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Lorraine Virginia Seffens Powell
March 14, 1921--January 12, 2017
Lorraine Virginia Seffens was born in Chillicothe, Ohio, March 14, 1921, to George and Harriet Boomer Seffens . Her father died when she was four, and she, her mother, and older brother, Donald, were taken in by Harriet’s brothers and sisters in Marietta, Ohio. Lorraine grew up with aunts and uncles in a large old house on the banks of the Ohio River. She weathered many floods with her family there, and learned to swim in the Ohio. She loved swimming and swam three times a week with friends until her mid-80s. Lorraine graduated with honors from Marietta High School where she starred on the debate team and had a perfect attendance record for all 12 years of school. She went on to Miami University, where she earned a BS in Food and Nutrition. She also fell in love with a tall, redheaded basketball player named Thad Powell. They married July 4, 1943, when he was on leave from navy Boot Camp. Their love affair lasted 56 years until his death in 1999. She completed her residency in dietetics at Christ Hospital, Cincinnati, then moved to Waukegan, Illinois, to be near Thad where he served at Great Lakes Naval Training Station as a company commander. She worked as a registered dietician at Victory Memorial Hospital there throughout the war. Their daughter, Leslie, was born in December 1945, and they returned to Ohio where Thad finished his teaching degree at Miami, and she worked in university food service. Their son, Darrel, was born in June 1955.
They moved to Mason in 1949 when Thad began a 33 year teaching career at Mason High School. Lorraine became active in the community, church and schools as room mother, Sunday School teacher, church volunteer, Cub Scout den mother, organizer and advocate. She was instrumental in the group of women who lobbied Corwin Nixon and other legislators to pass a bill so Mason could establish its own public library and not just a satellite of Lebanon. She also led a neighborhood group who convinced the city council not to destroy the creek bridge to Rose Hill Cemetery because older people in the area walked that way to visit family graves. She was a long time member of the Qui Vive Club, a 25-year book club member and a member Mason Presbyterian Church/ Heritage Presbyterian Church for 66 years.
She loved her home and her neighborhood and was proud to be part of Old Mason. She reveled in stories of the people and history in Mason. For years she was the neighbor who collected donations of money or food to support anyone who had an illness or death.
She lived under 16 presidents (and could still name them all in order). She marveled that she remembered both Lindberg’s Atlantic flight and the moon landing. She remembered meeting Franklin Roosevelt and seeing the Chicago World’s fair. She read anything and remembered most of it. She was a self-avowed news junkie and never missed a day with her newspaper and TV news. She was a staunch advocate for education and public schools.
Mostly she was a devoted mother and adoring wife who encouraged her family to succeed and passed along the value of a loving home as a springboard to the world.
She was preceded in death by her parents, her brother, husband Thad, and son-in-law Robert Gilreath. Her grandchildren are Grant Gilreath, Erik Gilreath, Melissa Gilreath Cobb, Brandon Powell, Shannon Powell. Great-grandchildren are Meaghan, Spencer, Alexandra, Kierra, Lakiesha, Elijah, Darnell and Robert Gilreath.
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