In memory of

Lorraine Tucker, age 80, of Helena

January 8, 1938 – May 27, 2018

The Cambridge English Dictionary defines a “pilgrim” as a person who makes a journey, often a long and difficult one, to a special place for religious reasons.  On Sunday, May 27th, Lorraine Marie (Rivers) Tucker died at her home in Helena, Montana.  Her pilgrimage in this life – a journey of special places, life-changing experiences and deeply rooted relationships – a journey long and difficult at times – has ended.

It began on January 8, 1938 in Anaconda, Montana.  The firstborn child of Jim and Therese (Bilodeau) Rivers, Lorraine was joined in time by seven brothers and sisters:  Pat Boggess, of Helena; Betty (Leroy) Sanderson of Electric City, WA; Bobbie Daily, of Anaconda, MT; Jim (Cindy), of Helena; Rosie (Bill) Everingham, of Centennial, CO; Leo, of Great Falls, MT; and Tim (Mary), of Anaconda.  Lorraine’s parents preceded her in death; all seven brothers and sisters survive her, together with her uncle Luke (Dona) of Anaconda, ten cousins and twenty nieces and nephews.

The direction of Lorraine’s pilgrimage was charted early in Anaconda.  Her Irish and French Canadian family backgrounds instilled in her the importance of community, and of the stories that create and flow from community.  Schooled first at St. Peter’s, then at St. Paul’s, Lorraine graduated from Anaconda Central High School in 1955.  In late August of that year, she boarded a train in Butte for Dubuque, Iowa, from there to enter the Dominican Sisters of the Congregation of the Most Holy Rosary at their motherhouse in Sinsinawa, Wisconsin.  In August 1957, Lorraine professed her first vows as Sr. Mary Claritus, OP, and her final vows three years later.  Religious life would take her to several missions as a grade school teacher:  first to St. Cecelia’s in Omaha, Nebraska, then to Sacred Heart in Faribault, Minnesota.  Late in the summer of 1963, Lorraine was asked if she would go to Most Pure Heart of Mary High School in Mobile, Alabama.

It was at Heart of Mary, from 1963 to 1969, that Lorraine’s pilgrimage found its deepest bearings.  The Second Vatican Council had affirmed that “the joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties of the [men and women] of this age, especially those who are poor or in any way afflicted, these are the joys and hopes, the griefs and anxieties of the followers of Christ.”  Amid sweeping changes in the world, the United States, and the Catholic Church, Sr. Mary Claritus reclaimed her baptismal name as Sr. Lorraine Rivers.  In classroom teaching, diocesan ministry, community organization and civil rights protests, she would enable others to take a stand for their personal identity and human dignity, standing with them herself even in a jail cell ( ).

In late 1969, Lorraine left Mobile to come to Washington, DC, where she would develop and orchestrate religious education and sacramental preparation ministries at the Shrine of the Sacred Heart, an inner-city parish scarred physically but not spiritually by the civil disturbances of 1968.  She designed innovative programs in catechetical ministry, served in archdiocesan consultative endeavors, and taught in one of the country’s first permanent deacon formation programs.

On May 27, 1972, Sr. Lorraine met Jim Tucker, a deacon preparing for ordination to the Catholic priesthood the following year.  Through summer youth programs, classroom teaching, and retreat work at the parish high school, they fell in love and chose to leave their respective ministries and marry.  For forty-six years, they walked together:  Lorraine the ever-constant pilgrim on a journey, Jim more the soldier on a mission.  Son Jim and daughter Therese joined them on “the way.”

Because a pilgrimage can sometimes lead a person to places previously known and thus still familiar, Lorraine and the family moved from Washington, DC back to Anaconda in June 1978.  For seven years at the Anaconda Catholic Community, she lent direction and vision to the parish’s faith formation ministries.  Lorraine introduced the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) to the parish and, in some respects, to the Diocese of Helena.  In June 1985, the family moved to Helena, where she became the director of religious education for the Cathedral of St. Helena parish.  After retiring in 2003, Lorraine taught briefly at Carroll College as an adjunct instructor in theology, and served as a resource person for several parish and diocesan bodies.

