Lorraine Welsh

In Memory of Lorraine Welsh (1928-2011)

LORRAINE WELSH, FORMER NCGR Journal Editor and Publications Director, passed away on March 4, 2011. After celebrating her 80th birthday in August 2008 with a party that was attended by many of her friends and astrological colleagues (including Ken Irving, Madalyn Hillis-Dineen, Doug Dineen, Alphee Lavoie, Priscilla Costello, Arlene Nimark, Joyce Levine and myself), Lorraine left Needham MA, her longtime home, and moved to Brazil, where she lived until her death with her friend Nely Borges and her family, whom she adopted as her own.

Lorraine was born in Brooklyn NY but moved to Needham MA as a teenager, where she lived until her move to Brazil. She received her B.A. in Journalism from Boston University and worked as Director of Publications for the Boston Museum of Science for more than 20 years. After her husband Larry passed away in 1990, followed by her retirement in 1991, Lorraine was able to devote more time to her passions which, in addition to writing, included history and astrology.

Lorraine was active in the Needham Historical Society, even serving as its President, and she continued to write her "Chronicles" column for the Needham Times. She once told me that she loved writing that column because it gave her a chance to combine everyday observations with tidbits about the history of Needham. Lorraine devoted much of her time to astrology, as well as her many interests. Although Lorraine was extraordinarily knowledgeable about astrology, having subscribed to every magazine and journal, as well as purchasing and reading almost every astrology book that appeared (I know since I saw her library), she never wanted to do readings, and only lectured at NCGR conferences, where she combined astrology and history.

Still her contribution to the astrological community was enormous, and she served NCGR and AFAN in a variety of capacities, bringing her journalistic skills, exacting eye, and moral compass to bear on her board positions and the publications that she edited.

In an article that Madalyn Hillis- Dineen wrote for the memberletter in which she paid tribute to Helen Huber, Mary Downing, and Lorraine, who all stepped down from the NCGR Board at the same time, she described Lorraine's work for NCGR.

Lorraine joined the NCGR Boston Chapter in 1980, edited their newsletter for 16 years, and she served as Vice President. She founded "The Astrologers' Newsletter" in Boston, which was once the news organ for three groups: New England Astrological Association, the Star Rovers, and NCGR. When NCGR became the only remaining group, they retained the newsletter as their own. Lorraine became a member of the NCGR Advisory Board in 1993 and, shortly thereafter, was named Editor of the NCGR Journal. She was twice elected a Director-in 1995 and in 1998.

She edited the NCGR textbook, "Essentials of Intermediate Astrology" and wrote the lead article on transits. She wrote the astrological style sheet for NCGR Publications and compiled an Index of the Publications in the early 90s. Lorraine has lectured frequently at NCGR lectures and beautifully combines her astrological knowledge with her love for history.
Lorraine's love of asteroids led her to become editor of the Asteroid SIG newsletter, and she served two terms on the AFAN Steering Committee (1998-2002) as Newsletter Editor, transforming AFAN's quarterly newsletter into a 20-24 page publication with feature articles and lots of information. As Lorraine did on almost all NCGR publications, she edited the AFAN newsletter with her longtime friend and partner in crime, Mary Downing, who designed and produced what Lorraine edited. Together, they were an unstoppable creative team. When Lorraine stepped down from the AFAN and NCGR Boards, she served actively on their Advisory Boards.

For me, Lorraine was more than just a colleague with whom I worked on the NCGR Publications Committee and the AFAN Steering Committee; she was my mentor and my friend. When she first approached me to become NCGR's memberletter Editor, I was reluctant since while I proofread, edited, and even authored articles and books, I had never edited a newsletter before, which is a very different mechanism. Once I accepted the position, Lorraine took me under her wing, and taught me the editorial ropes, which meant adhering to the style sheet that she created, and which I use to this day. Lorraine was a consummate professional with an amazing work ethic, and it did not matter to her whether she was editing the newsletter for the Museum of Science or for NCGR; it had to be accurate and objective.

As Publications Director, she was always available to me whenever I had a problem or question, whether it had to do with an article, or how to communicate with writer. Lorraine was generous with her time, and always encouraged me, as well as other portential writers, to develop our craft. She was a stickler for the facts, and never hesitated to tell me to return articles to writers so they could fact check and conform their writing to the style sheet. Lorraine taught me more about professionalism than most other people I have worked with, and she has set the standards to which every NCGR Publications Director should aspire.

