Lorella Marie (nee McCormack) Huff, 78, of Kaneville, passed away unexpectedly, following a car accident on Feb. 5, 2013.
Lorella was born at home in Zion in 1934 to Merton L. and Leona (Baker) McCormack. She and her two sisters and baby brother were raised by Leona in the Baker grandparents’ home on Elisha.
Lorella met the love of her life, Richard F. Huff, during their high school years. They attended different high schools, but during their courtship, Richard began attending Lorella’s church, Grace Missionary Fellowship, pastored by Rev. Lee Skinner. Richard not only began his life’s faith journey at Grace, but he also enjoyed playing on their softball team, where he was cheered on by Lorella, as well as Richard’s cousin Danny, who eventually married Lorella’s sister Lavonne, whom he met at those ballgames. Lorella graduated from Zion Benton Township High School in 1952.
Richard and Lorella were married in 1954 and settled in Waukegan, on Brookside Avenue, to raise their family of three girls. While Richard worked as a computer operations supervisor at the Great Lakes Naval Station as a civilian, Lorella worked at Johnson Motors as an executive secretary. She had excellent office skills including shorthand, which she used daily for the rest of her life. Also, her beautiful penmanship was nearly calligraphic in perfection, as if it were typeset.
In 1974, Lorella and Richard relocated to the Harrisburg, Penn., area for Richard’s job. The Mechanicsburg Navy Depot benefitted from his computer expertise.
The Huff’s once again settled down and attended the Hershey Evangelical Free Church, pastored by Revs. David V. Martin and Bob Sproul. Lorella used her knack for office administration to work for Jack Snavely Insurance in Lemoyne, Penn.
Everywhere she went, she spread her care and love for others with her generous and incredible baking, sewing, knitting, quilting and scrapbooking. She became one of the top volunteers at Holy Spirit Hospital in Camp Hill, Penn.; she knit baby caps for the newborns, racking up well over 10,000 hours of service. Lorella had so many talents that she shared so unselfishly bringing joy to others. It was no wonder that no one could ever “out-give” Lorella.
Lorella’s faith in God was her bedrock, and nothing could shake that foundation. Even when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1980, she relied on God’s strength in the difficult battle, and by His grace, lived cancer-free for 25 years. Just when Lorella was hitting her stride during remission, her world was turned upside down in 1988, when her beloved Richard died of cancer after 34 years of marriage. She would never recover fully from this loss, feeling his absence daily to her very last day.
In 2005, Lorella’s cancer returned, and once again she began her fight in earnest. Always the quintessential patient advocate for herself, she armed herself with ongoing and persistent research. She spoke with her doctors using their medical terminology, pushing them to stay current on their own research and taking copious notes in that shorthand learned long ago. She carried all medical records with her, often providing the physicians with copies of reports they hadn’t even seen.
In 2007, she left her dear community of friends in central Pennsylvania to live closer to her youngest daughter, settling into small-town life in quaint Kaneville, where she continued to shower her generosity and kindness on the people around her. She was a regular at the “Purple store,” the post office, bank and library, enjoying the many varied community functions.
Lorella was thrilled to live close to her granddaughter Alicia, and one of her brightest joys was hearing those “happy feet” running down the hallway to her door.
Known as the family “archivist,” Lorella spent countless hours in her last few years compiling book after book of family history and photos for family members. Most dear to her were her four grandchildren: Don, Christina, Garrett and Alicia. Each one was very precious, and each carries memories of her extravagant love and care.
Family was central to Lorella. Every relative has a story of how much she loved them, how she remembered their birthdays unfailingly, her incredible generosity and tenacious faith in God. She was always serving others, fixing meals, constantly making something for someone. She always had at least one, usually several, projects going on—a sweater, a baby blanket, a family history scrapbook.
Lorella was snatched away too quickly from us. While we were not ready to let her go, she was ready to be with her Lord and reunited with her beloved Ritchie. We look forward to the day when we also will see clearly, face to face. God’s timing is perfect.
She is survived by three daughters, Tanya M. Sandholm of Fullerton, Calif., Leona M. (Mike) Zawoysky of Gainesville, Va., and Susan M. (Jon) Diaz of Elburn; four grandchildren, Donald W. (Grace) Tjader III of Wisconsin, Christina M. (Kees) Slot of Virginia, Garrett Zawoysky of Virginia, and Alicia M. Diaz of Illinois; three siblings, Lucille M. Camp of Alabama, Lavonne M. (LeRoy) Klemm of Arizona, and M. Leroy (Beverly) McCormack of Georgia; one brother-in-law, Roger (Christa) Huff of Arizona; and over 70 nieces and nephews, multiple generations, all dearly loved and cherished.
Lorella was preceded in death by her parents, and her husband, Richard F. Huff.
Lorella’s family will host a memorial service to celebrate her life at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Geneva on Saturday, Feb. 23, at 1 p.m. An open house with refreshments will follow take place from 2 to 4 p.m.
The family asks for friends and relatives to reflect and share memories at www.memorialwebsites.legacy.com/LorellaHuff.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to one of Lorella’s favorite ministries: Zion Evangelical Ministries of Africa, Insight for Living or NightSounds. Mail to Lorella Huff Memorial, P.O. Box 24, Kaneville IL 60144.