OBITUARY: Lorraine Jeanette Johnson Kaufman

Lorraine Jeanette Johnson Kaufman was born on March 27, 1930, in Osage City and died on Jan. 30, 2020, at Pine Village in Moundridge.

Lorraine attended a one-room rural school, then high school in Osage City. She graduated from nurses’ training at The University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City in 1951. At KUMC, she met Willard E. Kaufman, a medical student. They married on June 14, 1953. After completion of his medical internship, Lorraine and Willard served two years (1954-56) with the Mennonite Central Committee providing medical relief work for Palestinians in refugee camps in the West Bank. In 1957, they moved to Moundridge. Willard preceded her in death on Nov. 9, 2002.

Lorraine’s interests were broad. She was absorbed by her Swedish ancestry and tracked her genealogy to the mid-15th century. She loved native prairie wildflowers and was a member of the Kansas Wildflower Society (now the Kansas Native Plant Society), eventually receiving its Sheldon H. Cohen Award for Outstanding Service. She was a writer who wrote a “Wildflower Watch” column for the Moundridge Ledger in the 1990s, and a “Featured Plant” column in the Kansas Native Plant Society’s newsletter from 2009 -2017.

Other writing projects included a food column for The National Observer in the 1970s about unusual recipes and their backgrounds and hundreds of poems. She was a member of Creative Writers of Newton, as well as the Kansas Authors’ Club and other regional poetry groups and won many awards in annual poetry contests. She was also a 50-year member of the Moundridge Study Club.

She was a long-time member of the Moundridge Historical Association and involved in the creation of the Cole House Museum at the Moundridge Museum complex. She was a Kauffman Museum board member at Bethel College. She and Willard were dedicated to West Zion Mennonite Church, Bethel College, and Pine Village, where their financial support made possible the Willard E. and Lorraine J. Kaufman Special Care Facility.

In addition to Willard, she was preceded in death by her parents, Joseph E. and Olga Moody Johnson, and her brother, Burton.

She is survived by three children, Stan (Julia) of Seattle, Dennis (Rebecca) of Mount Pleasant, Wis., and Sharon Reber (Bryan) of Athens, Ga., and two grandchildren (Chelsea Kaufman and Bria Kaufman, both of Chicago). She is also survived by Burton’s wife, Karen Johnson, and a niece and a nephew.

The service was at 4 p.m. Monday, Feb. 3, at First Mennonite Church of Christian, 719 S. Christian Ave. in Moundridge. She was interred at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 4, at Union Cemetery, Osage City. Moundridge Funeral Home, 115 E. Cole Street in Moundridge, is in charge of arrangements.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial donations to the Kansas Native Plant Society or Pine Village, in care of Moundridge Funeral Home, P.O. Box 410, Moundridge, KS, 67107.