M. Lorraine Weitz, 93
Fairytale grandmother, superhero, Rosie the Riveter, master mechanic, ultimate giver, a fixer of anything: M. Lorraine (Larri) Weitz was all of these. Lorraine was born above an ice cream parlor in Sidney, Mont., June 17, 1924, to Loren and Mary (Brockway) Kiefer. She peacefully passed away Nov. 21, 2017, at home in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.
She moved to Fairview, Mont., in 1925, and lived there until the mid-1930s when diphtheria struck the small town and the Kiefer family. The disease claimed her sister, Carollois, and an aunt and cousin. In 1936, Lorraine moved to Bainville, Mont., and lived in the Kiefer Great Northern Hotel. The family then moved to Clark Fork, Idaho, where Lorraine was able to ride her horse to school every day.
After moving to Spokane, Wash., Lorraine worked at her father’s gas station as a mechanic. People waited in line to have her work on their cars because of the outstanding reputation she had earned for the quality of her work, brilliant advice and thoughtful personality. This gas station was located on Hamilton and Illinois and was once listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the “World’s smallest full-service gas station.” Lorraine was the first woman in Washington to be certified by Standard Oil Company as an auto mechanic.
In May of 1942 she graduated from North Central High School and then entered Washington State University. She left college to work in the war reclamation shop at Fairchild Air Base. There she managed work on war-damaged airplanes, hence Rosie the Riveter.
In January 1944, Lorraine married Don E. Weitz. They had three children, David, Lari Carol and Sue. After moving to Coeur d’Alene in 1947, Lorraine worked at Safeway and later managed the Kootenai County Driver’s License Bureau. Her experience at the Driver’s License Bureau became useful when, at age 89, Lorraine voluntarily surrendered her driver’s license. During her years of issuing licenses, she had to tell elderly people trying to renew their license that they could no longer drive. She did not want anyone telling her she could not drive, so she gave up her license. This was a wise but difficult decision.
Lorraine and Don owned the CDA “Viking” (soda and hamburger shop) which was across from the old Coeur d’Alene Jr. High. Her final job was to manage a condominium on Sunset Hill in Spokane.
In the 1980s, she moved to Post Falls to help care for her parents, and in June, 2016, she sold her home in Post Falls and moved back to Coeur d’Alene across the street from where she raised her children.
She was involved in Campfire Girls, Boy Scouts of America, Eastern Star, PEO and others.
She is survived by her son, David (Julie) Weitz; her daughters, Lari Carol Pearcy and Sue Weitz (Greg Intinarelli); 10 grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren and numerous Brockway and Kiefer cousins.
As part of the greatest generation, she was always positive, non-judgmental and an inspiration to gracefully endure hardship, help others, have patience, love all family and know how not to meddle in her grown children’s lives. She never lost her mental quickness, sense of humor, positive attitude or love of cooking. She touched many with her kindness and walked the path of unselfishly helping others without considering she might need the help herself.
Take a moment — smile, honor and join us in a “hip hip hooray” for a life well lived by a woman who loved and was dearly loved by all.
A family graveside service will be held at Spokane Memorial Gardens in the spring. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to Meals On Wheels, or a charity of your choice. Yates Funeral Home is in care of arrangements and you may visit Lorraine’s online memorial and leave condolences at www.yatesfuneralhomes.com