Saturday, December 16, 2023
10:30 AM EST
St. Edith Catholic Church
Livonia, MI 48154
At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
Macular Degeneration Foundation
Life Story / Obituary
Generous, patient, and persevering, OraMae Rausch lived a life rich in faith, family, and friends. OraMae led with her heart in all things. She was kind and forgiving and always available to support those she loved. Whether tending to her family or fellow parishioners, OraMae shared her strength, hope, and love with a warm smile and unwavering compassion. A devoted wife, mother, grandmother, and friend, OraMae will long be remembered and so very missed.
Despite the obvious gloom of the Great Depression, 1934 gave birth to many celebrated firsts. Flash Gordon made his debut while Fuji Photo Film first captured memories. The Three Stooges took center stage in their first short while the nation also met Donald Duck. The rays of Hope peeked through the clouds of despair in America when unemployment decreased to 22%, marking the turning point in the Great Depression. Nowhere was there a greater sense of hope than in the home of Odas and Lela Hardin as they welcomed their daughter OraMae to their family on June 28 in Coal Creek, Tennessee.
An original coal miner's daughter, OraMae's father followed work in the coal mines and moved his family to Harlan, Kentucky, shortly after she was born. Her childhood was simple and happy. She helped her mother warm water on the cast iron stove each night for her father as he came home from work covered in coal dust, and she was close to her grandmother, Ethyl Ora Poynter. Ethyl ran a boarding home for miners. In high school, OraMae spent time with her grandmother, helping with the guests.
OraMae always reflected on her childhood and teen years as happy times. She loved to walk the railroad with her high school with her best friend Jackie Sue, singing songs as they walked in the valleys of the mountains and listening to their echoing voices. She wasn't involved in sports or clubs, just boys.
After graduation, OraMae's father moved the family once again. As the automobile industry in Michigan was growing and offered him the opportunity to stay out of the mines, he moved the family north. OraMae begged her father to let her stay in Kentucky, but he insisted she move north also, which meant leaving her high school sweetheart behind. The family settled in Berkley, Michigan.
OraMae met her husband, James Rausch, on a blind date organized by a girlfriend. She remembered that as he met her at the door, she immediately thought, "Oh, he is short," and instantly went back in the house and replaced her heels with flats so she would not appear taller than her date. At that time, James was attending General Motors Institute and staying with his aunt and uncle during holidays, also in Berkley. After a few months of dating, James proposed, and OraMae said, "Yes!" As she was Baptist and James was Catholic, OraMae attended Catholic marriage classes with the help of her sister Shirley Ann.
After James graduated from GMI, the happy couple married on August 17, 1957, in Royal Oak, Michigan, officially beginning their 59-year adventure. The newlyweds bought their first house on Santa Barbara Street in Flint, Michigan. In November 1959, Mark, their first child was born, followed by their daughter Debra in January 1962. While James continued his career with Chevrolet, OraMae dedicated herself to creating a happy and healthy home for her family. After General Motors transferred the family to Missouri for two years, then back to Michigan, they settled in Fenton, Michigan, and welcomed their third child, Diane, in October 1965.
OraMae and Jim felt family trips and vacations were an essential part of family life, and many summers were spent either at their cabin on Canada Creek Ranch in Atlanta, Michigan and boating all through Upper Michigan. Memorable trips to Mackinac Island and eating dinner at the Mackinac Island Yacht Club were also enjoyed.
Once her children were older, OraMae began working as a secretary at St. John's Catholic Church in Fenton. She served the congregation with signature warmth and commitment to excellent care for many years. As her children grew into adulthood, OraMae's relationship shifted from a caregiving mother to a friend who was always available to listen, offer advice, or just have fun. Whenever and however, she was needed, she was ready to go!
After her husband passed away in 2017, OraMae's vacations turned into adventures with her children. These included trips to Abaco, Italy, and Bermuda. Her joy of music led her to numerous Elton John concerts and her ultimate favorite performer, Phil Collins. She spent countless hours researching her genealogy, taking several trips south to Harlan, Crab Orchard, Somerset, and Lynch, Kentucky, following her mother's line. From there, she was off to Jasper to follow her father's line. After inviting her daughters to join her on these explorations, they soon realized the rich history she wanted to share. So much so that in 2022, OraMae shared her road trip history with her grandson James, niece Ann, and daughter Alex, who all experienced the inside of an authentic coal mine.
Though OraMae was never one to boast, her greatest joy was her family. She proudly cheered on her children's personal and professional accomplishments and generously extended herself to anyone who needed anything.
OraMae's greatest struggle in life was the slow loss of her eyesight. As macular degeneration slowly robbed her of her eyesight and crippled her love of research and scrapbooking. Although it became harder for her to see, she never gave up on documenting her family history. She invested in magnifying devices that provided views and photograph identification. She also invested in lighting modifications, telling her carpenter, "I want enough light in this room to land a plane!" As the disease progressed, she was grateful her love of genealogy, storytelling, and scrapbooking was preserved and shared with her children, grandchildren, nieces, and nephew.
Clearly, the world feels far less certain in the absence of OraMae's steadfast love and kindness. May we find much comfort in our many treasured memories and the honor of carrying her beautiful legacy forward. In each moment we choose faith, hope, and love over fear, confidently face life's challenges, give of ourselves in service, and learn or share our family's history. We keep OraMae's spirit alive and inspiring others as she so inspired each of us.
OraMae Rausch of Livonia passed away December 9, 2023. She was born June 28, 1934, in Coal Creek, Tennessee, to Odas and Lela Hardin. Beloved wife of the late James. Loving mother of Mark (Linda) Rausch, Debra (the late Kenneth) Welsh, and Diane (Jeff) Hoffman. Dearest grandmother of James and the late Robert. Dear sister of the late Shirley Ann Bommarito. OraMae is also survived by many nieces and nephews. Visitation Friday, December 15, 2023, from 4-7:00 pm with an opportunity for memory sharing 6:30 pm at Neely-Turowski Funeral Home, 30200 Five Mile Rd., Livonia, Michigan 48154. Instate Saturday, December 16, 2023, 10:00am until the time of mass 10:30am at St. Edith Catholic Church, 15089 Newburgh Rd., Livonia, Michigan 48154. Entombment will take place at Oakwood Cemetery, Saginaw, Michigan. Memorial contributions may be directed to the Macular Degeneration Foundation, www.eyesight.org.