by John C. Westervelt

My friend Lorraine Atchison died of complications from a blood clot on September 2, 2000. Her memorial service at Asbury was a celebration of one who had truly captured Jesus’ servant spirit. This celebration was different from most in that the honorary pallbearers wore royal blue aprons with artwork of a skillet on the front. A dozen "Sisters of the Skillet" have been committed for several years to serving others by laboring in Asbury’s kitchen. Now there are eleven.

Lorraine’s senior pastor, Tom Harrison, shared words of gratitude for her life, spoken by her four children and eleven grandchildren. He then offered his personal remarks.

"I’d like to make two points about Lorraine’s life. First, she took the simple things in life (cooking, conversation, caring for children) and nurtured them along. Second, Parkinson’s disease slowed her down the last couple of years, but Lorraine didn’t allow her adversity to destroy her. I remember praying with her and Hugh at the altar right after her diagnosis two years ago and watching her respond during this period. She didn’t feel sorry for herself; she didn’t get depressed; she didn’t stop caring for others. She just kept on living her life and dealing with her limitations the best she could. When the world speaks of heroes and heroines, it’s all too easy to overlook the Lorraine Atchison’s of the world. Those of us who knew how she lived when nobody else was watching will proclaim that integrity does make a significant impact upon people. We have been touched by her character. To God be the Glory for the gift of Lorraine Atchison!"

Lorraine’s pastor emeritus, Bill Mason, described her with several scriptures.

He began with Proverbs 31:30, "’Charm can be deceptive and beauty doesn’t last, but a woman who fears and reverences God shall be greatly praised.’

She daily lived Galatians 5:22 – ‘But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.’

She dealt with two years of Parkinson’s disease as in Isaiah 40:31 – ‘Those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.’

She practiced Micah 6:8 – ‘…to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.’"

Her pastors and all who knew Lorraine agreed that she had a special gift of humility. Often at eight o’clock on Sunday morning I have found myself drawn to the Chapel at the back of the sanctuary where I can kneel, pray, and take communion. In recent months, Lorraine was at the church before I arrived to prepare the trays of bread and juice.

For twenty years I played bridge with Lorraine and Hugh once a month with a group of twelve. Whether as my partner or my opponent, she always treated me kindly. Her oldest son described Lorraine to Tom Harrison in three words: "Mom was kind."

All that’s left for family and friends to do is thank God for sending Lorraine our way for the years we had together. I echo our pastor’s words, "To God be the Glory for the gift of Lorraine Atchison!"

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