Loraine graduated from Portland High School in 1950 and trained as a registered nurse at St. Lawrence Hospital. Upon graduating in1953, she continued to work at St. Lawrence. She met Harold LeFurge Jr. through friends and they were married at the Portland United Methodist Church on January 16, 1954. They shared a life of love and caring for 55 years, until Harold’s death in 2009. They lived in the Waverly area of Lansing for 20 years, where they raised six children: Michelle, Denise, Patrice, Tam, Todd and Andrew. In 1978, they moved to Wyoming, Mich.
Loraine was an excellent nurse, well respected by colleagues throughout her professional life. When her children were school-age, she returned to nursing at Ingham Medical Hospital in Lansing, working nights in the emergency room, opening a gastroenterology unit and worked as a nursing supervisor. She left Ingham Medical Hospital to work as a nurse in the office of Dr. Donald Lipsey. After being diagnosed with lung cancer in 1978, Loraine did not return to work but was an active volunteer with the American Red Cross of Western Michigan for over 25 years. She received an award from the Red Cross for her commitment and service. She was an instructor on blood pressure, HIV/Aids, back pain and first aid. Loraine also served as a disaster nurse and at many blood donation events. She also volunteered at the Wyoming Public Library.
An active member of the Lutheran Church both in Lansing and Wyoming, Loraine advocated for the church’s expanded engagement in helping those with HIV and was proud of the church’s acceptance of gay parishioners. As a church volunteer, she led the junior choir, served as Sunday school superintendent, taught confirmation and Sunday school classes, established the church library, led Bible study, and initiated fundraising for a church organ.
Loraine’s clear thinking, deep love and considered opinion will be missed by her daughter Michelle and husband, Dennis Winters, of Maryland; daughter Denise Smith, grandson Casey Smith and great-granddaughter Shelby of Florida; daughter Patrice LeFurge of Grandville; grandson Travis White, his wife Buena, great-granddaughter Uencie and great-grandson Jivin; granddaughter Josie White and great-granddaughter Sienna Vasquez of Arizona; daughter Tam LeFurge-McLeod and husband, David, and grandsons Sam and Josh of Rockford; son Todd of San Francisco; and son Andrew and wife, Staci, and granddaughter Tatum of Grand Haven. Loraine also leaves many dear friends and family in Portland, Lansing, Wyoming, Kentwood and across the country. She was preceded in death by her husband, Harold; parents, John and Beulah Mellstead; sister, Donna Martin; granddaughter, Caitlin Smith; sister-in-law, Barbara LeFurge; and brothers-in-law, Chuck and Tom LeFurge. Loraine is survived by her sister, Jean Esterline; brother, Allen Mellstead; sisters-in-law, Kay Greenwood and Ann LeFurge; brother-in-law, David LeFurge; and over 45 nieces and nephews.
Friends are asked to join the family for visitation Friday, November 10, from 6 to 8 p.m.; and Saturday, November 11, from 10 to 11 a.m., at Christ Lutheran Church, Wyoming, Mich. The memorial service will follow the Saturday visitation and begin at 11 a.m., followed by a luncheon and fellowship at the church.
Memorials, rather than flowers, would be appreciated and may be made to Christ Lutheran Church of Wyoming, Mich.; or to Kent District Public Library, designated to the Wyoming Branch.