Lorraine was tough but compassionate, and she did not suffer fools lightly. She was the first person to open her door to others, but if you took advantage of her kindness, or did not pull your own weight, she had zero tolerance. There were times when she bit off more than she could chew, and was late with deadlines for newsletters she edited, but when she delivered, it was always superbly done. I think of her every time I produce an issue of memberletter, and will miss her every day. Lorraine taught me that politics do not have to make a difference when it comes to friendship or being able to work well together, as long as your work ethic is strong, and your heart is in the right place, and Lorraine's was.

Since she was a staunch Republican, and I a staunch Democrat, I always steered clear at first of political discussions, afraid that our close relationship could be marred by heavy disagreements. However, I soon discovered that we agreed more than we disagreed, where our work and our values were concerned. We both believed in the value of hard work, individual freedom, and responsibility, and, most of all, believed in the golden rule, simply treating others the way you want to be treated. The fondest memories of those who knew Lorraine went beyond her many skills and talents, and had more to do with her humanity, sense of humor, generosity, and loyalty. When Lorraine was your friend, she was your friend for life. Some people, including Madalyn Hillis-Dineen and Alphee Lavoie, called her "Mom." Alphee wrote:

I met Lorraine about six months after I lost my mother. She looked a lot like my mom. I didn't know her from Adam. I walked up to her and asked her, "Are you married?" And she said, "Of course I am married." I said, "Do you have any kids?" She said, "No.". So I told her you got one now. I started calling her mom. Not too long after everybody started calling her mom. Every time she called me and Carol would answer the phone she would say, "Is sonny there?"

In that same tribute that Madalyn wrote, she also wrote this about Lorraine: Lorraine Welsh taught me many things. One that stands out is that you can be an astrologer and a Republican too. You could have knocked me over with a feather when I made this realization. Lorraine is one of the most interesting women I know. She tells a story with flair and delights readers of her New England hometown newspaper column with her whimsical musings about life today and yesterday. Her reverence for the past has led her to serve as President of the Needham (MA) Historical Society. Before she retired, she worked as Publications Director for Boston's esteemed Museum of Science. And, so, you can see that she brought more than a spirit of volunteerism and a willingness to serve to her NCGR job; she brought professional credentials as well. Like me, she was born a New Yorker but has learned to love Massachusetts and its salty, sturdy inhabitants.

Fondly referred to as Mom by a number of us on the Board, she is someone one that I feel I can turn to for unconditional acceptance and love. In that sense, she really is like a mother and the best kind of friend.

Lorraine was a survivor, having suffered from diabetes and other chronic conditions for many years. She even cheated death when she survived an aneurysm and cardiac arrest in 1983. In addition to her many friends and surrogate family in Brazil (Nely's grandaughter was named for Lorraine), she is survived by her sister-inlaw, her nieces, and their families. Donations may be made to the Needham Historical Society, 1147 Central Avenue, Needham, MA 02492, or a charity of your choice.
Obituaries can be found on www.legacy.com/obituaries/bostonglobe/ obituary.aspx?n=lorraine-welshthomas& pid=149812396; and www.wickedlocal.com/needham/features/ x1315188131/Lorraine-Welsh-former- Needham-Times-columnistdies# axzz1IZg7bzKu.

-Ronnie Gale Dreyer

Lorraine Welsh passed away on March 4, 2011. Lorraine spent her last years of retirement living in Brazil. Lorraine served the astrological community tirelessly for many years. She served on the NCGR National Board as its Publications Director, was the Newsletter Editor for the Boston Chapter.

I first met Lorraine somewhere around 1974 when I was President of the New England Astrological Association (NEAA). By profession Lorraine was a journalist. Her day job was Publications Director of the Boston Museum of Science. As an NEAA member, Lorraine soon took over the task of editing the NEAA newsletter. At one point Lorraine edited a combined newsletter for three Boston astrological organizations- NEAA, Star Rovers (the group Isabel Hickey founded), and the Massachusetts Bay NCGR Chapter. Ultimately, the Massachusetts Bay Chapter morphed into the Boston NCGR Chapter. Lorraine was the Boston Chapter's first newsletter editor and continued in that position even after she became the Publications Director for the National Board.

On a personal note, Lorraine and I were friends for many years-enjoying dinners and laughs. Lorraine served as a mentor for many who wanted to improve their writing and/or editing skills-and her help was always offered with encouragement, not criticism. Lorraine will be missed. I invite any of you who would like to pay tribute to Lorraine to email me at joycel@ joycelevine.com and we will put together a tribute for memberletter and E-News.

-Joyce Levine, President Boston Chapter


Source: Ronnie Dreyer

BIRTH: August 4, 1928, 5:20 PM EDT, Brooklyn NY.

DEATH: March 4, 2011


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Memorial written by Ronnie Dreyer and created by Liz Houle.