Lorraine Alice Bourgois, 89, of Bismarck, passed away on September 16, 2023.
A memorial service will be held at 11:00 AM, Saturday, October 7, at St. George's Episcopal Memorial Church, 601 N 4th St, Bismarck. Family will begin greeting guests one hour prior to the service.
Interment will be held at the North Dakota Veterans Cemetery, Mandan, at a later date.
Lorraine was born on February 2, 1934 to Justine “Jean” Bailey and Walter Milton Bailey, in Bismarck, ND. In early childhood Lorraine started playing the violin at age 5 at the Mehus Conservatory and she was an original member of the “Little Symphony” at what is now known as the Belle in Bismarck.
Lorraine graduated from Bismarck High School and then attended Bismarck Hospital School of Nursing graduating from the Registered Nurse program in 1955, later she received her Bachelor of Nursing degree from the University of Mary in 1978.
Lorraine and Roger Barlow Bourgois were married at St. George’s Episcopal Church, Bismarck on February 12, 1956. In the early years of their marriage, Roger was in the Air Force stationed in Denver, CO and later in Rome, NY. Lorraine practiced nursing at hospitals in both locations. During this time they had two daughters Vonne born in Denver and Jill born in Rome.
After Roger’s term of service, they moved back to the family farm/ranch operation north of Bismarck and built their home. Lorraine continued her nursing practice and eventually became involved with the North Dakota Nurses Association. She was a registered lobbyist in Washington, D.C. and along with a core of women, worked to improve nursing standards of practice promoting professionalism and education for all positions of nursing. This helped to move nurses into specialties that we see today.
Lorraine was also an active proponent of the Equal Rights Amendment known as ERA. While this amendment did not become part of the US Constitution, it did open doors in a time when women couldn’t have checking accounts, credit cards, have equal pay for equal work. She involved her daughters in knowing what it was about, and doing simple things to help, like stuffing envelopes.
Nursing was of her soul, though. She started in medicine as a Candy Striper, became an RN, worked in the tough situations of the Emergency Room and Intensive Care Units. Eventually she became the Director of Nursing at Bismarck Hospital. And she was at the helm when Bismarck Hospital was rebuilt into Medcenter One which is now Sanford Health in Bismarck.
She retired after Vonne and Jill finished their degrees at UND. For awhile, that is. She became active in Farm Bureau’s program for providing emergency trauma kits to be at the ready in case of farm accidents. In that time, she also learned to operate a tractor on the ranch and disk fields and run a combine. Later, she went back to work at St. Alexis, now known as CHI St. Alexius and worked in Home Health and Hospice. She then retired a second time. But…not completely. She volunteered in the Kidney Dialysis program at CHI until she could no longer drive. She was known for her kindness with patients and assisted in making supply kits used by the patients.
Lorraine was involved actively in other organizations too. Cow Belles which evolved into North Dakota and National Cattlewomen and Toastmistress. As a Toastmistress she became and served as a Registered Parliamentarian.
Lorraine is survived by daughters Vonne Bourgois Tarnavsky and Jill Bourgois. She leaves one grandson, Gus Tarnavsky, and her brothers and sisters-in-law, Walter and Mary Jo Bailey, Sally and Bill Pratt and Robert Dunigan.
She is preceded in death by her parents, Jean and Walter Bailey, her loving husband, Roger Barlow Bourgois, her brother Roger Bailey, her son-in-law Morris Tarnavsky and sisters-in-law Mavis Klueter and Virginia Dunnigan and brother-in-law David Bourgois.
Memorials can be sent to University of Mary School of Nursing or a charity of your choice.