On the homestead ranch of Finnish immigrant grandparents, Kristian and Maria Nikula of Roberts, Lorraine Alice (Luoma) Jokela was born Jan. 11, 1928. She was the first child born to Alice Nikula and Theodore (Ted) Luoma, Red Lodge. Lorraine spent her early childhood in the Roberts/Red Lodge area with her parents and two younger sisters, LaVerne and Marcella. Lorraine’s father, a versatile and talented musician was a member of a popular traveling band and performed at Red Lodge’s Festival of Nations.
He instilled a love and appreciation of music in his children, and realizing Lorraine’s talents he saw that she received music lessons through her childhood. When Lorraine began First Grade in Cooke City, she lived in a tent with her parents along the Beartooth Pass while her father did construction work building that scenic route. She has fond memories of the one-room, log cabin schoolhouse she attended there. She relocated to the Roberts/Red Lodge area, living with relatives, for several more years while her parents traveled for work. She joined her father and new stepmother, Helmi (Pearl) Mursu Luoma, through her middle school and junior high years in Butte.
While babysitting there for Eddie Jokela's niece, she heard about the man who was to become her future husband. She then moved to El Cerrito, Calif., for her sophomore and junior years of high school to live with her mother and stepfather, Chuck Warren Sr. Lorraine's father Ted, however, urged her to leave California to live with him again, this time in northern Minnesota. During her senior year at Frazee, Minn., Lorraine waitressed at a café in Detroit Lakes and visited with a soldier, recently home from the war. They both spoke the Finnish language fluently, and Lorraine soon realized that this is the soldier she had heard about years before in Butte. It wasn’t long before they were dating. Lorraine graduated from Frazee, Minn., with the Class of 1946. She married Eddie Jokela on June 15, 1947, celebrating 62 years before Eddie passed on Jan. 12, 2010. Lorraine and Eddie purchased land between his mother's and the original Jokela Homestead near Wolf Lake where they operated a dairy farm. Lorraine encouraged Eddie to use his First Sergeant voice to begin auctioneering in 1949.They also discovered their shared talents and love for music. In 1950, near the time their second child was born, they began a band which grew to be hugely popular, especially because of Lorraine’s musical abilities. Lorraine carried the band through on piano, saxophone and vocals, performing all the latest hits of the time. Eddie played drums and the accordion.
Lorraine loved to perform Patsy Cline’s repertoire and gave stunning performances with her Patsy sound and look. Performing weekends across northern Minnesota, Swing & Sway with M & J, was usually booked two years in advance, with Lorraine bringing new Western and Big Band music to this area. The band performed for 12 years while Lorraine also hunted deer, was a league bowler, played softball, worked for Park Rapids Area Schools as a Nurse’s Assistant & Secretary, baked her awesome Finnish Flatbread and downhill skied when not pregnant. She was a mother to six children over 17 years. She often would joke, “They’re not cheaper by the half-dozen either!” Lorraine and Eddie owned and operated the first Park Rapids Sales Barn, and worked at many others in Minnesota’s northern region, Bemidji, Thief River Falls, Winger and others. In 1968, Lorraine began clerking and accounting services for Eddie’s auctions; hence Jokela Auction Company was formed as a result of her efforts. She was a member of St. John's Lutheran Church for 50 years and the American Legion Auxiliary for 45 years. Lorraine took great pride in her children and made extra efforts to instill confidence in each of them by encouraging music lessons, athletics or fitness, academics, and horsemanship skills (another personal passion of hers). She worked hard to see that her children had everything they needed (and often what they wanted too), including good dental and medical care. She was known for driving many miles to take her children to receive the best care possible.
Her children and grandchildren fondly remember her singing or reading them bedtime stories, checking on them with a flashlight late into the night, and waiting on them hand and foot like a waitress and nurse when they didn’t feel well. She was as good a dancer as a singer, and all her children (and older grandchildren) got private dance lessons in the farmhouse kitchen! Lorraine persevered through many medical complications since Eddie passed away in 2010. She died peacefully Sunday night, Oct. 20, 2013. Lorraine is preceded in death by her parents, her husband Eddie, her sibling Renee Warren Abelson (Ore.), step-sister June Kennedy Eckert (N.D.) and children Roxanne Bishop Magnuson and Rhonda Annette. Survivors include Lorraines’ siblings Laverne (Dave) Letofsky (Denver, Colo.), Marcella (Ray) Goody (Gresham, Ore.), Roy Warren (Costa Rica), Charles Warren Jr. (Boring, Ore.); Lorraines’ children Randy (Denese) Jokela, Jolene (David) Veo, Jody (Nick) De Carlo (Red Lodge), Jon Peter (Deb) Jokela (Cold Spring, Minn.); grandchildren Greg, Quinn and Talia Bishop, Loni (Bill) Magnuson, Brett (Rachel) Bishop, Jay Annette, Peyton Jokela, Logan Veo, Mike and Colson De Carlo, Luke, Bridger and Drew Jokela, as well as great-grandchildren: Trinity and Gregory Bishop, Bode, Riggs and Tade Magnuson, Jozie Bishop.
Visitation for Lorraine Jokela will be held 5 p.m.- 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 1 at Jones-Pearson Funeral Home in Park Rapids, Minn. Funeral services will begin with a viewing time at 11 a.m., followed by the funeral at "High Noon" at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Park Rapids, Minn. With Reverend James Neubauer and Pastor Tim Heinecke officiating. A reception will follow in the church Fellowship Hall before internment at Green Valley Cemetery, southwest of Park Rapids. More socializing will ensue at Blueberry Pines north of Menahga. In lieu of flowers, donations to the MS Society is appreciated. To leave on line condolences please visit www.jonespearson.com .