STAR LAKE -- Lorraine Ida Coombs Laurin passed away peacefully at Clifton-Fine Hospital on Saturday November 26, 2022. She was 80 years old and lived a full life. She was loved and admired by many family, friends and colleagues.
Lorraine was born November 2, 1942 in St. Johnsbury, Vermont to the late Howard and Norene (Jones) Coombs. At that time two siblings had predeceased her, and her only living brother, Donald, was 20 years older. It is said that he got news while in the Navy that his mother was having another baby and was quite embarrassed. When Don married in 1955, his lovely wife Dottie became a very special woman in Lorraine’s life and their three children, Lynn, Kenny and Diane thought of her as a special Aunt, almost like a sister. Of the Coombs family Lorraine is survived by niece Lynn (Root) and nephew Kenny.
Lorraine graduated from St. Johnsbury Academy in 1961 and went on to nurse’s training at Mary Fletcher Nursing School (now Vermont Medical Center), graduating as an RN in 1963. Lorraine worked as an RN in a clinic and one day in 1964 Richard Laurin walked in the door for a physical. They had a whirlwind romance and were married forty-four days later, on September 25, 1964 and were in a loving marriage for 58 years.
They made their home in Star Lake, NY and anticipated having a large family. The family began in 1965 with the arrival of Christopher John, then Michelle Marie in 1967, and Matthew James in 1969-who sadly lived only one day. They were not able to have any more children but still longed for a larger family. Thanks to the wonders of adoption, and with the help of Catholic Charities, the family grew to include James Alfred in 1970 and Kelley Raine in 1973.
Then, through a chance meeting with a Catholic Missionary to Peru, South America, the adoptions continued; Pompeyo (b. 1963) joined the family at age 11; Manuel (b. 1968) joined at age 12. And then in May of 1980 Lorraine took Christopher and Michelle to Peru for the adoption of two infants. They were named Chasqa Nusta and John Paul. This was truly a wonderful and life changing event for the family. The babies were precocious and joyful and completed the family perfectly. Sadly, John Paul passed away unexpectedly in February of this year.
Lorraine was an exceptionally compassionate and selfless person. She was of high moral character who believed in hard work and gave everything she had in all that she did. Lorraine dedicated her life to helping others and any barriers to success were seen as challenges not yet overcome.
Lorraine began her career as an RN at Gouverneur then Clifton-Fine Hospital, then stayed home to raise her children. In 1975 she was recruited as a Home Service Director for the newly created United Cerebral Palsy Association of New York, Inc., St. Lawrence County Division. She provided in-home and clinical services to individuals with disabilities, initially cerebral palsy, and then expanding to other developmental disabilities. Soon thereafter she became Executive Director and UCPA grew to include not only Clinical services but also, Physical Therapy, Dental, Primary Care, Orthopedic Clinics, Case Management and Residential Services. From a one room, one woman show in 1975, today the agency is known as Cerebral Palsy of the North Country and Community Health Center of the North Country and is a major employer in St. Lawrence, Franklin and Jefferson Counties.
Lorraine retired in 2000 after a robust and successful career. Lorraine was encouraged and supported at ‘CP’ by many wonderful people including, but not limited to, Doris Chenier, Kate Mulkin, Barb teRiele, Anne Richey, Gail Kelly, Ronnie Spiridakis, Shelli Prespare-Weston, Linda Chase and the late Teresa Smith and many more from voluntary and state organizations alike; please forgive us if we forgot someone who was pivotal in her working life.
While working and raising a growing family Lorraine also completed her bachelor’s degree and volunteered for the Clifton-Fine Central School Committee on Special Education, St. Lawrence County United Way and St. Hubert’s Church Altar Rosary. During retirement she actively participated on the Clifton-Fine Economic Development Committee and Clifton-Fine Hospital Board of Directors.
Lorraine’s favorite past times were enjoying her home on the lake, vacationing to the ocean, reading, crafting with her grand-daughter, Diamond, and growing spectacular flower gardens. She was active with all her grandchildren, dedicated to supporting all her children in raising their children with compassion, patience and at times, much needed tough love.
Today Lorraine and Richard’s surviving children and families are as follows:
Pompeyo Laurin and companion, Carol Durham (Lexington, SC).
Christopher and spouse, Bridgette Laurin (Spring, TX); children, Rosemary Grace and Matthew John.
Michelle and spouse, Rick Rusaw (Star Lake, NY); children, Jordan Matthew, Marissa Theresa and Nathan Charles; and grandchildren, Adam Lee, Charlotte Ann, Margo Lianna and Aaron Paul.
Manuel Laurin (Rensselaer, NY)
James Laurin (St. Petersburg, FL)
Kelley Laurin and companion, Ron Whitney (Star Lake, NY); children, Brianna Raine and Emily Lynn (Davis) and son-in-law, Henry Davis.
Chasqa Laurin (Mobile AL); children, Diamond Denise, Tyshawn Alfred, John Lee and Jessica Nichola.
Arrangements are in the trusted hands of French’s Family Funeral Home. The calling hours will be at French’s Funeral Home 4159 Route 3 Star Lake, Thursday December 1st from 1pm-3pm and 6pm-8pm. The funeral will be at St. Hubert’s Catholic Church 1046 Oswegatchie Trail Road Star Lake, Friday December 2nd at 2pm. A spring burial will be scheduled later for May 2023. Condolences may be shared online at www.frenchfuneralhomes.com.
Following the funeral on Friday we will be gathering at the Star Lake Fire Hall, 4187 Route 3 Star Lake. Please join us for great food and time with friends and family to share stories and memories of Lorraine and her family.
Donations can be made in Lorraine’s name to Star Lake Fire and Rescue, Clifton-Fine Hospital (Star Lake) and Cerebral Palsy Association of the North Country (Canton, NY).