96-year-old’s poem to late wife professionally recorded
A 96-year-old Illinois man wrote a song about his wife of 75 years and when he sent the heart-wrenching ode into a singer-songwriter contest, they decided to produce it for him. When Fred Stobaugh talks about his wife Lorraine now, it’s hard for him to hold back tears after the life they led together he says was ‘like a dream.’ After she died, he was sitting alone in the Peoria home they once shared and for the first time in his life he decided to write a song. It just fit her,’ Stobaugh said.
After penning ‘Oh Sweet Lorraine,’ he saw an ad in the local paper for a singer-songwriter contest. Though he was neither of those things, he decided to send in the ballad. ‘I’ll just send a letter,’ he remembered thinking, though the contest rules asked for a video of the songwriter entrants actually performing their song. ‘Send it all in. Never thinking I’d get an answer or nothing.’
But when the contest runner received just one giant manila envelope in a sea of emailed entries, they took notice. They never expected anything quite like what Fred sent them. ‘In fact,’ said Jacob Colgan of Green Shoe Studio, who ran the contest, ‘on the actual envelope itself, it says “I don’t sing, I would scare people, haha!”‘ Nonetheless, the emotion behind the lyrics was enough convince the studio they wanted the song.
When Stobaugh talks about his late wife, he gets a faraway look in his eyes. ‘She was the prettiest girl ya ever saw,’ he said. ‘She gave me 75 years of her.’ Jacob decided his company would have ‘Sweet Lorraine professionally recorded. When Colgan contacted Stobaugh to tell him the good news, the bereaved husband welled up with tears. ‘Why would you want to do that,’ he wondered. But to Colgan and his crew at Green Shoe, the answer was obvious. Your song touched us,’ Colgan told Stobaugh.
They set to work, collaborating with Stobaugh to craft a that would do Lorraine justice. When the song was finished, though, Colgan had reservations about letting Stobaugh have a listen. ‘Because it meant so much to him it meant so much to me,’ Colgan said. ‘I was actually nervous.’ He need not have been. Stobaugh could barely hold back his emotion as the songs final refrain, ‘the memories will always linger on,’ finished playing. ‘It’s wonderful,’ he said. ‘Just wonderful.’ Stobaugh’s touching dedication to his wife of over seven decades is available on iTunes.