By Kath Gannaway
Charles and Lorraine Hort were soul mates for the best part of 60 years.
Surrounded by family and friends, on 28 September this year, their wish to be together forever was realised in a beautiful, dual internment ceremony at Healesville Cemetery.
Charles died on 27 June, 2016 and Lorraine just over a year later on 31 August, 2017.
Each in their own way had made a huge contribution to community life in Healesville.
They met in 1954 when Charles left Healesville to go to share farming at Retreat near Finley, New South Wales. Lorraine Horneman caught his eye, and after a five-year courtship, they married in April 1961.
They bought the property over the road from where Lorraine grew up, built a house, dairy farm and life together, raising five children, Neil, Christine, Wendy, Sandra and Alyson, on the farm.
Family life was at the heart of the many interests they shared over a loving and fulfilling life together.
Charlie as he was known, was born on 28 February 1931, the fifth child of seven to Arthur and Doris Hort. He went to Healesville State School, leaving school at 14 to work at French’s Laundry. He later worked at various timber mills before leaving Healesville to take on share farming.
After farming in New South Wales, the Horts returned to Healesville where Charlie bought into the The Park Drive Motel (where Beechworth Bakery is now) owned by his brother Bill. As always, Lorraine worked side by side with Charlie at the motel.
Sport was always part of Charlie’s life, and he was a high achiever.
He took up cycling at 16 with Healesville Amateur Cycling Club, leading Healesville teams to numerous wins and championships including the All Round Road Championship in 1950 which he won by a margin of six minutes.
He played tennis in Healesville and Finley, again notching up numerous premierships, and while playing in a tennis tournament in 1957 decided to try his luck in a local foot race. A surprise win saw him compete at many sports days and turn professional two years later.
Golf was another interest he brought back to Healesville and, as with all his sporting interests, he enjoyed both the competition and the camaraderie.
Bowling became his passion in later life, and he was both a champion pennant bowler and held many leadership positions at Healesville Bowling Club over 25 years.
Community service was something Charles and Lorraine embraced. Charlie served on numerous committees from school and sports clubs to church, fire brigade and hall committees.
After returning to Healesville, he served as secretary and president with Healesville Garden Club and Healesville and District Tourism Association where he spent many years promoting Healesville in Melbourne, Victoria and interstate, and where he was honoured as the association’s first Life Member.
Lorraine was born in Finley on13 May, 1941, the eldest of Charles and Eileen Horneman’s
six children. She was raised on the family farm ‘Braemar’ at Retreat with traditional values and skills of that era such as cooking, sewing, knitting and embroidery.
At school she played hockey and was a Girl Guide, and after leaving school, in what would now be Year 9, she worked at the local Finley chemist.
She was 19 when she was crowned ‘Miss Finley Show Girl’ in 1960.
Like Charlie, Lorraine was a hard worker, and in the early years of their marriage became an Avon consultant to help with the family finances. She also took over the dairy at times so Charlie could take on other work.
She played tennis and later took up golf in Finley, sports she continued when they moved to Healesville.
Dances at Retreat were a regular family outing, and of course, they were regulars at balls in Healesville.
Lorraine’s talent and skill with sewing and knitting and other craft were not only activities that she loved, but made a valuable contribution to keeping the family well fed and dressed and later providing extra funds to pay for holidays she and Charlie shared to places all around the world and caravanning to many parts of Australia.
Lorraine started her own wedding dress business and many Healesville brides and debutantes walked out in their dream dress, thanks to her outstanding sewing and design skills, including her own children and grandchildren.
Healesville was very much home to Charlie and Lorraine Hort and their shared values of integrity, hard work and community spirit gained them the respect and friendship of many.
People loved Charlie for his wit and ability to put people at ease, Lorraine for her warmth, persistence and friendship … and for much more.
Laid to rest together was recognition of their devotion to each other and their wish to be soul mates forever.