Former UH first lady
was devoted to the arts
and the university

Lorraine "Lorrie" Mortimer, the wife of former University of Hawaii President Kenneth Mortimer, died yesterday after a long battle with blood cancer, the university said.

Mortimer, 67, graduated from Roosevelt High School and played an active role as the first lady of the university during Mortimer's 1993-2001 term. The couple retired to Bellingham, Wash., where she died.

"Lorrie Mortimer was a gracious and passionate advocate for the university and a dedicated individual who gave selflessly to the university and the community," said UH Interim President David McClain in a press release. "She'll be missed by all in the UH ohana."

Mortimer was also a supporter of the Honolulu Academy of Arts and the Hawaii Foodbank. George Ellis, former director of the Academy of Arts, said Mortimer was active with the academy and volunteered as a docent.

"She had a great love of art and a desire to work with people to make the quality of their lives better through art," Ellis said. "She went out of her way to spend time in the community when the life of a president's wife is not always her own. ... She was a wonderful lady, and I use the word 'lady' in every sense of the word."

The former Lorraine Murai met Kenneth Mortimer when both were students at the University of Pennsylvania. She earned a bachelor's degree in microbiology and worked for several years as a computer programmer.

Prior to her arrival in Hawaii, Mortimer was involved at Western Washington University, where her husband also served as president, and was active in the Bellingham community.

Besides her husband, Mortimer is survived by daughter Lisa Holmes and a grandchild. Services were not announced.

Donations may be made to the Mortimer Endowment at the University of Hawaii or at Western Washington University, or donate blood to a local blood bank. Thoughts and memories can be written online at www.westfordfuneralhome.com.

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