MONTGOMERY CENTER – It is with a heavy heart that we say goodbye to Lorraine Gillis, who left this world on December 31, 2021 at the age of 91 in her home surrounded by her loving family.
Lorraine was born Lorraine Lila Lumbra to Walter and Matilda Lumbra the youngest of nine children.
She was born at home in Montgomery Center where she made her home for most of 80 years. At the age of 16 she left home to attend Enosburg Falls High School. She worked as a waitress at the Ideal Restaurant in order to pay for her room and board, clothes and books. After graduation, she met the love of her life, Stanley Gillis, although she would tell us she didn’t really like him at first. They married on August 2, 1948 and together they raised nine children, seven daughters and two sons, Stanley and Lorraine were together 60 years until Stanley died on November 4, 2008.
Although her main purpose in life was to make a safe and loving home for her husband and children, she cared for many others including her uncle John who was born with developmental disabilities and lived in her home for many years, while serving as housekeeper/caretaker for Edna and Jim Soden. She was not only an employee of the Soden family she was their lifelong friend and confidante.
Once her children left home, she embarked on a career of her own first becoming the Assistant Town Clerk in Montgomery Center and later being elected to be the Town Clerk at the age of 60! She retired at 65 to enjoy time with Stanley and work alongside him on their little fruit farm. She joined a bowling league, the Montgomery 500 card club, the Red Hat ladies, and at the ripe age of 88 learned to play cribbage so she could play on Monday nights at the Legion with her posse.
Lorraine devoted most of her life to her family and her greatest joy was in spending time with Stanley, her children and grandchildren, the family she worked so hard to create and nurture. If you drove by the Gillis home on a Sunday afternoon you would see a yard full of cars. An invitation was never needed. She hosted many summer barbeques where family would gather to enjoy a picnic lunch and play games or just spend time together.
She was a strong, kind, and loving woman who would listen with her heart and only give advice when asked. She believed in letting her children live their own lives and supported them both emotionally and spiritually through both the good and especially the bad times. Although she had such a large family, Lorraine had a way of making each child, grandchild, great-grandchild and even great-great-grandchild feel special and seen when in her presence.
When she lost Stanley, she moved her home to Enosburgh to be near her family. While she loved and missed him dearly, she also honored him by living her best life traveling to Europe in her 80’s, trips to New Jersey and Idaho, selling the family homestead allowing her to live independently, attending weekly adoration at church, and going to any and all family gatherings and social events in which she was invited.
Her move to Enosburg brought her great joy bringing her closer to her nieces Roberta, Sharon, and great-niece Debbie with whom she formed a special bond. She considered her great-niece Paula her eighth daughter because she loved her so. She was always out gallivanting with them and playing cards on Sundays which was her favorite thing to do. She continued with her Clubs until her body no longer allowed her to. She refused to give in to her age, wanting to “do her exercises” until the very end. She will be remembered with great love, respect, and devotion by her family and many friends.
She was predeceased by her mother and father, her brothers Oscar, Austin, Alan, Arthur, Roy, and Ronald as well as her sisters Martha and Viola and her husband Stanley, and loving daughter-in-law Ginny.
Lorraine leaves behind her children Christine Clapper and husband Michael, Linda St. Cyr and husband Oscar, Suzanne Berkson and husband Sid, Joanne Deaette and husband Gary, John Gillis, Francine Feldhousen and husband Jim, Mary Vaillancourt and husband Pierre, Mark Gillis and wife Ibi, and Jan McAllister and husband Randy together with her 67 grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great great-grandchildren.
Lorraine modeled a life of grace, dignity, laughter, and kindness. She sends her love to all. As she said during her final days “the end of a year…the end of a life”. She is forever in our hearts.
Lorraine’s family will be holding a private Mass of Christian Burial at St. John the Baptist Church. Interment will take place later this year in St. Isidore’s Cemetery in Montgomery Center.
In lieu of flowers please make a donation to Franklin County Home Health Agency, 3 Home Health Circle, St. Albans, VT 05478 or St. John the Baptist Church, P.O. Box 563, Enosburg Falls, VT 05450.