Living History with Lorraine Liese

In an age when every college student is worried about their major and their career path, Lorraine offered wisdom and reassurance. Don’t worry about your major, she advised, study what interests you because you don’t know where it will take you and you’ll work in a lot of professions in a lifetime. And Lorraine should know, because the first question one would ask would be how did a girl from rural Gibson Township near Larabee, Wisconsin, end up with a degree from Concordia College in Lake Forest, Illinois – in the 1940s.

Recounting the tears that choosing a major brought her, she said that as a teacher she always told parents to let their children find their way and their passion. “I spent the summer crying,” Lorraine assured. By the end of the summer, Lorraine took her choice of the limited professional occupations open to women had registered at the Manitowoc UW-Extension with an education major and geography minor – her favorite subject. After she completed two years here, she looked for a Lutheran college where she could have a maximum number of credits transfer and with a four-year degree in hand, was hired to teach third through fifth grade in Paterson, New Jersey.

Her career took her closer to home several years later as she taught at Zion Lutheran in South Milwaukee before returning to Manitowoc classrooms. Learning is a life-long endeavor, Lorraine will assure you and she made another daring educational move when she moved to Whitewater and enrolled in a master’s program which qualified her for teaching high school business courses. Was it difficult to go back, we asked her since often people in their forties hesitate in returning to the classroom. “Yes, it was,” she said, “but you appreciate it more than you did in your teens and twenties.” She also said that having very a supportive family was important to her success.

Lorraine Liese

1921 – 2013. We are grateful to Lorraine for sharing her story

Lorraine Liese


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