Oskaloosa, Iowa - Loving mother to Jim, Joanne, Jon, Susan, and Barbara, doting grandmother to Katie, Michael, Julie, Kim, Jessica, Marc, and Andrew, and extremely proud great-grandmother, to Tanner, Mason, Taylor, Madden, Landry, Kenji, Ishaan, Oliver, Alice, Sal, and Myles, all of whom will carry on her legacy of kindness, selfless service and cheerfulness.
Lucille Ion Lorence was born on March 7, 1924, to her parents Dwight Harold Mateer and Inez Irene Awtry, at home in rural Mahaska County, Iowa. She spent most of her life in Oskaloosa and, after high school, met and married Vern Lorence, who predeceased her in 1995. She loved history, particularly the Civil War, and claimed to know not only everyone who lived in Mahaska County but most people who ever drove through the county. Lucy always worked outside the home, sometimes holding two or three jobs, and championed working mothers. Despite a heavy work schedule, she was very involved in P.T.A., Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, and raising money for the debate team. She rarely missed her children's instrumental and vocal music concerts, plays, piano recitals, dance recitals, little league games, and football games. She loved attending her grandchildren's softball games, track meets, tennis matches, and cross country meets. She was a SuperFan! No matter what her family did, she was there to stand and applaud. In fact, one of the greatest gifts she gave her children was encouragement. Academic education was a huge priority because she never had the opportunity to go to college. Her mantra was, "Set sky-high goals, work your tail off, and you can do anything." Her children paid attention and became a University Professor, Attorney, Engineer, Teacher, and Business Manager.
In some ways, Lucy was ahead of her time. She invented Meals on Wheels long before it had a name. She was a great cook and delivered food to people all over Oskaloosa who were needy or were elderly and could no longer drive. She made it very clear that every person deserved our kindness and respect, no matter their station in life, even when her whining children were commandeered to help with the deliveries. She also seemed to have an antenna that lit her up when someone was being treated unfairly. It incensed her, and she was a formidable advocate for them and their cause. We call that social justice now.
Lastly, one of Lucy's unforgettable characteristics was her colorful style. She was always dressed to the nines with matching shoes, purses (gloves sometimes), hats, and jewelry. She had beautifully coiffed lush white hair often topped off with a hat and her signature bright red lipstick. Her shoes, hats, and jewelry are legendary. She was a vision. She even got 'dressed up' when she went out to mow the lawn. She was a classy lady.
She was a caregiver for years and years to her mother, husband, and brother Harold (all of whom predeceased her.) She cared for her friends, as well, and drove them everywhere, picked up their prescriptions, and brought them groceries, never wanting any recognition for it. She led a purposeful fun-filled life, and it brought her great happiness. The philosopher Montaigne said that the surest sign of wisdom is constant cheerfulness. Lucy was always cheerful and made it her mission to remember a person's name and find something kind to say to them. She was spunky, outspoken, patriotic, and an eternal optimist but even she was no match for Covid. She died on November 18, 2020, at the age of 96, at Heritage House in Atlantic, Iowa.
Lucy's family includes her children: Jim (Lynne) Lorence of Ankeny, Iowa, Joanne "Jody" (John Otto) Lorence of Atlantic, Iowa, Jon (Tanya) Lorence of Houston, TX, step-daughters: Barbara Anderson of Lakeland, Florida, and Susan Lorence of West De Moines, Iowa; grandchildren: Julie (Rakesh) Kumar of Champagne, Ill, Kim (Wesley) Arunsiripate of Ames, Iowa, Marc (Sarah) Lorence of Des Moines, Iowa, Jessica (Will Zellweger) Otto of Washington D.C., Andrew (Muriel) Otto of Milwaukee, Wisconsin; step-grandchildren: Michael Anderson of Lakeland, Florida, and Katie (Kevin) Hamer of Lakeland, Florida; great-grandchildren: Tanner, Mason and Taylor Hamer, Ishaan Kumar, Madden and Landry Kane, Kenji Arunsiripate, Myles Lorence, Oliver Zellweger, and Alice and Sal Otto.
There will be a public visitation for her at Langkamp Funeral Home in Oskaloosa, Iowa, on Tuesday, November 24, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; due to COVID-19 precautions, the family will not be present. A private family burial will be held on November 25 at Forest Cemetery. When it is finally safe to travel, the family plans to have a memorial for her to share stories and celebrate her life. Until then, take care of yourselves and those you love. Memorial gifts can be made in Lucy's name to the charity of the donor's choice