When Fred Stobaugh’s wife of 73 years passed away, the 96-year-old man penned a love song in her honor.
Stobaugh wrote the song “Oh Sweet Lorraine” on impulse after his wife’s death. When he heard about a local singer-songwriter contest by Green Shoe Studios in Peoria, Ill., he decided to send his handwritten lyrics in a large manila envelope describing his broken heart.
“Oh sweet, Lorraine, I wish we could do all the good times over again,” the song starts. “Oh sweet, Lorraine. Life only goes around once but never again.”
Continue Reading Below
Stobaugh said the lyrics came to him one evening at home. “I kept humming it and saying it,” he said. “It just fit her.”
He didn’t think he would hear back from his snail mail submission to the local contest and was surprised when producer Jacob Colgan called him with good news. The studio would professionally produce the song for free.
“We decided we were going to do this just from reading the letter without even meeting Fred,” Colgan said. When he called Stobaugh to tell him the news, the man began to cry over the phone.
Fred and Lorraine met at an A&W carhop in Peoria, Ill., in 1938. "She was just the prettiest girl I ever saw. I just fell in love with her right there," Stobaugh said. They dated for two years, married, had three children and four grandchildren.
"That was a wonderful 75 years. I often think I was dreaming or something, but it was real," Stobaugh said. Lorraine died on April 26 -- two months to the day before the couple’s 74th wedding anniversary. “I really really miss her,” he said. "It just don’t seem right. Like a dream.”