Lorraine May de Smet (Prevelige) was born in May, 1928. She grew up in Passaic County, New Jersey surrounded by relatives and loved ones. She was the second child of Peter and Mary (Lovas) Prevelige. She was especially close with her uncles, her cousin Jane, and her aunt Anne Lovas. She enjoyed playing Canasta and other card games with Anne and the family on weekends. Lorraine started school early with her brother Peter and graduated high school with the class of 1944 at the age of 16. She later attended Berkley Secretarial School. Lorraine married her husband, Louis, in 1952 and they enjoyed a honeymoon at Virginia Beach. She was adored by her husband and they had four daughters together, Mary, Jean, Carolyn, and Allise. She was a stay at home mom initially and then went back to continue her career as a secretary (for a lawyer and other corporations). For years, she volunteered her skills as secretary for the Pen and Brush Art Club and the Art Centre of New Jersey at the Riker Hill Art Park.
Some of Lorraine's passions included a love of animals, reading mysteries, art, fashion, the Catholic faith, and nature. She often spoke of her childhood pet dog. She always had a small lap dog that she could spoil and sneak treats to. Lorraine had a small collection of various safari animals displayed in her living room and her backyard became a sort of animal sanctuary where she and her husband took care of wild cats and birds. All kinds of animals enjoyed visiting including coyotes, deer, foxes, turkey buzzards, etc.
Her first international trip was on the S.S. President Polk cruise to Havana, Cuba with her friend Joan Roxburgh in April 1949. She had a photo album that she cherished which included a Western Union telegram from her cousin Jane wishing her the best, a note from the captain inviting her to a cocktail hour, and a newspaper clipping mentioning her trip. She also traveled to many places in the U.S. such as Florida, California, Yellowstone National Park, Maine, Virginia, Colorado, and Alabama. Other international trips included Germany, Austria, Mexico, Italy, and Switzerland. Family vacations often included the Jersey Shore and Maine. For a few summers in a row, Lorraine rented a house from a friend in Five Islands, Maine. She loved stopping by the nearby lobster shack to get her favorite lobster sandwich and she even made a special painting of the view of the ocean touching the backyard.
Some of her adventurous vacations included Colorado and the Bahamas. While visiting her eldest daughter in Denver, CO, they made a 5 person family road trip squished in a station wagon to Aspen, The Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, and the National Arches Park. They slept in the station wagon at a camp ground along their way. When they passed by the Four Corners, she made sure to purchase her favorite turquoise/silver jewelry. She also spent a month in the Bahamas where she learned to drive a stick shift while driving her children in a jeep around the island.
Lorraine always had an appreciation for beauty and showed that through her love of fashion and art. She started painting in her early 50s and had many accomplishments listed in the art bio below. She enjoyed fashion magazines and always knew what the color of the season was. She enjoyed baking special desserts such as cherry cobbler and homemade birthday cakes for her children. Her seat at the table was always close to the kitchen so she was the first to grab anything for anyone in need at Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. In her spare time, she enjoyed searching for special presents to give on holidays to her family and friends. You could tell she put a lot of thought into her gifts and they were personalized just for you. She also was an amazing gift wrapper so much so that people assumed she paid to have them gift wrapped by a professional. Lorraine always enjoyed decorating extensively for the holidays. Her house was always warm and welcoming.
She was very close with her family and friends-always showing interest in others in their lives, asking how they were doing with true care. When her daughter got divorced and went to graduate school, Lorraine helped support and raise her granddaughter Kelliann. They developed a close relationship and both enjoyed shopping and reading together. Fond memories include decorating at Christmas, long talks on the phone, and picking their favorites from fashion magazines. When Kelliann joined the Catholic faith, she had Lorraine as her Godmother. She always spoke about her love of her family including her daughters, granddaughters, and great grandchildren. Lorraine is survived by her husband Louis de Smet, her brother Peter Prevelige, daughters Jean (Bob Hackemack), Carolyn, Allise (John Siemienowicz) and three granddaughters- Jackie (nee Elizabeth Jacqueline Dwulet and Elliot) Miller, Kelliann (Blake) Douglas, and Kathryn (Dean Corriveau) Dwulet, and three great grandchildren (Nicholas, Harrison, and Jamison). She is predeceased by her daughter Mary.
Lorraine battled health issues throughout her life including TB, Leukemia, and Breast Cancer. Before her passing, she enjoyed cuddling on the couch with her dog Shalee, looking at photos of family, and speaking on the phone with family members near and far who now miss her dearly. She passed peacefully in October 2021 surrounded by family virtually and in-person.
A mass will be held for Lorraine and Louis at the St. Thomas More Church, 12 Hollywood Avenue, Fairfield, N.J. on September 23, 2023 at 10 AM. Arrangements are under direct care of Gaita Memorial Home in Little Falls, NJ .In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (www.bcrf.org ) or the charity of your choosing.
Art Bio of Lorraine de Smet
The artist began her studies at the art Students League in NYC with the late Isaac Soyer, Harvey Dinnerstein, David Leffel, and Richard Goetz.
The artist has received more than 75 awards including the Solo Show Award, Grumbacher Award, and the Pen and Brush Award at the Pen and Brush Club in NYC. Her exhibits include Studio Main Street Gallery in L.I., the Pen & Brush Club in NYC, as well as numerous banks, libraries, hospitals and clubs. Group exhibitions include the Art Gallery in Corning, NY, the Paper Mill Playhouse, NJ, and the US Coast Guard on Governor's Island. The artist has exhibited widely in national juried shows at the National Arts Club, Salmagundi club, the Hudson Valley Art Association in NY, and the New Britain Museum of Art in CT. Juried exhibitions in NJ have included Caldwell College, Ridgewood Art Institute, Carrier Foundation, Seton Hall University, and others. She has received an award for Best Still Life and the Caldwell Progress Award at the Caldwell College as well as awards from the Ringwood Manor Art Association, the Art Centre of New Jersey, and the Livingston Art Association. In a period of a few years she had won Best in Show or First Prize awards more than 6 times.
The artist was a member of the NY and NJ Chapters of the American Artists Professional League, the U.S. Coast Guard Artists, and a life member of the Art Students League in NYC. She is listed in the 19th and 20th editions of Who's Who in American Art and the Millennium editions of Who's Who in America, Who's Who in American Women and Who's Who in the World. Her paintings are in the collections of the U.S. Coast Guard, the University of Connecticut Health Center, Union Trust Bank, CT, and in private collections throughout the northeast. Her work also appeared on the Ocean County Observer and in the Trenton Museums' Best of the Best exhibition.