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
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
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
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
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
Obituaries can be found on www.legacy.com/obituaries/bostonglobe/
-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
Source: Ronnie Dreyer
BIRTH: August 4, 1928, 5:20 PM EDT,
DEATH: March 4, 2011
To Memorials L-Z, Continued
DO YOU HAVE ANYTHING TO ADD? This memorial is interactive, and we welcome
your memories and tributes, which we will add to the page in the order
received. They may be edited for length, grammar, or suitability. If there are any additional
contributions we should mention or any inaccuracies
in the memorial, please bring them to our attention. We would also love
to have photos to bring back vivid memories. (Photos will be scanned and returned.) To suggest names, share memories, create tributes, or volunteer,
send us an e-mail.
Memorial written by Ronnie Dreyer and created by Liz Houle.