Vail Daily obituary: Lorraine Haslee, 1954-2011
Vail, CO Colorado
Lorraine Mall Haslee, who will be remembered by all whose lives she touched through her strength, benevolence, positive outlook and perseverance, died peacefully in her Minturn home Nov. 30 after a valiant battle with cancer. She was 57.
A memorial service will be at 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 17 in the Vail Mountain School auditorium.
A Colorado native, Lorraine was born May 19, 1954, in Walsenburg to Laura and John Mall. The youngest of seven children, the Mall family also cared for five cousins for 10 years until her mother died while Lorraine was in high school. A 1972 graduate of Walsenburg High School, Lorraine earned a degree in women’s studies at the University of Colorado. While skiing on the slopes of Ski Cooper, she met Fred Haslee, whom she married in 1977. The couple settled in Minturn a few months later.
Lorraine began her career as a librarian in Minturn in 1977, moving to the mid-valley library in Eagle-Vail a decade later. When that facility closed in 1991, Lorraine moved to the library located in the Avon City Market location and then onto the new Avon Library when it was completed. Thirteen years ago, she began her position as librarian at Vail Mountain School, where she worked until a week prior to her death.
“It was important for her to be at school, where she found such strength, joy and enthusiasm for life,” explained her daughter, Laura. “She watched children graduate that she had worked with from kindergarten through their entire school careers, which was a unique part of her job.
“Maggie and I have been so blessed to have a mother who was a mentor, an inspiration, an advocate, a best friend and a sounding board for us.”
Close friend Jody Talbot said that few people knew Lorraine had always wanted to be a sports announcer.
“She had all the ingredients – smart as a whip, undeniably fair, a determination to learn, and the ability to soothe any ruffled feathers with her humor. And that sense of humor – now that was her crowning glory,” Talbot said. “Conversations with Lorraine always included a thoughtful outlook on whatever the subject. That tops a long list of things that I will miss about Lorraine. The second is that she sure knew how to shake a leg.”
Lorraine loved the holidays and captured that spirit by making gifts for her friends, said close friend Valerie Wegert. She lived her life with a sense of humor, grace and humility, focusing not so much on what she did, but how she did it.
“Lorraine’s greatest attributes were her kindness and compassion for people,” Wegert said. “She had a wonderful sense of community, finding opportunities to make the lives of those around her better and challenging her family and friends to pay it forward. She encouraged everyone around her, knowing instinctively if you needed a hand, an ear to listen, or a shoulder to cry on.”
Lorraine generously gave her time and energy, leaving her imprint on numerous local organizations including: board member of Eagle Valley Community Fund Rummage Sale; a founder and board member of Swift Eagle Charitable Foundation; the Literacy Project’s Spellabration; The Salvation Army’s Adopt-a-Family project; Shaw Cancer Center volunteer; Little League volunteer umpire; the CERT Community Emergency Response Team and the American Red Cross, where she began volunteer training.
In addition, she was a powerful force within her hometown of Minturn. There she volunteered for Minturn Community Day Cleanup; Minturn Youth Center; Minturn Senior Nutrition Center, fundraising chair for Minturn Medical Center; coordinator for Minturn Crafts Fair; Minturn July 4 celebration; served on the Home Rule Study Committee and secretary of the Home Rule Charter Commission; secretary-treasurer of Minturn Fire Department; served on the Minturn Planning and Zoning Board; and was chairperson for two years and was appointed to the Minturn Town Council, where she served almost two years.
“Lorraine helped create and strengthen the fabric of every community she touched,” said Ben Talbot, a classmate of Lorraine’s daughter Laura. “She would want us to follow her lead and help others in whatever way we can.”
An avid water skier, Lorraine also enjoyed hiking, snowshoeing and any activity with her family.
In addition to her husband, she is survived by daughters Laura Haslee (fiance Paul Goncalves) of Glendale, Ariz., and Maggie Haslee Connor (Sean) of Bellingham, Mass.; brothers Tom Mall of Roanoke, Va., and Louis Mall of Westport, Conn.; sisters Tess Mullarkey of Locust Valley, N.Y., Jeanette Mall of New York and Kathy Russell of Brick, N.J.; 17 nieces and nephews; and 10 great nieces and nephews. She is predeceased by sister Clara Donohoe.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial contributions be made in Lorraine Haslee’s memory to either Home Care and Hospice of the Valley, PO Box 1474, Edwards, CO 81632 or to the Lorraine Mall Haslee Scholarship Fund through Swift Eagle Charitable Foundation, PO Box 1977, Avon, CO 81620.