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Lorrie was born May 26, 1939, in San Jose, California to Ed and Lorretta Garcia. She was the first-born child and the only girl with three brothers; Larry, David, and Danny. In her early childhood, she was surrounded by grandparents, many aunts, uncles and cousins. She spent a lot of her time with her close cousin Billy as well as her mischievous friend Clark. She reveled in fond memories of family, antics and Santa Cruz. She planted willow trees at her Tigard home in remembrance of swinging on the palms at her Grandma Elbert’s home.
While beginning grade school, her family moved to Tigard, Oregon, off the two-lane Hwy 99, with the Tualatin River behind them. She attended St. Anthony's grade school and in1957, graduated from St. Mary's Academy. During this time, her father built additional stucco structures on the site that would become a small diner (currently housing Casa Colima), and other retail businesses over the years. They also spent a great deal of time at their beloved Paradiso Park that housed a giant slide, boat rides, music and dancing on the Tualatin River.
Lorrie loved dancing and the hot rod swaps on Broadway in downtown Portland. It was at one of these social events that Walt (Wally) blocked in a group of girls with his car insisting on getting Lorrie’s number. She did give it to him, thinking he would forget, later learning he had jotted it in the dust on his car. They began dating, at first with her friend in attendance. After several refusals, Lorrie eventually agreed to marriage when Walt mailed her a gift and said, "Wait ‘til I call you!", and waited on phone while Lorrie opened and played the 45, "Why? Because I Love You." Lorrie married Walter Otto on February 6, 1960, at St. Francis Church, in Sherwood, Oregon.
They began their family in a small "home" that really consisted of two rooms. Lorrie and Wally bought their first home off 95th Street, in Tigard. By this time, they had Debbie, Scott and Cindy. Lorrie taught half of the neighborhood (mainly girls) to play piano and swim. It was the gathering place. She helped her children make hundreds of paper flowers and decorate floats for the Tigard Town & Country Days. When it was lunch time, the noon bells rang at the fire station, but at sundown, it was her cow bell that was the signal to come home and go inside.
The neighbors including the Bryants, Aicheles, Henry's, and more, gathered on a regular basis for music, BBQ's, singing and dancing and to establish who was responsible for the new kittens (Piewacket) and puppies, that looked a lot like Bandit and Snoopy. And sometimes, to get their ears pierced! Lorrie was a member of the Carolyn's singing group during this time. The family attended many concerts and listened to the Carolyn’s album at home.
When their oldest became a teen, Lorrie and Wally had a new home built off Cherry Drive in Tigard. She loved this home. It was Spanish styled, with the stucco being done by her father, Wally, and whoever else they could round up. Move in day was just before Christmas. The U-Haul truck with the brand-new white furniture was completely stuck in the mud driveway. It eventually made it into the house with the bright red carpet, and the arches. Family friends, the Aicheles, brought a Christmas tree and Lorrie’s children were allowed on the white furniture for the holiday.
These were the CB years with Lorrie's name being "Undecided." CB breaks and being on the radio were a normal routine. So was the police scanner that she listened to 24/7 as her children got older. The hope was that she would miss any trouble her teens and their friends may have gotten into. Alas, many of our friends would stop by and chat with her, all night long!
Walt was working at a place where he was able to "win" trips based on his sales performance. Boy was Lorrie surprised when he came home one day and said, "Lorrie, we need to get our passports. We are going to London in two weeks!" That was just the beginning, as over the years, they went to Mexico where Lorrie parasailed over and over again - they were using her to advertise! They also went to Greece, Spain, Las Vegas, Austria and Amsterdam. These were trips of a lifetime and her children heard many wonderful stories about each adventure. We must not forget Lorrie’s belly dancing days. Oh, the pictures are priceless! Lorrie’s other favorite travels were to Hawaii with her best friend, Dee Aichele. They happened to be there having a grand time when Lorrie’s granddaughter, Christina, was born! While her family heard the stories of her love of Santa Cruz their entire lives, she did find a new love when she attended the weddings of her daughter Michelle and Josh, as well as her grandson, Bo and Diana, in Ana Maria Island and Treasure Island, Florida. Mom loved the tropical lifestyle including Pina Coladas!
These were also the years of spending every moment possible at Crooked River Ranch where the family had property next to their good friends, the Plemmons family. Lorrie especially loved the sun and got a lot of it at the ranch. Lorrie and friends spent a lot of time climbing over mountains to follow and get pictures of the beautiful Long Horned sheep. This was in between hog roasts over night, trips out on BLM land in “the Beast” and swimming at the rec center. The ranch was always an adventure. Lorrie had the trailer stocked with anything that could possibly be needed. A few years after settling in at Cherry Drive, along came Lorrie’s youngest child, Michelle. She also spent a significant amount of time at the ranch, getting much attention as she was so much younger than the other children. Of course, Michelle always had her favorite sidekick, her beloved dog, Ginger.
Eventually, there were grandchildren who spent a lot of time with their grandmother, sometimes being babysat and sometimes going on crazy adventures with her. From blackberry picking, letting them make a "mini movie,” or taking them downtown to see the visiting president or to a protest. She was never boring! Included in those adventures were Bo, Curt, Christina, Christopher, Cierra, Audrey,
Raistlin, Emerson and Sawyer. Lorrie loved Cierra and Audrey’s visits from Tennessee. She loved telling the story of how Cierra surprised her on her 75th birthday by talking to her on the phone (supposedly from Tennessee) and then walking into her party. Lorrie was heartbroken to lose two grandchildren, Jeremy and Cierra.
In the year 2000, Lorrie gained many more grandchildren when she reconnected with her son, John, whom she had given up for adoption and never stopped longing for. It was a joyous occasion when Lorrie brought John and his wife, Annie, to Debbie's home, on her birthday, for all to meet the first time. There was crying, laughing and many unforgettable stories from that day, including the ones preceding it, and the days that have followed. This brought incredible joy to Lorrie. She now had John, Annie, and grandchildren, Joshua, Ashley, Dylan and Taylor, as well as great-grandchildren.
Lorrie enjoyed her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, attending as many events as her health would allow. This was limited in her later years. She was still surrounded and loved by them all. Hailey, Haven, Owen, Maislyn, Juliette, Zoie, Jesse, Alexis, Julia, David, Michael, and the twins, Robbie and JJ.
After Wally passed away, mom enjoyed time at the American Legion as an auxiliary member and also at the Eagles, where she made many good friends and assisted the treasurer for a few years. Growing up and loving music, she looked forward to her evenings of karaoke and socializing.
In her last months, Lorrie was surrounded by loving family, children, grandchildren and great- grandchildren who helped her with her needs, as well as holding her hand, singing and playing music for her. Each family member will cherish this time with her.
She wanted to live to be a hundred. She got as close as she could at 84, on September 9th. She just was not ready to go and did in fact tell the angels “NO!” on two separate occasions. Her children promised to have the biggest celebration she could imagine on her day, May 26, 2039. Mark your calendars!
There are many more memories, and stories. She will be greatly missed and was greatly loved.
Rosary: Saturday, September 30 12:30 pm St. Anthony’s Church Tigard, Oregon
Funeral Mass: Saturday, September 30 12:30 pm St. Anthony’s Church Tigard, Oregon
Reception to follow: American Legion 8635 SW Scoffins St, Tigard, Oregon.
Bring a karaoke song for mom!
RIP Mom~Lorrie Otto