Obituary: Lori McCarthy
Mother, traveler, genealogist, volunteer
Lorraine (“Lori”) Donovan McCarthy, a 63-year resident of Claremont, died peacefully at home on April 17 with her family by her side. She was 92.
She was a loving mother, a traveler, genealogist, and community volunteer, who cultivated lifelong friendships within her various pursuits.
Lori was born January 4, 1931, in Los Angeles to Lawrence T. and Cornelia Donovan. She had an older brother, Donald, and a younger sister, Carol. The family was poor, and the only books in the house were some encyclopedias found in a neighbor’s trash can. Those books sparked her interest in the world and travel, which she pursued throughout her life.
For high school she attended the all-girls Sacred Heart Academy in Los Angeles. At L.A. City College she joined the earth science club and worked in Yosemite National Park during the summers, later graduating from UCLA with a degree in geography. After college she worked as a social worker and deputy probation officer for L.A. County.
She met her husband, John McCarthy, through the Catholic Alumni Association. They wed in 1960, moved to Claremont and had three children. John was appointed director of the Peace Corps in Thailand, and the young family lived in Bangkok from 1964 to 1966. She called this time period an exhilarating adventure that changed their lives.
After the children were raised, she worked as a real estate agent, broker, and property manager. She also cared for a succession of four elderly relatives over a period of 17 years. As a community volunteer, she participated in a variety of organizations, including as a greeter at Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center, as a Girl Scout Leader, and with the League of Women Voters. She was a 55-year member of the Foothill Philharmonic Committee, starting off working with the music mobile and ending as the activities organizer for the group’s Friday concerts.
In the 1980s, she became interested in genealogy and spent the next 30-some years researching her and her husband’s family histories going back multiple generations. This sparked her desire to document her own history, and she wrote entertaining vignettes about different episodes in her life and compiled them in a thick binder.
She was ultimately able to fulfill her travel ambitions by experiencing the cultures of many places, including Ireland, France, Germany, Brazil, India, Egypt, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar, China, and Thailand. Her travel companions would say she sought out adventure and to have fun and was undaunted by minor setbacks.
She is survived by her sister, Carol, and children, Michael, Mary, and Sheila.
A memorial service will be held at 10:30 a.m. Monday, May 22, at Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Church, 435 N. Berkeley Ave, Claremont 91711. A reception will follow at Walter’s Restaurant, 310 N. Yale Ave., Claremont 91711.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donating to a charity of your choice.