52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks #48 – Lorraine (Verdi) Strait

Relationship: Step-mother


I got the sad news that Lorraine had passed away on Thanksgiving Day, 26 November 2015.

Her obituary was published in the New Jersey Herald on 01 December 2015 and reads as follows:

ANDOVER TWP.- Lorraine “Rain” Verdi Strait, 88, of Andover Township, died Thursday, Nov. 26, 2015, at Barn Hill Care Center in Newton.
Mrs. Strait was born and raised in Bloomfield. She graduated from Bloomfield High School and went on to work at the Prudential Insurance Company in Newark. A resident of Newton since 1953, she worked for John Coats Jewelers in Newton, Midlantic Bank in Newton and Sparta, and was a long-time volunteer at Newton Memorial Hospital. She was an avid reader of history and non-fiction, an even more avid basketball and tennis fan, and had an enduring fondness for American collies. She will be greatly missed by her family.

Mrs. Strait was the daughter of the late John and Evelyn (Casazza) Verdi and was also predeceased by her former husband, John Boheim, and by her brother, John Verdi and his wife, Dolores. She is survived by her husband of 34 years, William Strait; three children, Stephen Boheim and wife, Angela, of Acton, Mass., Kristi Boheim Wiswell, of Melrose, Mass., and Peter Boheim, of Brooksville, Fla.; three stepdaughters, Jodi Strait, of Tucson, Ariz., Jill Ray, of Randolph, and Jenni Ogar, of Swartswood; four grandchildren, Andrew Wisell, Kaitlin Boheim, Madeline Sofio and Alexander Ogar; and a niece, Andrea Faith.

Services and interment are private and are under the direction of the Smith-McCracken Funeral Home, 63 High St., Newton.
Memorial donations may be made to the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America, 375 Kings Highway North, Cherry Hill, NJ 08034 (msaa@mymsaa.org) or to the Collie Health Foundation, c/o Nancy Van Note, 827 Bowman Road, Jackson, NJ 08527-3553 (www.colliehealth.org).
Online condolences may be offered at www.smithmccrackenfuneralhome.com.


Again, obituaries are great for getting some sense of a person and their family structure. But I got to know a little more about Lorraine over the 34 years she was married to my dad. When I would go back to visit my family in New Jersey, Lorraine and Dad and I would sit in the living room and have great discussions about a varied range of topics.

As the obituary states, she loved to read and one of her favorite authors was Sharon Kay Screen Shot 2015-12-27 at 12.42.06 PMPenman who is is an American historical novelist. Penman is best known for the Welsh Princes trilogy and the Plantagenet series. Lorraine and I discussed The Sunne in Splendour and Here Be Dragons books in length and were always waiting for her next book to come out.

Lorraine also loved the New Yorker magazine. She would read it from cover to cover, devouring it all: articles, cartoons, reviews, opinions and everything in between. She would set aside some articles for Bill to read if he was interested in her short descriptions of what she’d read. She got me hooked on it for years until I became too busy to keep up with the time commitment that reading the New Yorker entails.

During one of my last visits, I was surprised to learn that Lorraine and I shared an affinity for horses. She looked over from her chair at me sitting on the couch and said, “I rode horses when I was younger. I have the pictures in an album.” I was hooked. “Would you show them to me?” I asked. We got up and walked into the office where she pulled one of her many scrapbook albums out. There in the pages of the book, were her memories of her horse riding days.

Screen Shot 2015-12-25 at 10.12.11 AMWhen I first met Lorraine, she had a house on Skytop Road and an furry orange cat named Jiggs who made the eventual move over to the house on Pierce Road. Lorraine and Dad had a few cats over the years. Jiggs gave way to Malcolm who gave way to Shadow.

Collies were also a favorite in the Strait household. Brandy, a rough-coated variety of collie, was their precious and had her nighttime crate in the middle of the kitchen. It was built into the island so that Brandy could be in the middle of all the “action” in the house. Brandy had a run out back to enjoy the sunshine when the weather was good.

I wasn’t a sports fan so my discussions with Lorraine rarely ventured into that arena. But when I walked into the house during basketball season the TV was always turned on to the latest game, particularly college games. Lorraine could tell you the statistics of both the teams and individual players. Tennis got the same treatment and attention from her.

Lorraine will be missed by her family and friends.

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