Though earlier in life Lorraine never thought she would marry and raise a family, her pilgrimage was deeply blessed in her children and their spouses and families:  son Jim and his wife Jennifer (Kudar), and their children Matthias and Amelia; and daughter Therese and her husband Justin Trafton, and his son Tannin.  In them, she inspired a love of adventure (life was a “roll-y coaster,” and she loved it!), the importance of working for peace and justice in the world, and an abiding appreciation of family.  Add to these a host of adults, youth and children whom she helped over the years to explore the mysteries and challenges of faith in the Catholic tradition, and you have a life well lived, a pilgrimage well made.

In the 4th century AD, according to Christian tradition, a woman named Egeria traveled to the Holy Land on a pilgrimage, visiting many sites and recounting her experiences in a journal.  There she wrote:  “journeys are not hard when they are the fulfillment of hopes.”  If Lorraine found her journey in life difficult, she never said.  Her path was encumbered throughout her adult years by health conditions which gradually sapped her physical strength but not her spirit, wisdom or insight until the very end.  Sometimes we make the journey, but always the journey makes us.

Memorials may be made in Lorraine’s name preferably to the Sinsinawa Dominicans, 585 County Road Z, Sinsinawa, Wisconsin 53824; or to the Foundation for the Diocese of Helena, PO Box 1729, Helena, MT 59624; or to Most Pure Heart of Mary Parish, 304 Sengstak Street, Mobile, AL  36603; or to Hospice of St. Peter’s, 2475 Broadway, Helena, MT  59601.

Viewing will begin at 5:00 p.m. on Monday, June 4, 2018 at St. Mary Catholic Community, 1700 Missoula Ave, Helena, MT 59601. A vigil will be held at 6:30 p.m. Monday, June 4th at St. Mary Catholic Community. Funeral Mass will be held at 12:10 p.m. on Tuesday, June 5th at St. Mary Catholic Community. Rite of Committal will follow at Resurrection Cemetery. A reception will follow the burial in the social center of the lower level of St. Mary Catholic Community. Please visit to offer condolences or share a memory of Lorraine.


Read the thoughts and memories, then feel free to add your own.

  1. Nan LeFebvre says:

    Jim and Family,
    I am so sorry for your loss. Lorraine was a wonderful person and a force to be reckoned with! And I mean that in the most positive way. Both my late husband, Dave Larsen, and I went through the RCIA at the Cathedral, so Lorraine’s work had a big impact on our lives. Dave – always Mr. Charming – use to kiddingly call Lorraine “Sarge”, as she was always trying to keep her troops in line!! She would just grin at him.
    She will be greatly missed by many, and my thoughts are prayers are with you all.

  2. Shannon Ackeret says:

    Dear Jim and family,
    I treasure my time working with Lorraine at the Cathedral. She always had a terrific smile, great advice, and was an awesome mentor. I look forward to celebrating a life well lived.
    You are all in my thoughts and prayers.
    Shannon Ackeret

  3. Stephanie Donahue says:

    Dear Tucker family,
    It was a blessing to encounter your family on your pilgrimage. Thank you for the faith formation at Legendary Lodge.

    Stephanie Mansanti

  4. Molly LaChere says:

    Dear Jim and Family,
    I am so sorry for your loss! I remember both of my parents speaking so highly of Lorraine. They loved her! She had a huge impact on each of them and their relationship with each other and God. I also loved seeing her and her sweet smile each Wednesday during religious education.
    God be with you,

  5. Jolie Monasterio says:

    Dear Jim and kids,
    I have great memories of Lorraine from my days at Carroll. She truly was a pilgrim, and also a prophet and visionary. Her presence will indeed be missed. I pray your hearts be filled with the same abundance of peace and love that she poured out on those she taught and served and inspired.

  6. Michael R. Prendergast says:

    Dear Tucker family,
    What a wonderful tribute to a faithful pilgrim. May her memory be eternal!

  7. Hugh A. McWhorter says:

    A truly gifted individual whose intelligence, insightfulness and humor made the RCIA program a rewarding experience.

  8. Jack Fleming says:

    What a beautiful tribute to a beautiful lady. Our time in Helena was truly blessed by the presence of the Tucker family in our lives.

