, the love of her life, whom she married September 6, 1946. In addition to her new stepson, Jack, Lorraine welcomed a stepdaughter, Jenene. Jim and Loraine also became parents to two daughters, Sheri and Dawn, and a son Jim. They raised their family on Pine Street in Black River Falls. In 1967 they were advised that Jim’s grandchildren, living in California, were in danger of being separated from each other due to a fracture in the family’s structure. Their father, ill with a heart condition, asked if Jim and Lorraine could take two of the children. They discussed it and did not want the children split up, and they wanted to take all four children. Their dad brought them to Black River Falls on the train. Their father died shortly thereafter and the three boys and one girl; Ricky, Vicky, Jimmy and Scott Rossiter, became beloved members of the family. Jim and Loraine happily raised nine children.

Lorraine’s compassion and generosity endeared her to many people. If you came to her door, you were invited in. If a meal was being served, you were invited to sit down and eat. If you were in need, of anything, she would do her best to help.

Lorraine worked at a clothing and dry goods store, Taylor and Jones, in downtown Black River Falls. She clerked there through the ownership of several people, eventually purchasing the business herself. When the owner of the building needed the space for other endeavors, she was forced to give up her career of clerking for over 50 years. This was a devastating development as it had also provided her with basically the only social life she knew. But, Jim and Lorraine had purchased a small motel, The E and F, in the 1960’s and she still had that business to attend to. So she managed that business until her late 80’s. In recent years she had been assisted by family members, particularly her grandson Brady.

Lorraine has contributed to many charitable events through the decades of caring for others. She was awarded the honor of being chosen as one of Jackson County’s ‘Women in History’. All her life she had modeled what it was to be a good and kind human being. She will truly be missed by family and friends. She has been the matriarch of her family since the death of her husband in 1985. Lorraine was a member of the United Methodist Church of Black River Falls. She attended regularly until she was physically unable to do so.

Surviving Lorraine are her children Sheri (Terry) Thompson, Dawn (Gary) Hansen, Jim (Kathy) Leffingwell and Rick Rossiter, Vicky Song, and Scott (Robin) Rossiter; one brother David (Charlotte); a sister-in law Dagmar Johnson; a stepdaughter-in-law Donna Hulsey; and by her 18 grandchildren, 39 great-grandchildren and 42 great great-grandchildren; as well as several nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her husband; her parents; one brother Duane; two sisters Joyce (Woody) Jeffrey and Marlys (John) Shultz; her stepson Jack Leffingwell and stepdaughter Jenene Ramagnaro; one granddaughter Kayce Sanders; and one grandson Jim Rossiter.

Lorraine wanted a simple Celebration of life ceremony to be held at Riverside Cemetery in Black River Falls. Her cremains will be buried there next to her husband. Inurnment will take place at 11:00 AM, Monday August 2, 2021The Rev. Dr. Richard T. Rossiter will officiate. A meal will be provided at the Rustic Mill Park immediately following the services at the graveside.

The family wishes to thank Black River Memorial Hospital; Osseo Mayo Clinic Health System-Oakridge; Dove Healthcare in Osseo; and Meadowbrook Nursing Home in Black River Falls. Special thank you to Hospice for their respectful and tender care of Lorraine.

The Torgerson Funeral Home in Black River Falls is serving the family. (715) 284-4321.

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