Lorraine M. Walsh
Nov 24, 1951 to Feb 12, 2015
Lorraine M. Walsh was born in Rockaway Beach, New York, and was the oldest of five siblings. She married Patrick Walsh, and settled down in Streamwood, Illinois to raise their sons Dan and Brian Walsh.
Lorraine was a respected business person as the owner of a successful global freight management company, Jantzen International, Ltd. She was a respected member of the World Freight Group, a global network of businesses, agents, and lifelong friends.
In addition to being an amazing resource to provide her with agents around the world, The World Freight Group allowed her to pursue one of her life’s biggest passions, travel. Lorraine loved to travel. Whether it was weekend trips to the Wisconsin Dells with family, or a cruise on a river in Europe, Lorraine saw, and did, and traveled, and enjoyed.
Lorraine had battled rheumatoid arthritis for many years, and while that might cripple many people, or at least stop them from traveling, it never slowed Lorraine down. She climbed the Acropolis in Greece, walked along the Great Wall of China, snorkeled with Stingrays in Mexico, rode camels in the Desert, and much much more.
But even more important than her love for travel, was her love for family. Lorraine was a loving wife, mother, aunt, grandmother, and friend to all who met her. Growing up, Lorraine was “mom” to so many. Her sons Dan and Brian all had friends who called her that. The Walsh home was open to all, and always a safe, fun place. This tradition continued later in life, as her sons adult friends still call her mom, and mourn her as if she was their own mother.
Lorraine was the oldest of five siblings, and when her parents passed away, she took on the role of “matriarch” in the family. She was mom, sister, aunt, and best friend. All of her many nieces and nephews always said that “Aunt Lorrie” always gave the best gifts. There were no gift cards, each and every gift was well thought out, and meaningful to those who received it.
As a mother to Dan and Brian, she was always there for them, and instilled a great sense of family and love in them. Even as she juggled the role of “working mom,” she was also able to pull off the more important role of “loving mom” better than most.
As a friend, she was second-to-none. She was always the shoulder to cry on, the rock to crash against, and the first person you would call, when you had a problem that you needed some honest advice. Often, not the advice you wanted, but, always the advice you needed.
All of that said, perhaps her favorite role in life was that of “Nana” to her loving granddaughters Lindsey and Chelsea. And since she lived only two doors down from them, and their parents Brian & Cherish, she got to see them almost daily. She enjoyed spoiling them rotten and they adored her in return.
In May of 2014, upon returning from a business trip to China, Lorraine was struck ill with a torn bowel that led to a Herculean battle with sepsis. This illness led to several surgeries, and several rounds of recovery, that even her doctors and nurses did not think that she could overcome. Yet, time and again, she beat the odds, and kept moving forward. The doctors and nurses at the University of Chicago were top notch, and did everything possible, and some that seemed impossible to help her overcome her illnesses.
After almost a year in a variety of hospitals and rehabilitation centers, Lorraine lost her battle, and heaven got an amazing new angel.
It was during her prolonged hospital stay that the idea for what would become this Chapter of the Basket Brigade was born. During her hospitalization, her family wanted to bring her a simple Thanksgiving Dinner, as it was one of her favorite holidays, and she had not eaten solid food in many months. It was then that they realized that, as important as it was to them to bring Lorraine Thanksgiving Dinner, that there was an entire staff of doctors and nurses and hospital staff who were sacrificing their own Thanksgivings in order to take care of Lorraine and other patients in the hospital.
So, rather than bring Lorraine a plate of leftover turkey, her son Brian, and daughter-in-law Cherish, prepared a complete Thanksgiving Dinner, loaded it up in their van, drove an hour-and-a-half to the University of Chicago, set it up in the family lounge, and invited all of the doctors, nurses, and staff to come and enjoy Lorraine’s feast. Lorraine got her Thanksgiving Dinner, and was able to share her bounty with those who were her caregivers.
On the drive home, Lorraine’s granddaughters Lindsey and Chelsea said “that was so cool! We should do something like that every year.” Brian & Cherish could not agree more.
After her passing, while attending a Tony Robbins event, Lorraine’s son Brian first heard of the Basket Brigade, and knew that he had found the “something like that” that they had been looking for.
It is with this passion and backstory that the Lorraine M. Walsh Memorial Foundation was formed. Brian & Cherish Walsh formed this chapter of the Basket Brigade to “put the GIVING back in Thanksgiving” to families in need in Lorraine’s home city of Streamwood, and neighboring communities of Bartlett and Hanover Park.
Please help us in achieving our goal of bringing complete Thanksgiving Dinners to families in need in Streamwood, Bartlett & Hanover Park. It is our hope that this movement grow into neighboring communities in the years to come.
We appreciate your interest in helping us to honor the memory of this amazing woman.
Brian & Cherish Walsh
Founders, The Lorraine M. Walsh Memorial Foundation
Learn more about Lorraine in this video
about the inspiration behind our Basket Brigade
The Basket Brigade of Suburban Chicago is a division of The Lorraine M. Walsh Memorial Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charity.
All donations are tax deductible. FEIN: 47-5225925.
You can download a copy of our Federal Tax Exemption Letter by clicking the here.