  9. Fr Val Zdilla says:

    A most beautiful and holy tribute. May her memory be eternal. Fr Val Zdilla

  10. Kathy and Maury Hamill says:

    Dear Tucker and Rivers Family, Our hearts and prayers are with all of you at this difficult time. Please except our sincere condolences. Kathy and Maury Hamill

  11. Laurie Bartoletti says:

    A woman faithful to the journey – you too Jim! My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family! Laurie Bartoletti

  12. Elaine Hurd says:

    Working for and with Lorraine was a very nice time in my life. She was a great example to me in all things __ from faith to cooking. I will miss her. Your family will be in my prayers.

  13. Diane Dwyer says:

    Jim and Family,
    I am so sorry for your loss, but rejoice in Lorraine’s completion of her journey! She was an important part of my journey along with you, Jim. You two made a perfect team! She touched so many. God blessed us with her presence. I know that she will always be with you. May God grant her eternal peace.

  14. Rev. Richard G. Francesco says:

    Lorraine’s journey is now complete, as she returns to the same God who first called her to life. Along the way she served in many ways, but in all of them, as teacher. Whether in words or in the glance of an eye, Lorraine taught. All that she received as a gift, she gave as a gift. For this, she is among the wise women whose praises are sung in the scriptures.

    One day this year, Lorraine asked, “What do you think God will say to us at the end of our life on earth?” Actually, she wasn’t asking. She was teaching. “I think God is going to say,” she went on, “How did you use your gifts?” This is a wise message for believer, unbeliever, and everyone in between. Use your gifts.

    Grateful to have journeyed for a brief time with Lorraine in this life, the message she shared will resonate until we meet again.

    “Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.” Matthew 10:8b

  15. Russ Wardinsky says:

    Jim and family,

    Lorraine was a wonderful woman and inspiration- she will forever be part of the pantheon of faces from CCD growing up attending church at the Cathedral in Helena. I wanted to offer my condolences from somewhere far away in this hard time for you all.

  16. Linnea Ghilardi says:

    Dear Jim and Family,

    It was shocking to learn of Lorraine’s passing, and I am so sorry for your loss. I was in one of her RCIA classes, the one from which Jim Waltermire died in a plane crash. I will always remember Lorraine saying to me, “Now, Linnea, are you going to stay with the Catholic Church from this day forward?” (I had been so many things that she had a right to ask!!) Well, she would be proud to know I am still with it, and much of that is due to her remarkable leadership in the RCIA program. Though I have not seen her in years, I will always remember Lorraine as so important to my life and the life of the Cathedral. Thank you for all that you two have done for the Church, and accept my deepest condolences.
    Love always and God’s blessings to you all.

  17. Br. Steve Hale says:

    Lorraine, a woman of gentle tenacity, who kept us all on track by reminding us of all the pieces that needed to come together as we journeyed along as a Cathedral staff. She kept us whole!
    Enjoy the journey home, Lorraine!
    Love, Steve

  18. Glen Cuchine says:

    Dear Tucker Family,
    What a wonderful presence in the world Lorraine was. Her legacy for all of us is a life well lived and the strength of her faith. I’m so pleased to have been blessed knowing her. Your tribute to her perfectly sums up who Lorraine was and will continue to be in our hearts and memories.

  19. Lorraine was a lovely presence in this world, and her spirit lives on. Jim was so kind and loving to her, such an inspiring couple!

  20. Katy Seitz Denning says:

    Dear Tucker family,
    My thoughts and prayers with you as your mourn and yet celebrate the life Lorraine. It was a blessing and an honor to have known her and I am sending my thoughts and prayers across many miles. Blessings of comfort and consolation to all of you.

  21. RCIA Class of '93 says:

    Lorraine had a profound affect on my life and helped shape me into who I am today. Thank you for your patience, wisdom, and knack to give me “the look” that told me to search for answers.

  22. Garth and Paula Block says:

    Jim, so sorry for your loss. You and Lorraine were one of first persons we met in our church community and you both were so welcoming and gracious. We so appreciate your interest in our son Daniel’s First Communion education. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

  23. Steve Jones says:

    To Jim, Jimmy and Teresa.
    I am deeply saddened by Loraine’s death this past week. In my life your family has blessed me deeply as we shared our life and times. I have learned the special presence of Jesus in my life as I lived closer to you all. May you be forever blessed by our loving God and be shared in his love. I pray God always touches your life.

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