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Holy Spirit School Education Foundation
2222 Lake Michigan Dr. NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
Life Story / Obituary
All who knew Lorraine Debri would agree that she was truly beautiful on the inside and out. She was gracious, classy, and selfless with a heart that beat to serve in numerous ways within the community she called home throughout her entire life. Nothing was better than being a wife and mother, except maybe becoming a grandmother as her grandchildren truly put the song in Lorraine’s heart. Accompanied by an unwavering faith, it was her faith that guided the steps she took. Life will never be the same without Lorraine here, but she leaves behind a timeless legacy that is deeply rooted in faith, unending devotion, and unconditional love that her loved ones will proudly carry on in her footsteps.
It was great to be an American during the 1920s. Often recalled as the Roaring Twenties, this was the decade that saw the end of the silent film era, the peak of Broadway, and Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb bring new life to the sport of baseball. Amidst this exciting time was the year 1922 that was filled with great joy for Frank and Frances (Gonia) Levandowski as they announced the birth of the baby girl they named Lorraine Catherine on May 18th in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She was the youngest of six children, joined in her family by her siblings, Gertrude, Dorothy, Raymond, Cecelia, and Harry. Lorraine’s father worked as a butcher at Levandowski Bros. while her mother was a homemaker. They were very close with extended family, too, often visiting family members in Chicago and South Bend, Indiana.
In many ways, Lorraine was a typical young girl of her generation. She loved children, particularly babies, and she could often be found babysitting for many of the neighborhood children. While growing up Lorraine enjoyed things like playing tag, hide and seek, hopscotch, jumping rope, roller skating, ice skating, and playing jacks using stones. She and her family were members of Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church where Lorraine also attended school. Lorraine went on to Catholic Central High School. Although the girls and boys attended school in different buildings at that time, she did take a bookkeeping class with boys. As she got older Lorraine enjoyed baking and sewing, and she was also a fan of Notre Dame football who allowed no talking during the game.
New and exciting changes were in store for Lorraine when she met the young man of her dreams. His name was Robert Debri, and they met at a picnic at Campau Lake. He attended University of Michigan at the time, and they began dating. It wasn’t long before the couple found themselves in love, and with a desire to spent the rest of their lives together the sweethearts were married on Labor Day on September 6, 1948, at Sacred Heart of Jesus Church.
After a honeymoon in Northern Michigan, the newlyweds returned to Grand Rapids and settled into a home at 648 McReynolds NW. They later spent a time living in Muskegon and Bay City before coming back to Grand Rapids and living in a home on Richards Street, then on Shenandoah, and finally on Skyline Circle where Lorraine lived for the last 22 years of her life. Together the couple was blessed with six children including Karen in 1949, Robert Michael who died as an infant in 1951, Marilyn in 1952, Robert in 1954, Mary Kay in 1960, and Michelle in 1964. Around the home Lorraine was the queen of organization who kept a meticulous home. She was also resourceful and thrifty, buying nothing before it was needed and absolutely necessary. In addition, Lorraine worked as a seamstress and office worker. Everything she made in the kitchen was fantastic as she was an amazing cook who made delicious meals for her large family including pork chops, city chicken, kielbasa on a regular basis, and burgers every Saturday night. Lorraine was also a great baker whether it was pies, cookies, oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, paczki (a Polish treat), coffee cakes, many other sweet treats. She also canned and froze produce every year.
Throughout her life, Lorraine was a woman of many interests. She loved shopping at Wurzburg’s during the early years, and later she enjoyed shopping at Steketee’s. Lorraine continued putting her excellent skills as a seamstress to good use as she made several beautiful outfits for family and friends, bags, pillows, curtains and draperies, and baptism gowns. She even mended priest’s garments fairly often. Within her community, Lorraine was a Eucharistic Minister at Holy Spirit, a member of the altar society, organized widows support group, organized dinners for the Young Spirits and enjoyed playing set-back with the group. She organized the senior exercise class at Holy Spirit, and continued to exercise at home with Sit & Be Fit. She was a poll worker and election chairman for 33 years, volunteered at St. Mary’s Hospital in the surgical waiting room, and also volunteered at St. Ann’s Home. Lorraine enjoyed eating out at her favorite restaurant, Brann’s Steakhouse. Around home she liked watching EWTN Catholic Television, Lawrence Welk, Wheel Of Fortune, and Family Feud, and when it came to music she loved the crooners and big orchestra band, especially Glenn Miller and Eddie Howard and his song, “To Each His Own.”
A devoted mother, Lorraine loved having grandchildren. Spending time with them brought her so much joy, and she spent as much time with them as she could. After Robert’s death in 1981, family became even more precious to her than before. It was their love and her strong faith that upheld her during that time. Over the years Lorraine commonly spent time with her children on their summer vacations. When her grandchildren came over she always had plenty of oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and vanilla ice cream on hand.
Lorraine Debri was a blessing to everyone she met. She was never one to worry about the things of this world, rather, her focus was always on the things of above. Life was not always easy for Lorraine, but she faced whatever came her way with both grace and courage. A loving family woman, she devoted her life to loving and serving her loved ones and all who were within her reach. Described as ageless, classy, and meticulous, she will be forever missed.
Lorraine Debri died on February 19, 2016, at 3:03 p.m.
Lorraine C. Debri (Levandoski), aged 93 of Grand Rapids, passed away peacefully at her home surrounded by her loving family on Friday, February 19, 2016. She joins her beloved husband Robert J. Debri and her infant son Robert Michael Debri. She is survived by her children, Karen Ford, Marilyn (Dan) Boyd, Robert (Darlene) Debri, Mary Kay (Robb) Potyraj, Michelle (Perry) Grifka; 17 grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren, three of which coming later this year; her brother-in-law, Jim Debri; special nieces, Mary Ann Beenen and Jeannie McGrath; other nieces, nephews and many friends. Lorraine was a devoted wife, mother, grandmother, great grandmother, sister and a friend to all who knew her. She was our Buszia, who lived faithfully praying for her family, and was very devoted to Mary her Blessed Mother, praying the rosary daily. She was very active at Holy Spirit Parish and volunteered at both St. Ann’s Home and St. Mary’s Hospital. She will be deeply missed and lovingly remembered. The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Tuesday, February 23, 2016 at 11:00 AM at Holy Spirit Catholic Church. Burial in Holy Cross Cemetery. Relatives and friends may meet her family on Monday from 2:00 – 4:00 and 7:00 – 9:00 PM at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home – 2120 Lake Michigan Dr. NW, with the rosary prayed at 7:00 PM. Contributions in her memory may be made to Holy Spirit School Education Foundation. To read more about Lorraine’s life, to leave your own memory of her and to sign her guest book, visit her web page atwww.lifestorynet.com