September 29, 1939—July 17, 2016
Joan Marie Loranger passed away peacefully on the afternoon of July 17, 2016, surrounded by the sons and daughters she raised with love, grace and laughter. She was 76.
She is survived by all four of her children and their families: Margaret Loranger of Chicago, Ill.; Mary Jo Anderson (John, Johnny, Vincent
and Patrick) of South Bend; Guy Loranger (Holly, Bryna, Madeleine and Phoebe) of Mebane, N.C; and Henry Loranger of South Bend.
Joan – called “Joanie” by family and friends – touched many lives from many different walks of life. She was known for her courage, strength and Catholic faith as well as her incredible sense of humor and a sparkle of Irish mischief in her blue eyes.
She was an active member of Sacred Heart Parish for more than 30 years and, most recently, served on the Parish Council. Her favorite works of charity involved volunteering at Our Lady of the Road, Right to Life and the St. Vincent DePaul Society.
For seven years, she served as Executive Director of the Forever Learning Institute, which she transformed into a thriving center for learning and enlightenment for South Bend’s elderly residents.
Joan was born on September 29, 1939, in Detroit, Mich., the daughter of John and Margaret (Brennan) Fellrath. She had four siblings – John, Henry, Peggy and Carolyn – and two angels lost shortly after birth – Vincent and Catherine.
She attended Gesu Grade School, Immaculata High School and the University of Detroit. After earning her Education degree in 1961, she served as a teacher in Southfield, Mich.
In the early 1980s, drawing strength from prayer and her unshakable belief in God’s will, Joan separated from a husband who had brought many struggles to her family due to his alcoholism. On her own, she built a good life for herself and her children.
She worked for many years at Notre Dame, paving the way for three of her children to earn degrees from the university as well as herself – a Master’s of Science in Administration in 1992. Two children became lawyers. Another is a Chicago Public Schools administrator. The other, an Indiana University graduate, now works at Notre Dame himself.
They were by her side when she took her last breath after two weeks of fighting the complications brought on by a massive stroke. It was a sunny, breezy July afternoon – the type of day she would have normally spent at the pool, talking with God.
“The will to survive is an inheritance,” Joan recently wrote in her memoir. “It lives on in the lives of those who have a healthy fear of God as well as the willingness to learn from their mistakes.”
Visitation will be held from 4-8 p.m., Sunday, July 24, at the McGann Hay Granger Chapel (13260 S.R. 23 enter off Cherry Road) where the Holy Rosary will be prayed at 4:00pm. The funeral will be held Monday, July 25, at 9:30 a.m., at the Sacred Heart Basilica. Burial will take place at Cedar Grove Cemetery followed by a luncheon reception.
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