Loraine Margaret Brink, 96, of Sister Bay, Wisconsin, formerly of Kaukauna, Racine, and Ephraim, died Monday, July 11, 2022 at Good Samaritan Society - Scandia Village in Sister Bay with family at her side.
She was born February 21, 1926, at home on the family dairy farm near Kaukauna, Wisconsin, the sixth of seven children to Henry L. and Elizabeth M. (Jaeckels) Schmidt. Sad to see her sister Lucille start school, Loraine began first grade at age 4½ years along with her. She attended St. Francis School in Hollandtown through 10th grade, graduating from Kaukauna High School at the age of 16. Within a year she was teaching grades 1-8 at Jackson School near Sherwood, having completed one year plus one of three required summer sessions at Outagamie Rural Normal School, a curriculum that addressed the need for rural teachers during WWII. Loraine went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in education in 1946 at Oshkosh Teacher’s College (now University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh). There in her last semester she met Don Brink, a returning Navy veteran who told her on their third date that he was going to marry her. (She responded, “You’re nuts.”) After her graduation, she and Don parted ways, Loraine to teach first grade at Waterman School in Beloit, Don to continue his studies. About a year later, she and Don met again, leading to marriage on December 27, 1948 at St. Francis Church.
Loraine’s first years of marriage were punctuated by moves within Southeast Wisconsin for Don’s grocery management jobs and the birth of Steve and Jane. Don’s decision to embark on a life insurance career brought them to Racine, where they lived for 35 years and grew to a family of nine. She extended herself beyond the home by teaching CCD classes at St. John Nepomuk School and volunteering with school and scout activities. Couples and ladies bridge clubs offered welcomed nights out, as well as the source of lifelong friends.
When her youngest son Don started kindergarten, Loraine enrolled in a pottery class at Wustum Art Museum. With an artistic eye and nimble fingers, within three years she was teaching the class and participating in art fairs. After Don retired and they moved to Ephraim, she took advantage of the wide variety of classes that were available, including raku, Oriental brush stroke painting, bronze casting, and sculpture. Her interests later shifted to quilting and poetry, and she was an active member of the Trillium Quilt Guild, Unabridged Poets Group, and Wallace Group. Loraine is responsible for the aroma of fresh bread in many Door County homes because she taught bread making for the community classes at The Clearing each January for more than 10 years, her specialty being cinnamon buns. Others may remember her as their CCD teacher at St. Rosalia Catholic Church (now part of Stella Maris Parish), where she was a member.
Loraine loved her family and family gatherings, and she fostered in her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren a love of traveling, baking, creating, and sharing fruits of the hand. She was a welcoming hostess and always looked the part. For many years, she hosted Geetha and Tom Chitta, founders of Foundation for Children in Need, while visiting Stella Maris Parish. Her hostess hat was evident at Scandia Village, where she never failed to introduce visiting family to other residents and staff or noticed if a resident needed something. Loraine also loved to sing, being a part of the Door County Chamber Singers for many years and more recently the Village Singers Choir at Scandia Village.
She was preceded in death by her husband Don in 2017; parents and stepmother Mary (Rossmeier) Schmidt; daughter Jane E. Kuhnwald; infant brother Andrew; brothers and sisters-in-law Clarence (Jeanne), Arthur (Marian), and Leonard (Lori) Schmidt; sisters and brother-in-law Rose Mary (Hilard) Brantmeier and Lucille Spencer; sister-in-law Judy Day; brother-in-law William D. Brink; and step siblings/spouses Gerald (Evelyn) Schmidt, Ralph Schmidt, and Anne Marie (Francis) Kempen.
Loraine is survived by her sons Steve (Patty), Stuart (Ronda), and Don (Sharon) Brink; daughters Carla Brink (Paul Ranelli), Bobbie (Dan) Guerra, and Linda (Ray) Armas; son-in-law John (Jo Anne) Davis; grandchildren Maggy (Ron) Hribar, Emily (Dan) Pfeiffer, Joanna (Tracy) Davis Lanum, Rhea Davis, Theodora Ranelli, Luciana Ranelli, Federica Ranelli, Nick Onsgard, Andy Onsgard, Dana Marcek, Tony (Kristy) Brink, Megan (Thomas) Chadwick, Ryan Brink, Samuel Brink, and Jacob Brink; and great grandchildren Joseph and Jenna Hribar, Alex and Kate Pfeiffer, Reece and Chase Lanum, Tyler and Alanna Marcek, and Thomas Chadwick II. She is also survived by sister-in-law Grace Schmidt, brothers-in-law Dan Spencer and Phil Day, nephews Jeff Noonan-Day and Scott Day, and numerous Schmidt nieces and nephews.
Her family extends heartfelt thanks to the staff of Scandia Village for the loving care provided to both Don and Loraine over the past 10 years.
In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of Loraine can be sent to The Clearing, Scholarship Fund (P.O. Box 65, Ellison Bay, WI 54210; https://theclearing.org/wp/). Cards and memories sent to her daughter Carla Brink (2820 Greysolon Rd., Duluth MN 55812; firstname.lastname@example.org) will be shared with the family.
Loraine's life will be celebrated with a Mass of Christian Burial held at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, August 26, 2022 at Stella Maris Parish – Sister Bay site, 2410 S. Bay Shore Dr. (Highway 42), Sister Bay, WI 54234 with the Rosary to be prayed at 9:15 a.m. and visitation to follow from 9:30 a.m. until the time of Mass. Luncheon to follow. She will be laid to rest beside her husband Don in St. Rosalia Cemetery in Sister Bay.
Casperson Funeral Home & Cremation Services in Sister Bay is assisting the Brink family. Expressions of sympathy, memories, and photos of Loraine may be shared with her family through her tribute page at www.caspersonfuneralhome.com.