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Lorraine Cecelia Van Dam, age 99, of Pewaukee, WI passed away Monday, May 9, 2022 at Franciscan Place in Brookfield, WI. Lorraine was born on September 10, 1922 to Clyde and Cecelia (Conway) Bell. She married Alvin Van Dam on July 5, 1947 in Milwaukee, WI.
Lorraine was born in Milwaukee and graduated from Messmer High School but also attended Divine Savior Holy Angels private school. Mom was always fun-loving and strong willed from an early age. One weekend, without notifying her mother, she and a friend decided to hitchhike to Wisconsin Dells to visit her cousins. During World War II, she liked to attend USO dances, and just like in the movies, she fell in love. Lorraine married Alvin Anthony Van Dam in 1947. After her youngest was in school, Lorraine decided to work outside the home and was hired as a secretarial assistant at Waukesha County Courthouse. She loved her independence and remained active into her mid 90s, serving as President of her bowling league for several years. She also joined a golf league at St. John’s Academy in Delafield and later joined Paganica Golf Course in Oconomowoc. She and Al were always active in their church, serving as marriage counselors and catechism teachers. Lorraine was also a beloved member of the St. Clare’s choir in North Lake for more than 50 years. After Al’s sudden death in 1983, Lorraine remained on North Lake for several years. She enjoyed eating Friday fish frys with neighbors, playing bridge and sheepshead with friends, and vacationing in Lake Tahoe and Las Vegas, where she often played the slot machines for hours on end. In 2001, her dream came true when she traveled to Ireland. Spending time in the Dells continued to be a beloved tradition, but instead of hitchhiking, she would drive. A dog lover since childhood, Lorraine cherished her pets, whose portrait held a place of prominence on her fireplace mantel. She eventually moved to Pewaukee, where she fell in with a group of wonderful neighbors and friends at Fairfield Place Condo, who regularly visited her and cared for her up until her death. After Lorraine was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer in late 2019, she was moved to Ascension Franciscan in Brookfield. There, she received compassionate care from St. Croix hospice staff, for which her family is extremely grateful.
Lorraine is survived by her children, Larry (Karen) Van Dam; Jean (Susan Hejdak) Van Dam, Richard (Lynn) Van Dam, Elizabeth (Kenneth) Gehrt, Peg (Sotos) Ktorides, Carol (John Scott) Van Dam Falk, Barbara (Tom) Dassow and Nancy Van Dam; her grandchildren, Becky (Chris) Haertl, Steven (Sarah) Van Dam, Sarah (Scott) Kantola, Kimberly (Josh) Hansen, Melissa (Anthony) Davila, Nicholas Ktorides, Natalie (Andrew) Smith, Suzanne (Nicholas) Joy, Katie (Donovan) Young, Ted Falk, Elise and Ian Dassow; great-grandchildren, Audrey, Andrea, Alissa, Seth, Matthew, Dante, Emilio, Olivia, Liana, Lilah and Arlo; other relatives and friends.
Preceding her in death are her beloved husband Alvin, her sons Gregory, William and James, her brothers Jack and Ray, and her sister Marian.
A memorial mass for Lorraine will be held on Tuesday, May 17 at 11am, at St. Teresa of Calcutta Catholic Church in North Lake, WI. Memorial visitation will be held at the church from 10am until the time of mass. A luncheon celebration to follow at the parish center.
For those unable to attend, those wishing to share a memory or those wanting to just sign the on-line guest registry, click the "Share A Memory" button below Lorraine's photo.
Thelen Funeral Services of North Prairie/Genesee is honored to be assisting the Van Dam family. 262-392-4251
Breast Cancer Research Foundation
National Breast Cancer Foundation