Lorraine Phyllis Tonneson Potter, 94, passed away Thursday, April 1, 2021 at Mercy Hospice House in Johnston, Iowa of congestive heart failure. She was born on May 16, 1926, at home in Butterfield, Minnesota to Garfield and Elsie (Kuecker) Tonneson. Her family later moved to St. James, Minnesota where she attended high school.
Lorraine and Iver William Potter of Fairmont, Minnesota married on June 12, 1943. Upon Iver’s return from service in the U.S. Army following World War II, they lived for several years in south central Minnesota. In 1953 they moved to Des Moines, purchasing a home in a new far east side subdivision which provided affordable housing for veterans. Iver died in 1972, however Lorraine continued to live in the home for 68 years until her passing.
Lorraine was confirmed at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in St. James, MN and was a member of Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Des Moines. She enjoyed Bible study suppers at the church. Lorraine loved improving her home and yard, and each year planted canna lily and gladiolus bulbs from relatives in Minnesota. Her hardworking hands were never idle. She knit mittens and sewed book bags for needy children, sewed quilts for refugees, and sewed pet pads for the animal shelter. She would also gather stray cats, have them neutered, and then provide food and shelter for them. She embroidered countless tea towels, pillowcases, and sewed clothing for many years. She made quilts for all her children, many with beautiful embroidery. In addition, Lorraine was a fantastic cook and baker. Her homemade potato salad, pork steak and pies are family favorites.
Lorraine had beautiful penmanship, winning an award for the Palmer Method of handwriting. Later she learned calligraphy utilizing it to decorate awards and certificates. She had innate math abilities and was a meticulous worker. Her love, support and acceptance was shown to the entire family and friends.
Lorraine pursued several job training opportunities in computer skills and accounting, retiring after 17 years as credit manager at Butler Paper Company in Des Moines, a division of Georgia Pacific. After retirement she worked part time for the Des Moines Schools as a lunch room account manager.
The family of eight devoted children thought their mother was immortal. Each one helped her stay in her home until the day she died at 94 years, eleven months. Lorraine is survived by twins Joan (Eugene, deceased) Smalley of Cottage Grove, WI; and Jane (Robert, deceased) Merkel, Norman, OK; Merry Lou Potter; Gene Allen Potter; Richard (Debra) Potter, all of Des Moines, IA; and Betty (Alan) Cooney, Des Moines, IA /New Smyrna Beach, FL. Lorraine was predeceased by daughter Diana Lorraine Danler, Peoria, IL and stepson Kenneth Lee Potter of McAllen, TX. She is also survived by beloved son-in-law Wayne Danler, Peoria, IL and daughter-in-law Mary Lou Potter, McAllen, TX.
Lorraine was a proud grandma of twelve grandchildren, all who sought and received her sage advice: Julee (Randy) Seeman, Janesville, WI; David (Amey) Potter, Austin, TX; Amy (Alan) Kohler, Austin, TX; Bryce (Jonathan) Lord, Milwaukee, WI; Andrew Lord, Tacoma, WA; Kathy Merkel (Greg) Cox, Norman, OK; John Merkel, Kerrville, TX; Perry Danler, Kenosha, WI; Kim Danler (Doug) Coburn, IL; Mark Danler; Peoria, IL; Terence Potter, Des Moines, IA; and Todd (Shawntel) Cooney, Des Moines, IA. There are twelve great grandchildren and one great great grandson who were always in her thoughts and prayers.
Lorraine is also survived by sisters Shirley (Frank, deceased) Hill, Alamogordo, NM and Delores (DeVere, deceased) Sprague, Seattle, WA. She was predeceased by her parents and stepfather, Leslie Radenbaugh, sisters and brothers- in- laws Arlene and Marvin Smith, West Hills, CA and Myrtle and Franklin Ratzlaff, Mountain Lake, MN. Spring trips back to the St. James area to visit special relatives and friends were always important to the sisters.
Memorial donations may be made to Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, Polk County Humane Society or Mercy Hospice House, who provided wonderful compassionate care to Lorraine.
Visitation will be held Thursday, April 8 from 5- 7 p.m. at Hamilton’s Funeral Home on Lyon Street, Des Moines. Graveside services with be held Friday, April 9 at 11 a.m. at Laurel Hill Cemetery, Des Moines.