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1927 Lorraine 2024

Lorraine Mildred Behrs

November 21, 1927 — March 15, 2024

Lorraine Behrs (nee Carlson) was born Nov. 21, 1927 in Nut Mountain, Saskatchewan, Canada and
passed away in Colorado on March 15, 2024 at age 96. She was the daughter of Swedish parents, Nels
and Mildred Carlson, and grew up poor on a farm. Lorraine’s father, Nels, had left Sweden at age 17 on a
cargo ship, later married Mildred, and rented a farm from Mildred’s family. Farm life was a struggle, but
one happy memory Lorraine had of her childhood was her pet squirrel, which contentedly rode in her

When Lorraine was eight, the family was evicted from the farm after Mildred’s brother erupted in anger
over a card game with Nels. In the dead of winter, the family took refuge in a tent while Nels hewed logs
and Mildred melted frozen mud to build a cabin. Nels found work with the Canadian Pacific Railroad
during this time. They later moved to Winnipeg, Manitoba, bought a house, and Mildred became a

At age 12, Lorraine accepted Christ at a Pentecostal church and later led her mother to the Lord. Her
family was a lively musical bunch, including her brother, Howard, who taught himself the accordion. But
her formal introduction into the world of music began at age 13 when a salesman from the Canadian
Institute convinced the Carlsons that Lorraine should take Hawaiian guitar lessons. When she was only
15 yrs. old and in the 10 th grade, the institute lost a teacher to war and asked her if she could teach
there. She completed her commercial high schooling degree during the day, caught the bus after school
to the Institute, then returned home at 10 p.m. to do homework. She enjoyed that job immensely, but
quit after finding out her boss had purloined her original compositions in which she had transposed
popular songs into easier melodies for her students.

When Lorraine was 20, she was asked to play the Hawaiian guitar on French radio CKSB with two
accompanists. She had already had previous experience playing for army shows with her mother. At one
show, one of the enlisted men shouted, “Which one’s the mother?”, a compliment to Mildred’s
youthfulness as mother and daughter were only 17 years apart in age.

Lorraine’s radio career was short-lived. That same year she met Robert Behrs of Milwaukee, Wisconsin
on a fishing trip he took to Ignace, Ontario. One evening, the resort owner approached them saying
there were two American men staying there who wanted to meet some girls. Lorraine, who was 5’8”,
said to her friend, Elsie, “I don’t care what they look like, I get the tallest one. “(Bob Behrs was 6’2”). At
the end of the vacation, they agreed to correspond, and soon became engaged. She always said, “My
husband caught me on a fishing trip.” They had set their wedding date for June of 1949; however, a love
struck Robert said he couldn’t wait that long for Lorraine to marry him, so they moved the date to
December 4, 1948 and were happily married 55 yrs. until Bob passed in 2004.

In Milwaukee, Lorraine was very active at Peace Lutheran Church, serving as librarian, President of the
women’s group, a Bible Study leader, and member of the quilting group. She knit baby sweaters for the
poor, wrote letters to prisoners, and supported children financially overseas. For many years, she sent
presents to a large poor family in Canada who lived in an old schoolhouse. A few years ago, all ten of
those grown siblings came to visit Lorraine in Wisconsin to thank her and treat her, she said, “like
royalty.” In her 70s, she went on a mission trip to Chile and helped build a church.

Her hobbies included knitting, studying the Bible, dancing, bowling, Scrabble, and jigsaw puzzles. She
traveled extensively to many countries including Tahiti, Costa Rica, Jamaica, Mexico, Israel, Switzerland
and Germany. Her favorite trip was to Czechoslovakia, which she found dauntingly beautiful. She was
heartbroken to see it destroyed by conflict.

Lorraine was a country girl at heart. In 1970, she and Bob bought 15 acres of property at Green Lake, WI
with a rustic cabin. Many weekends were spent in the rustic cabin with an outhouse after planting
vegetables and grape vines. She created beautiful gardens with pathways and stayed in shape by pulling
buckthorn and mowing her own lawn. They loved canoeing and in 1991 built a permanent home there
where she lived until 2016. She was an active member of United Methodist Church in Markesan
where she often led Bible Study. Her son, John, then moved her to Grand Junction, CO near him where she
enjoyed her own home until a fall breaking her arm necessitated moving to an assisted living facility.
She adapted gracefully to whatever situation came her way without complaint and was loved by the
staff because she was such a good patient.

Lorraine was predeceased by her parents and her two brothers, Edward (Canada) and Howard (Arizona).
She outlived numerous friends. She will be forever missed by her three children: Jan Behrs (OR), Kathie
Gennrich (David) (AR), and John Behrs (Nancy Janes) (CO), her grandchildren (Angela, Rick, Elise, and
Ryan) and her great grandchildren (Henry, Grace, and Jordan).

There will be no funeral service. A private burial of ashes next to her husband’s grave at Graceland Cemetery
in Milwaukee is planned in April.
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Lorraine Mildred Behrs, please visit our flower store.


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