Lorene Elizabeth (Batch) McCrae, 91, departed this life on Friday, March 13, 2020, in Tampa, FL, with her devoted daughter Kimberly by her side. She was preceded in death by her husband Mac, and two sisters, Olive Marie Micheaux and Charlotte Ella Nelson. Although she preferred “Lorene”, family and friends affectionately knew her as “Rene” or “Aunt Rene”. Lorene was born with her twin sister, Laura, on November 6, 1928, in Elizabeth, PA. She was the daughter of the late William Wesley Batch and Hazel Lee (Brinegar) Batch of Elizabeth where she lived and grew up. She and her four sisters were inseparable and known fondly throughout the area as “the Batch girls.” The sisters remained tightly bonded throughout their entire lives.
Lorene married the late Wilbert ‘Mac’ McCrae of Monessen, PA, on October 22, 1951. The couple lived and worked in and around Monessen where they raised their two children—Kimberley Rochelle Miller of Land O’ Lakes, FL, and Wilbert Aaron McCrae of Fresno, CA. Mac died young (in 1974) and Lorene never remarried. She carried on. Unafraid of a hard day’s work, Lorene undertook various jobs—Penny’s, Sears, Shop ’n Save and, lastly, Havencrest Nursing Center in Monongahela, PA, where she served as a Certified Nursing Assistant.
Lorene attended Allen Chapel A.M.E. Church in Elizabeth from infancy and later became a member of Wayman A.M.E. Church in Monessen. She served on the stewardess board, a faithful servant and dedicated hard worker in the church. Lorene was a talented and enthusiastic artist and gardener. She loved birds and flowers, and they seemed to love her. She left her mark around the country as family members have planted some of her canis bulbs (which are thriving) in their own yards, bulbs which originated with her father. Jazz spoke to her like no other music, but Lorene appreciated and enjoyed all kinds, including pop. She was also a spirited fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers, a master at yard sale excursions, and the snapshot queen of Kodak moments.
Lorene’s greatest joy in life was her family—both immediate and extended. Her care for them took many forms—cooking, chauffeuring, nursing, cleaning, bossing, listening, advising, visiting, mothering (not just her own children) and loving—always loving. In her final years, she moved to sunny Florida to be with her daughter and son-in-law Bruce, who held a special place in her heart. There, she continued her passion for art, attending classes at the Life Enrichment Center for the Arts.
An independent spirit, Lorene could be fierce. She fought hard for what she believed in and could be a tough and worthy opponent. But her kind sweetness and infectious sense of humor were her essence. She was a gentle warrior until her final hour. Lorene will be remembered with eternal love by her daughter Kimberly (Bruce) Miller of Land O’ Lakes, FL, son Wilbert (Inez) McCrae of Fresno, CA; grandchildren Mae Ann Larrazabal-Rodriguez of Hayward, CA and Nicholas and Sarah Miller of Calgary, Canada; her sisters Laura May Bell and Willa Jean Pinnix of Pittsburgh, PA; and scores of adoring nieces, nephews, cousins, and lifelong friends.
Voluntary social distancing will be honored. Lorene will be laid to rest next to her husband, Mac, at Belle Vernon Cemetery, Belle Vernon, PA. Donations in her name (Lorene McCrae) to the Alzheimer’s Association, in lieu of flowers, are preferred. However, flowers, condolences, and cards can be sent to Robert A. Waters Funeral Home at 449 Mitchell Ave., Clairton, PA 15025.
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