Celebrating 100 Years of Oakland Technical High School
Marjorie Lorraine White ’27
Married 11 Jan. 1934 in Alameda, to fellow Tech student Don Thomas;
Died 25 May 1986, Santa Rosa, Calif.
Father: Edward H. White, – dentist. Graduated from North Pacific College Ore. Descended (mostly) from early new Englanders.
Mother: Katherine Cramer – nurse. Descended (mostly) from early Californians, including four members of the Anza expedition: Pedro Antonio Bojorquez, and Maria Angela Trejo, whose marriage was one of the first in San Francisco in 1777; and Ygnacio Jose Linares and Maria Gertrudis Rivas. Through these ancestors Lorraine was related to both Antonio Peralta and his wife Maria Antonia Galindo. (who owned much of the East Bay)
She was also related to Che Guevara.
Lorraine’ s early childhood was spent in Eugene and Grant’s Pass Ore. where she was surrounded by aunts and cousins, but in 1916 the family moved to the Bay area for her mother’s health. In California, the family initially settled in Piedmont where Lorraine attended Piedmont schools, and from the photos appears to have been very happy. Then her vivacious mother, Katherine, died of TB. Lorraine’s father quickly remarried presumably in order to provide a mother for Lorraine. This did not work out well. Lorraine was further unsettled by the family moving, in her junior year, to Oakland and a transfer to Tech, a much larger high school. However she did attain “Privileged Student” status for her final year, despite these set backs.
After graduation from Tech Lorraine attended UCBerkeley for a short time but did not like sorority life, so she left and set up her own dress making business. She also became an apprentice in Capwell’s millinery department making custom hats, and to the end of her life if you gave her fabric or yarn and a sewing machine or knitting needles the result was something awesome.
In 1934 Lorraine married (William) Donald Thomas, newspaper reporter for the Oakland Tribune, and one year behind Lorraine at Tech. As Don’s reporting assignments changed the couple moved around the bay area (Pittsburg, Martinez, San Leandro etc) until 1939, when, with a two year old son and another child on the way, they bought a tiny cottage in the Oakland Hills. They lived there (after adding a couple of rooms) until 1965, and both children attended Tech.
Don’s job often took him away from home for extended periods covering the State legislature, political conventions etc, leaving Lorraine to do all of the household management and child rearing.
However several of the young mothers in the area managed to find time (once the children were in school) to get together for a weekly round of golf. This was what Lorraine really enjoyed.
As the family grew up and she had more time Lorraine become a very good golfer, competing in (and winning) local and regional tournaments, bringing home a lot of trophies.
Then there was a big change. The Los Angeles Times, which had already made several tempting offers to Don, in 1965 made him an offer that he couldn’t refuse, so Don left the Tribune and with Lorraine moved south to Los Angeles.
Golf proved to be a good way to get to know people for a house wife with no Los Angeles connections. Later, when Don retired, they moved North again, this time to Santa Rosa where Lorraine continued to play golf until her health became a problem. She did however live to enjoy two grandchildren.
Submitted by Greg Thomas (class of ’55) and his wife Judy