Teacher, music and nature lover, family matriarch, upholder of family ties. Born April 26, 1909, in Fernie, B.C. Died Jan. 12, 2012, in Victoria of old age, at 102.
Lorraine Macey was born in Fernie, B.C., at a time when this small coal and railway town in the Rockies was just recovering from being largely destroyed by a forest fire the year before. She was the youngest of three children of Rev. Hugh Grant, the Presbyterian minister in Fernie, and Mabel (Langille).
While she was born in southeastern B.C., Lorraine spent her formative years in the province’s northwest. Her father led the Presbyterian congregation in Prince Rupert from 1914 until 1925. It was always a place of fond memories for her, especially the times she spent with her father at a “camp” he had built near Terrace. Here she became attuned to nature and became an environmentalist before her time. A patch of the most commonplace wildflower blossoms would grab her attention and her emotions.
Not far removed from her love of nature was a love for classical music. She began studying piano as a child, and in her teenage years studied singing. A piano, sheet music and a record player were always fixtures in her home. A teacher by nature, she strived to pass on her passion for music to those around her.
In 1925, Lorraine moved with her father, mother and brother to Fort William, Ont., where her father served the Presbyterian congregation. Probably reflecting the vagabond life her parents had led, Lorraine was not shy about moving on to new places. In 1926, she left home to attend the University of Manitoba, graduating in 1930 with a degree in home economics. She made lifelong friendships with classmates. Known as the Manitoba Group, they kept up social connections for many years.
After university, Lorraine was off to a hospital in Chicago to train as a dietitian. Although this was not to be her career path, she expanded her life experiences in the city at the time of Prohibition, speakeasies and Al Capone.
Leaving Chicago behind, she undertook teacher training at the University of Toronto and, in 1933, started her career as a home economics teacher. This took her back to British Columbia, first to Powell River, then Ocean Falls. Here she met Ted Macey, a projectionist and powerhouse electrician. They married in 1941 and moved to Vancouver, where they raised two children, Anne and Leslie.
Lorraine returned to teaching home economics in 1955. Following their retirements, she and Ted stayed in the home they had owned since 1945. When they were in their 80s, they moved to an apartment, then to a retirement home in Victoria. After Ted died in 1995, Lorraine stayed socially active at the home, especially around the bridge table.
She lived in an extended care home until almost 103. Always the perfectionist, she insisted that everything be done to her standards. At the same time, Lorraine always doled out love and appreciation to those caring for her.
By Les Macey and Anne Richardson, Lorraine’s children.