Joined in love for more than 33 years, Sue and Archie Lorentzen departed these earthly bonds together at home, with Sue passing away Dec. 9, and Archie following only four days later, on Dec. 13, 2014. Both died of natural causes.
Sue Juan Jones was born in Chandler, Oklahoma, on Nov. 7, 1932. She was 82.
Archie T. Lorentzen was born on a cattle ranch near Hinsdale, Montana, on Feb. 24, 1931, and raised in the Bitterroot Valley. He was 83.
Sue: One of five children, Sue’s father worked in the oil patch. She lived in Grand Falls and Emperial, Texas; Findlay, Ohio; Oklahoma City and Hobbs, New Mexico.
When 19, Sue married petroleum engineer Tom Webb. He died unexpectedly at a young age.
Later, while staying at her aunt’s house in Texas, Sue met Archie, who was installing a heater. This started the Lorentzens’ three-decade romance.
Sue was a Girl Scout, Rainbow girl and 4-H member. Later she joined the Elks Lodge with Archie.
Archie: Archie graduated from Darby High School and enlisted in the Air Force. Initially he played bagpipes in the Air Force band. When Archie aced an aptitude test, however, the Air Force realized Archie had talents beyond music. The Air Force retired Archie’s pipes and promoted him to fighter pilot, a rare achievement for a high school graduate with no college degree.
Archie flew 129 combat missions in Vietnam. He earned numerous awards, including the Meritorious Service Medal, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with 10 clusters and the Bronze Star.
After retiring from the Air Force as lieutenant colonel in 1973, Archie moved to Victorville, California, where he was a mobile home dealer and general contractor.
Sue joined Archie in California. In 1990, they moved to the Flathead Valley where Archie became an investor and manager of various properties.
Together they created a loving home on Lake Blaine that became ground zero for neighborhood Fourth of July parties. Sue entertained with her mischievous wit (while flashing fire engine-red nails), while Archie plundered visitor’s pocketbooks with his cribbage board.
The Lorentzens were passionate about America’s liberties and those who defend us. When four wounded warriors visited the Flathead Valley several years ago, Archie and Sue opened their home to the veterans and escorted them about the valley for four days.
Archie was an active member of the Elks Lodge, serving as Exalted Ruler in 1973-74 in California and 2010-11 in Kalispell. Archie was an avid sportsman and life member of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. He and Sue were active in the Red River Valley Fighter Pilots Association, also known as the River Rats, and the Air Warrior Courage Foundation.
The Lorentzens have no children but leave behind many friends.
Special appreciation is extended to David Benson and his family, and to the caregivers at Agape Home Care, all of whom took wonderful care of the Lorentzens during their final months.
A memorial service for Sue and Archie will be held at 2 p.m. Friday, Dec. 19, at Johnson-Gloschat Funeral Home, 525 Main Street, Kalispell.
Donations in the Lorentzens’ name can be sent to Air Warrior Courage Foundation at P.O. Box 877, Silver Spring, MD 20918.