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Lorraine Raichlen Gershenfeld
  • Remembrances in memory of Lorraine may be directed to the Pacific Northwest Ballet.
  • Pacific Northwest Ballet
    301 Mercer Street
    Seattle, WA 98109

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Lorraine Raichlen Gershenfeld passed away at home in Seattle on February 3, 2017. The daughter of Hyman (Henry) Raichlen and Florence Brodsky Raichlen, Lorraine was born in Newark, NJ on November 9, 1924. She grew up in Maplewood, NJ and graduated from Columbia High School in 1942. A bookkeeper by profession, Lorraine waited patiently for her true love Marvin Gershenfeld to return from service in World War II. They married in 1947. Stories abound of Mom's attempts to get Dad to set a firm wedding date through competitive bets while bowling, playing cards, e.g., "I bet three months closer to a wedding date if I win." She said it was the one time she won every bet.

A year after the arrival of their firstborn, Lorraine and Marvin settled in Westfield, NJ, where they raised their three children, were active in the local synagogue, neighborhood and school activities and extended family events. Lorraine served as Sisterhood President at Temple Emanu-El in Westfield in 1963-1964, and volunteered as a Girl Scout Brownie leader. When her youngest child went off to college, Lorraine returned to work, first as aerobics instructor at the local YWCA and later as an administrative assistant at Dole Foods.

Always active, Lorraine loved a wide variety of physical and cultural endeavors. She was never happier than at the beach. She took up ballet as a young woman, and continued to take classes for many years. Her love of dance and music extended to attending major performances of the top dance companies in New York City, plus many Broadway shows. As children, our house was always full of music playing - Broadway soundtracks, Frank Sinatra, Herb Alpert, Barbara Streisand, classical music. Skilled at needle arts, she created personal gifts of knitted, embroidered and needlepoint works treasured to this day by the recipients.

When the family decided to give trailer camping a try, Lorraine agreed, though she was prepared to be a martyr about it. However, she loved it from the first night, and camping remained a key leisure activity for many years, including weekends on vacation property in northeastern Pennsylvania.

Later, Lorraine's favorite summers found her and Marvin in the Berkshire Mountains of Massachusetts, picnicking at Tanglewood, attending theatre and dance performances at various venues around Lenox and Williamstown, MA. Winters were full of ice dancing and skiing with Marvin. Much to her chagrin, Lorraine's ski career ended at age 88 when she tore her meniscus...dismounting after a horseback ride. Moving to Seattle in 2010, she attended performances of the Pacific Northwest Ballet, and the Cascade Symphony, and continued her exercise classes at the local Y.

What we will remember most about Lorraine is her humor, her tremendous affection for people, and her positive attitude towards everything – she once called a hospital stay a "trip to the health spa", given the opportunity to lose weight. Lorraine maintained boundless energy into her 90's, with a passion for exercise, learning, discussion, music and reading. She loved her close friends as sisters and many of the younger generation loved her as their "other" mother. The world has slightly less vibrant color without her. We know she is dancing with Marvin again.

Lorraine is survived by her children Robert, his wife Janet Henry Gershenfeld and sons David and Jeffrey Gershenfeld; Barry, his wife Karen Gershenfeld, daughter Sherri Orlando-Dominguez, her husband Todd Dominguez and their children Reese and Ryder Dominguez; Nancy Gershenfeld and her wife Katharine Warfield. Lorraine was predeceased by her husband Marvin, her parents, and her brother Col. Richard Raichlen.

A celebration of Lorraine and Marvin's lives will be held at Ida Culver House Broadview in Seattle on Monday, March 13 at 3:00 PM.

The family thanks Evergreen Hospice Services for their loving care and counsel.

Remembrances in memory of Lorraine may be directed to the Pacific Northwest Ballet or the Evergreen Health Foundation Hospice Care.