July 1, 1929-Feb. 12, 2022
East Palo Alto, California
Lorraine Dabney was called by The Lord Jan 12th after an extended illness. She was preceded in 1999 by her devoted husband and life partner, George Dabney, her parents Essau and Essie Westmoreland, and her siblings Tammy, Essie, and Jimmy. She is succeeded by her only child, George Dabney, Jr., daughter-in-law Laura, and grandchildren, Ashley and Tylor.
A Chicago native, she graduated from Lane College (BA – English) in 1952 and completed graduate studies at San Francisco State, earning her Masters Degree and teaching credential.
While on a Bay Area vacation after college, she met her husband-to-be George Lurton Dabney, also an accomplished career educator, serving on the faculty of several Bay Area colleges and universities as an academic leader – prominently College of San Mateo and De Anza College, where he was appointed Professor in 1968, later serving as Dean of its Social Sciences and Humanities Division.
A resident of Palo Alto and the Mid-Peninsula for 7 decades, Lorraine touched many lives. Her childhood dream to be a teacher grew with her to become her vocation, including service at Redwood City elementary schools for 42 years. Upon retirement in 1998, she volunteered for many years at St. Elizabeth Seton School, Palo Alto. Her distinguished lifetime as an educator was celebrated in 2019 through the Black Legends Hall of Fame Silicon Valley “Banks-Gage” Award in recognition of her inspired contributions, professional excellence, and dedicated service to the African American and greater Bay Area community, cited as “an example of outstanding citizenship, personal sacrifice, and individual commitment.”
Lorraine influenced many through a wide range of affiliations as an activist, organizer, leader, and mentor. Prominent is her influence as “Soror Dabney” with her “Divine Nine” college sorority, Delta Sigma Theta, on national and local levels, including serving for 27 years as a focal advisor to its Omicron Chi Chapter at Stanford. Similarly, she was a standout in her contributions within The Links, a national service organization of African-American professional women, where she was Past President – Peninsula Bay Chapter, among other leadership positions. Thoroughly committed to her community, she was a founding member of the San Jose Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, dedicated to nurturing future African-American leaders by strengthening children through leadership development, volunteer service, philanthropic giving, and civic duty. Among other commitments, she was a co-founder of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Silicon Valley Chapter – her participation later recognized through its Woman of the Year Award.
Her organizational and communications skills were also activated in her decades of contributions to her church: St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Parish in Palo Alto, where she was on the St. Elizabeth Seton School Advisory Board – among other positions of influence. In recognition of her diverse, meaningful life of faithful stewardship, she received the Pope Paul VI Service Award from the National Conference of Catholic Bishops. Her motto: “Live a Christian Life and do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
Lorraine loved to be surrounded by her family, friends, fellow parishioners, and Sorors – in particular. Always dignified and fashionable, there were few moments more memorable for her than when she was robed for a Sorority gathering in one of her favorite red “Delta” dresses with matching accessories. A close “second” was Lorraine faithfully sporting her favorite 49ers togs as she and “George Senior” headed out for the next Sunday afternoon contest at Candlestick Park.
Lorraine will be remembered through a service at St. Thomas Aquinas Church, Palo Alto, TBD. Donations in her honor may be dedicated to Jack and Jill of America – San Jose Chapter (jackandjillsj.org).