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Lorraine Yvonne Bigelow Melcher was born on July 1, 1927, in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  She was third of seven children of her parents Lucille and Laurence Bigelow.  They lived at 55th and Lyndale in Minneapolis, walking distance to Annunciation Grade School, which Lorraine and her siblings attended.  After a year of public high school, Lorraine chose to attend Holy Angels High School in Richfield, working as a grocery clerk to help pay tuition, paving the way for her younger sisters.

Lorraine attended the College of St Catherine in St. Paul, Minnesota, pursuing a bachelor’s degree in psychology and sociology.  She met a tall young mechanical engineer, Bob Melcher, in the winter of her junior year.  She thought he didn’t like her company because she didn’t hear from him for weeks after their first meeting.  On Easter Sunday, he phoned the Bigelow house and asked Lorraine out again, explaining that he hadn’t called in the interim because he didn’t think she was the kind of girl who dates during Lent.  During her senior year, Bob proposed marriage.  Lorraine said “yes, but first, I need to complete my St Catherine’s degree.”  A week after graduation, they were married, June 11, 1949.

In 1950, while living in an apartment, their first child, John, was born.  Soon afterward, they moved to their home on Hankerson Avenue in Edina.  There, their family grew, with Kathy, Mary Kay, Greg, Anne, Steve, and Jim.  Meanwhile, Bob and his friends Wayne Riethmiller, Ralph Eisele and Clarence Berthiaume, founded Tri-State Drilling Company in Hamel.  Lorraine and Bob decided to move the family to a larger house in a smaller town, Buffalo, where Charlie and Rich were born.  That completed the family – 9 children.  Lorraine and Bob passed onto these nine children the values of faith in God, education, family, and generosity to others.

Surrounded by her children, Lorraine was a woman of projects–for the family, for the church, for the community, for the world.  She did many large and small things with great love.  Lorraine touched the lives of many children and families by serving on the school board.  She wove her value of faith into years of teaching religion to young people.  She opened her home to gatherings of her children’s friends, many of whom still recall these gatherings fondly. At St. Francis Parish, Lorraine started a ministry of making bedrolls for homeless people in Minneapolis.  She gathered toiletries to stuff into each bedroll with warm socks, undershirts, and, in the winter, mittens and hats. Her constant question was, “who can I share this with?”  Whether it was clothing from a 2nd hand store, recordings of retreats and workshops, or spiritual books she had discovered, Lorraine always asked the question “Who can I share this with?”  Lorraine’s trademark smile and lively eyes confirmed the depth of her love, and her ability to laugh at herself.

Lorraine was born into eternal life on October 18, 2021.  She is survived by her children John (Liz) Melcher, Kathy (Randy) Mummert, Mary Kay Mans, Greg (Kelle) Melcher, Anne (Jim Dyrud) Leuthner, Steve (Mary) Melcher, Jim (Ruth) Melcher, Charlie (Karen) Melcher, Rich (Sandra) Melcher; twenty grandchildren, and ten great grandchildren.  She is also survived by her sisters Mary and Rose and many nieces and nephews.

Lorraine is preceded in death on Easter 2019 by Bob, her husband of 69 years, her parents Larry and Lucille, her brothers Donald and John, her sisters Pat and Ann, her son-in-law Tom (Mary Kay), and grandson Jesse.

Visitation will be held Monday, October 25, 2021 from 4:00 – 8:00 PM at The Peterson Chapel in Buffalo, MN.

Mass of Christian Burial will take place Tuesday, October 26, 2021 at 11:00 AM with visitation one hour prior at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Buffalo, MN. Interment to follow at St. Francis Xavier Cemetery in Buffalo, MN.

The service will be livestreamed and recorded. Viewers can access the service by clicking the link:

Memorials in lieu of flowers to: TBD

17 Guestbook Entries

  1. Doug & Patty Klersy

    Our condolences go out to the Melcher family for their loss

  2. Louise and John McNamara

    With sympathy, Louise and John McNamara

  3. Shelly Daly-Weingartner

    Praying for the family. Best wishes, Shelly and Gregg Weingartner

  4. Mary Margaret Pedersen

    A one-of-a-kind, unforgettable human who touched countless lives.

  5. Amy Kautzsch

    Lifting the family up in prayer, Brian and Amy (DiNovis) Kautzsch

  6. Gail Kirkwood

    What a loving and giving mother you had. I am so happy you had her in your life and know she will always be a part of you.

  7. Carol Jane Lindberg

    Our deepest sympathy to the Melcher family. John and Carol Lindberg

  8. Barbara Bliss

    Holding you all in my thoughts and prayers. May your beloved and beautiful mom rest in heavenly peace.

  9. Rich and Mary Ann Sarvie

    Our most heartfelt sympathy to the family. You may have lost a loved one but gained another angel. We lost a dear friend and neighbor of 52 years.

  10. Patty and Steve Miller

    A special lady! Many shared the blessings of knowing Lorraine. Share her love with others.

  11. Regina Heaney Egan (Ireland)

    Sincere sympathy to all the Melcher & extended families on your very sad loss.You are all in our thoughts and prayers at this sad time.May Lorraine rest in peace.

  12. Brendan & Teresa Heaney

    Our deepest sympathy to the Melcher family. Brendan & Teresa Heaney Ireland.

  13. Mary Heaney (Ireland)

    Sincere sympathy to all the Melcher & extended families on the loss of Lorraine.May she rest in peace.You are all in my thoughts and prayers at this sad time.

  14. John St. Peter

    Brother Steve, GOD BLESS AND BRING
    HIS LOVING COMFORT AND PEACE to you, Mary and all of Family MELCHER.
    The time is Never right to lose our
    MOMS. LORRAINE has finally joined the
    ever Greater Cloud of Witnesses that
    Rejoice with her and anticipate our arrival. MERCIFUL GOD BE PRAISED

  15. John Anthony & Mary Ellen Heaney

    Deepest sympathy to the Melcher and extended family at the sad passing of Lorraine. May her gentle soul rest in peace

  16. Jennifer Barrett

    Love and Peace to your whole family

  17. Jamie (Marschel) Unger

    Lorraine was a wonderful woman whose love certainly has had an impact on my life, as she was my Confirmation sponsor.

    What a life, and what a legacy.


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