Obituary of Lorraine Dianna Velarde
Lorraine Dianna “Mana” Garcia Velarde (Maria Lorraine Velarde) was a woman of many names, which is only fitting for the size of her heart and the depth of her legacy. She was born Feb. 28, 1945, in Old Town Albuquerque to William and Emma Garcia, one of six girls who with their parents all lived together in a 2-bedroom home. Given such a start in life, it’s perhaps natural that her family says she should be remembered first as “always thinking of others, right down to her last breath.” She was the person who always put others before herself – a very strong woman. Her first job was at the TG&Y off Rio Grande and Central, and she continued to work hard until retirement from her position as a supervisor in the financial department of the University of New Mexico Hospital (UNMH). She died unexpectedly on Aug. 31, 2023, just a day after celebrating her 42nd wedding anniversary.
Lorraine married David “Dave” Velarde on August 29, 1981, and to their union was born a daughter, Kimberly “Kim”, for whom Lorraine predictably made significant sacrifices. Dave was a New Mexico State Policeman stationed in many locations across the Land of Enchantment. Rather than following him to his varied assignments, Lorraine chose to remain in Albuquerque to give Kim’s life consistency. While Dave was able to come home on weekends and holidays, Lorraine shepherded her little family until Dave retired in Albuquerque. During this time, she also provided Dave’s older daughter, Valerie, with strength and support while her dad was away on duty. When Valerie’s own daughters were grown and attending UNM, Lorraine offered them a home away from home where they would come every Sunday to hang out, eat orange chicken, have coffee, and find anything else they might need. She was always there for them.
That wasn’t, however, the end of her nurturing duties; after Kim gave birth to their first grandson, Mason, Lorraine helped raise him, too. He gave her the cherished nickname of Mana to go with Dave’s Kappa. The family unit was always burgeoning because Lorraine also served as the adopted grandparent for Mason’s friends, taking them to Boba Tea, Starbucks, or Target upon request. “She was 78, outside playing basketball, tennis, hockey, and any other activity she might be asked to do,” her family said. She was also a faithful volunteer at Mason’s schools, with Kim telling school officials they could always talk with Lorraine if she wasn’t available. “I told them she was my other half.”
Her ability to love life to its fullest was evident in her long list of favorite activities: visiting casinos, going to Las Vegas, NV, dancing, watching live shows, traveling (especially cruises), attending New City Church, loving on her pets, and hosting or cooking for family gatherings. She was especially famous for her posole, biscochitos and green chile corn. She donated to many charities including Wounded Warriors, her church, and most recently Maui fire and southeastern United States hurricane relief funds. Hosting those gatherings and caring for her family required a clean home, and none was better at keeping house than Lorraine. Those who knew her were well aware of not setting an unfinished drink down on the counter because the glass would quickly disappear into the dishwasher. “If you weren’t finished with your water cup, you’d better take it with you,” family members said.
In addition to Mason, her family offered Lorraine an extended “grandmother pack” that included James, Cam, Joseph, Cade, Bella, and Joshua, who all looked forward to her Christmas Eve or Christmas Day dinners – where there were sure to be lots of presents.
Her life obviously revolved around being a caregiver for those she loved – in good times and in bad. Mason, a pediatric cancer survivor, and Dave, who suffers health complications from his Vietnam War service, were the center of her attention; before losing her own mom, she also helped take care of her.
Lorraine was loved in return by more than she knew. She is survived by her husband Dave, daughter Kimberly, grandson Mason, future son-in-law Aaron Moore and future granddaughter Olivia Moore. Also left behind to cherish her memory are her niece Valerie Groll (Steve); granddaughters Shannon Fredenburgh (Paul) and Mariah Siciliano (Steve); great granddaughter Kaylee Siciliano; and her sisters Barbara, Viola, Cathryn, and Betty. She was predeceased by her sister Cecelia and her parents.
Services for Lorraine will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, Sept. 11, 2023, at New City Church.
New City Church
4700 San Mateo Blvd NE
Albuquerque, NM 87109
In lieu of flowers, Lorraine would appreciate your donations to the Red Cross for Maui fire relief, the Wounded Warriors project, or an animal rescue of your choice.To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Lorraine Velarde, please visit Tribute Store