Lorraine Anna (Hedtke) Church, 96 of Wahpeton, ND, passed away peacefully on Thursday, December 16, 2021. Visitation will be held Thursday, December 23, 2021, from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m., followed by her funeral service at 2:00 p.m., at Joseph Vertin and Sons Funeral Home in Breckenridge, MN. Rev. Matthew Tooman will officiate. Burial will be at Riverside Cemetery in Campbell, Minnesota. A live stream of her service will be available on the funeral home’s website; Joseph Vertin & Sons Funeral Home | Breckenridge, MN funeral home and cremation (josephvertinandsons.com)
Lorraine Anna Hedtke was born to George and Lina (Steffens) Hedtke on November 21, 1925, in Fairmount, North Dakota. She was the third daughter, with older sisters, Roberta and Georgie, and younger siblings Gloria, Harvey, Jeannette, Randall, Delwin, and Emily. Growing up in Fairmount, ND, Lorraine attended the local school and was also confirmed in faith at the First English Lutheran Church.
On September 10, 1944, Lorraine was joined in marriage with Howard Church, who worked for the railroad and later managed the Tenney Grain Company elevator. They were blessed with five children: Allen, Darlene, Eileen, Rebecca, and Kendall. Lorraine and Howard lived in Breckenridge, MN, for a short time and then moved to Campbell, MN. In 1966, the couple made their home in Tenney, MN. While in Tenney, Lorraine served for more than a decade as First Lady of Tenney side-by-side with Howard as Mayor. Along with her First Lady title, Lorraine also served the town of Tenney as the Tenney City Treasurer and more than 10 years as the Tenney Post Mistress as well as by writing “The Tenney News” for the Wheaton Gazette for more than a decade.
Lorraine and Howard shared 41 years together before Howard passed away in April of 1986, leaving Lorraine in the home they shared in Tenney, MN. With family close by, Lorraine enjoyed many planned visits as well as unexpected drop-ins from her children and grandchildren. She was always ready with a tasty snack and treat, the hostess of hospitality and kindness. In her early 60s, Lorraine worked for a few years at Ben Franklin in Wahpeton, ND, assisting customers, especially in the fabric department. While living in Tenney, Lorraine along with the five other citizens of Tenney were picked up by a limousine and transported on a trip to Minneapolis where they were wined and dined as well as guests on a morning talk show for living in Tenney, holding the reigning title of “The Tiniest Town in Minnesota.”
In 2003, Lorraine moved back home to Fairmount, ND. Lorraine continued to live a very active life and was involved in several community organizations including volunteering for Lutheran Social Services as well as being a member of the Faith Community Church of Campbell, Wahpeton Eagles Club, and American Legion Ladies Auxiliary. In 1990, Lorraine was bestowed the great honor of being the Wahpeton Eagles Club “Mother of the Year,” an honor that her daughter Rebecca was privileged to award. Lorraine was a 76-year member of the American Legion Auxiliary, holding the longest membership of the Campbell & Breckenridge units.
In 2015, Lorraine moved to her apartment at Siena Court in Wahpeton, ND where she continued to host friends and family often for visits. Her apartment was filled with special collectible items associated with good memories, notes from loved ones to bring joy, dozens of coffee cups for warm conversations, enough sewing and quilt projects to keep her hands busy, and plenty of purple – her most favorite color.
Lorraine loved her family dearly and it was her joy to make every effort to attend concerts, ball games, school plays, and other activities for her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. She enjoyed watching movies, sewing, and mowing the lawn. For more than 40 years, Lorraine got together every week with the same group of ladies to play cards and talk smart. She went on several great adventures with her siblings, crossing the ocean on a vacation to Europe and crossing the country on a 3-week trip to California. Lorraine was an excellent cook and quilter, serving delicious meals and wrapping her children and grandchildren in warmth with special handmade quilts. Lorraine collected stickers and cards to mail along with handwritten notes of love and well wishes which brought great joy and delight to her family. Lorraine was a talented BINGO player and was always saving her coins for another chance to win, although she always considered herself to be the luckiest when surrounded by good friends and loving family.
As we celebrate Lorraine’s earthly life so near to the Christmas holiday, we are reminded of her delicious platters of homemade candy, including her famous peanut brittle made for her family. Every Christmas, Lorraine baked tins full of brittle so when she gathered with friends and family, she could happily hand out pounds of brittle measured by her hand and made with her love.
Lorraine will be missed by her three surviving children and their families: Kendall (Teri) Church of Fairmount, Becky (Gary) Lankow of Tenney, and Eileen (Jim) Boelke of Wahpeton; her 16 grandchildren: Kenzie (Caleb) Meide, Brian (Kristina) Lankow, Stephanie (Cody) Davis, Jennifer Anna (Matthew) Hill, Angela (Jay) Anderson, Barry (Amy) Lankow, Benjamin Lankow, David (Heidi) Boelke, John (Jennifer) Boelke, Christopher (Michelle) Neuman, Larry Neuman, Wendy Church, Teri (Bob Redzanic) Church, Todd Church, Cody (Jessica) Steffens, and Jeremy (Tara) Steffens; and her many great-grandchildren: Maverick Meide; Weston Lankow; Hattie and Scarlett Davis; Cale and Lane Hill; Madelyn, McKennah Lorraine and Carson Anderson; Avery Lankow; Kate and Christian Boelke; Hunter, Abby and Cassie Boelke; Michael (Courtney) Neuman and Victoria (Ellis) Morris and son, Raphael; Dillon Church; Heather (Dylan Rosen) Church; Jace, Riley and Kinley Steffens; Jackson, Tucker and Zach Steffens; and Siarra Pourchez and Krystopher Weber.
Lorraine is also survived by sisters: Roberta Boll of Temecula, CA, Georgie Leinen of Milwaukee, WI, and Jeanette (Don) Peterson of Maplewood, MN; brothers, Randall (Karen) Hedtke of Fairmount, ND, and Delwin (Hope) Hedtke of Eagan, MN; brother-in-law Darrell Schillinger of Sebring, FL; as well as many nieces and nephews.
Lorraine was preceded in death by her parents George and Lina; her husband Howard in 1986; oldest son Allen in 2001; daughter Darlene in 2019; daughter-in-law Linda in 2019; brother Harvey; sisters Gloria and Emily; and in-laws Lawrence Boll, Tommy Leinen, Irene Hedtke, Dick Miller, and John Joerg.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Joseph Vertin & Sons Funeral Home 303 North Fifth Street
Breckenridge, MN 56520.
Obituary submitted by family.
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