Shortly after Solstice, with snow blanketing the earth, Lorraine Henrietta (Arnston) Smith passed away peacefully on December 23, 2020.
Lorraine was born in the bedroom of her family’s farmhouse in Fairview, MT, on March 30, 1929. She was the youngest of six children of Norwegian parents who ran a small dairy farm and raised sugar beets. Her years spent as a young girl were idyllic, growing up in an interwoven community largely comprised of immigrants. The strong ties to Lorraine’s Nordic heritage were a connection that remained with her throughout her lifetime and were passed on to her children. Making lefse continues to be a family tradition!
While in nursing school at Holy Cross Hospital in SLC, Utah, Lorraine was introduced to a handsome Canadian engineer by her sister. She ultimately left school and married the love of her life, William H. Smith, on June 29, 1949. It was the perfect choice. Bill worked for Texaco in SLC for a number of years before they were transferred to Butte, MT, in 1960. Lorraine broke down into tears at the news, yet Butte proved to be the perfect place to live and raise a family. Lifelong friendships were quickly made and a supportive “old-fashioned” neighborhood provided the foundation for an enriched and fulfilling life. The couple had three children and carved out an ideal niche for them, enjoying life under Montana’s glorious Big Sky. Years were spent as a tight-knit family camping, hiking, fishing, hunting, skating, skiing and traveling. Appreciation for nature and the creatures within were key.
Lorraine was fun-loving, capable, energetic and creative. She was a loyal friend, loved people, and had a keen memory for details. Many folks emphatically referred to Lorraine as a “great gal.” She was a lifelong member of Gloria Dei Lutheran Church and was active in many organizations throughout her life. Lorraine was proud to be honored as a 50-year member of PEO, a philanthropic organization dedicated to the advancement of young women.
Following Bill’s retirement, the couple traveled the United States and Canada in an RV over a number of years – from Key West to Nova Scotia. They particularly enjoyed the red rock country of southern Utah and Arizona. Summers were spent with children and grandchildren in the Montana outdoors. Their lives were blessed with abundance. Lorraine stayed in the family home after her husband passed in 2009, and ultimately transitioned to the Springs of Butte.
Lorraine is survived by her sister, Ruby Miller, of Portland; daughter Jolene (Steve) Lehman of Billings; daughter Rebecca (Brian Guttermuth) of Missoula; and son Rob (Mary Ann) Smith of Butte. She was blessed with nine adoring grandchildren – Megan, Heidi, Cara & Travis (Lehman); Lindsay (Guttermuth); Trisha, Tasha, Craig & Dylan (Smith) and eleven great-grandchildren, with two more on the way. Lorraine often commented that when one person leaves this earth, another arrives to take their place. So true!
If desired, memorials may be pledged to Shriners Hospital, the Montana Tech Foundation, or a charity of one’s choice. Cremation has taken place and no services are planned, per Lorraine’s wishes.
Lorraine was an extraordinary mother, grandmother and friend to many. Sincerest thanks to those who supported her and helped with her care during her last years. We will sorely miss Lorraine’s smile and presence in our lives but her bright spirit will live within us forever.
Our family’s hearts go out to people around the globe who have also lost loved ones to Covid-19. We pray that peace will find its way to all of us in 2021.
Please visit below to offer a condolence or share a memory of Lorraine.
Axelson Funeral and Cremation Services has been privileged to care for Lorraine and her family.
Read the thoughts and memories, then feel free to add your own.
Nadia Crawford says
Your smile could light up the room. You will be missed a lot. Smile and be free dear friend.
Theresa O’Neill Dennehy says
I have great memories of Lorraine growing up and her dogs- Otis. Bless you all. Enjoy the memories of such a sweet lady.
Don and Mary Ann Phillip says
We didn’t know your mother but after reading her obituary, she made a difference in the lives of those who knew her. Our deepest condolences go out to you, Mary Ann, and your family.
Janet Wheeler says
My deepest sympathies on the loss of your Mom. She is a PEO sister in Chapter G and she was always concerned about all of us. God bless. “May the angels come to greet her”.
Sallie & Joe Morris says
Sallie & Joe Morris says
Lorraine and Bill were great friends Lorraine and Sallie were in Chapter G, P.E.O. and Bill and Joe shared Bagdad Shrine many fond memories. She will be missed. We send our condolances to the family. Gods speed Lorraine.
Dave and Darcy Robertson says
Our deepest sympathy to Lorraine‘s family. We have great memories of Lorraine and her sharp mind and spunk. She will be missed by so many!
Mike O’Neill says
Jolene, Becky, Rob, and family,
We were very saddened to learn of your mom’s passing. What a great life she had, and I know that she was very proud of ALL of her family. Condolences to you all until we can pay our respects to you in person when the environment allows.
Mike and Karen O’Neill
Scott and Janet Baker says
Our father, Hank Baker, and mother, Betty, lived across the street from your family home in Butte! Our dads both worked for Texaco in Butte and our moms were in PEO together. We were saddened to learn of your mom’s recent passing and also your dad’s in 2009. Our father passed away in 1993 and mom passed away in 2006. We will always remember the three Smith ‘kids’ and your wonderful parents! Your mother’s smile and laugh were so contagious. Blessings to all of you. Scott and Janet Baker
Pepper Miles says
We were privileged to meet Lorraine when Don worked with Bill at MSE several years ago. She was a delightful lady and a fabulous cook who entertained with style. Our deepest sympathy to her family, all of whom she spoke with so much affection.
Don and Pepper Miles
Linda Whindom says
RIP my dear friend and neighbor! You will be missed!
John Fagan says
We just loved Lorraine and Bill. Just the best people one could know. Lorraine and I (John) had eye surgery (cataract) at same time so both of us marveled at seeing the Lady of the Rockies so clearly. We will always miss Lorraine and Bill. Marian and John Fagan.
Dear Jolene and family
We were saddened to learn of your mother death. I remember her when she was in Billings attending a P.E.O . convention some years back. What a delightful person she was. Always a smile for everyone and enjoying her P.E.O.
sisters from all over Montana. Our prayers and thoughts are with you all at this most difficult time.
In sisterly love,
Gregory Halverson says
Dear Becky and your entire family. I am so sad to hear of your mothers passing. She must have been a great mother because her daughter that I know, Becky, is one of the most talented, friendly, outgoing and fun loving spirit. I hope you have many fond memories that will get you through these dark days. Covid WILL end and life will begin again with a new Administration and new hope for America and the world.
May God bless you and your family,
With best wishes,