Lorraine Alvina Ross, after living a full and prosperous life, peacefully passed away at the age of 98 on Oct. 1, 2021. Lorraine (Rieke) was born in Burlington, Iowa, on July 30, 1923, to Anna and Art Rieke, owners of Rieke Hatchery. Her parents taught Lorraine the poultry business and the love of fowl.
Lorraine’s parents enjoyed vacationing in the San Luis Valley. This is where she met and was courted by (Roah) June Ross, son of Hatty and Jesse Ross of the La Jara area. On Jan. 15, 1943, June and Lorraine were married at the Oak Street Church in Burlington, Iowa. In 1946, they had their first son, Tim Ross. They then moved to Bountiful, Colo. Their daughter, Ellen (Ross)Haage, was born in 1949. They then spent several years building their own home in Bountiful. Dick, their third child, was born in 1958.
In 1956, she and June opened Conejos Laundry. In 1959, they opened Conejos Propane. June made the deliveries and Lorraine did the office work. Conejos Propane is the longest-running propane business in the San Luis Valley serving customers in three counties for over 62 years. Lorraine’s business motto always was, “treat others with respect and have an interest in what’s going on in their lives.” Her customers were much more than customers, they were her friends; some even call her “Mama Mrs. Ross.” Her husband June passed away from cancer in July 1984. Lorraine took over the responsibility of running the propane business with the help of her son Dick.
Lorraine, following her parents’ footsteps, always kept a barnyard full of fowl. She ran Ross Hatchery out of her home for more than 40 years and hatched hundreds of chickens, turkeys, ducks and other fowl every spring. A talented seamstress, she also spent many hours sewing to make lovely wedding and bridesmaid dresses cheerleader outfits and custom items for people. She truly enjoyed getting to know and working with each of her customers.
Lorraine spent considerable time in service to her community. She acted as Conejos County Republican Vice-Chairman and in 1980 attended the National Republican Convention to cast her vote for Ronald Regan as the Presidential nominee. Lorraine was an active member of the United Church of La Jara. She also served as chairman for the Hospice Del Valle board for 29 years. In her spare time, she loved working in her yard and creating stained glasswork.
Lorraine was close to her three children: Tim Ross and wife Barbara of Gunnison; Ellen and husband David Haage of La Jara; and Dick Ross and wife Micki, who also reside in the La Jara area. She has six grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.
Mrs. Ross was preceded in death by her parents, her siblings, her husband, and grandson Luke Ross.
The visitation and funeral will be held at the United Church of La Jara, 522 Walnut St. Visitation is on Wednesday, Oct. 6, from 6-8 p.m. Funeral Services will be held at 10 a.m. with the burial services following at the La Jara Cemetery.
Rogers Family Mortuary is in care of the arrangements. To leave online condolences, words of comfort and remembrances for Lorraine’s family, please visit www.RogersFunerals.com. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the United Church of La Jara.