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Claudie Lorraine Tidwell Couser
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Birth: Aug. 3, 1909
Alexander
Erath County
Texas, USA
Death: Sep. 28, 1978
Austin
Travis County
Texas, USA

Lorraine Tidwell was the only child of Augustus Cleveland "Pete" and Ida Lee Lewis Tidwell. Lorraine's mother died when Lorraine was just two years old. Her father moved back into his parent's, Thomas Pinckney and Zera Ann Passmore Tidwell, home to have help with child rearing. Pete or A.C. as he was called relied upon his younger sister, Grace Eliza Tidwell, who was also Ida Lee's best friend, to become the mother substitute for Lorraine. Lorraine spent her formative years in Alexander. After graduation from Alexander High School, the family, including her father, Aunt Grace, and her grandmother, Zera Ann Passmore Tidwell, moved to Austin, Texas so that Lorraine could attend The University of Texas. In Austin, the family lived with a widowed elder sister, Nora Tidwell Taff. Lorraine felt that coming from a "country" school that she was not sufficiently prepared for the university. Therefore, she enrolled in Stephen F. Austin High School, which was the oldest continuously operating high school west of the Mississippi and had very high academic standing. Lorraine attended two years and graduated from her second high school. She then attended The University of Texas and earned not only her B.A. degree, but stayed to earn her M.A. degree. Her majors were Government and Spanish. Lorraine was the first person in her family to attend college. Upon graduation, Lorraine accepted a teaching position at LaPryor school in South Texas. As was common at that time, school teaching required that she sign a contract stating that she would not marry during the term and leave. In LaPryor, she roomed at a house near the school. Also, she met John Alex Couser who lived in the aea. They eloped in Novembe 1935 and were married secretly in Piedres Negres, Mexico, the closest town to them across the border from Eagle Pass, Texas. Their marriage was kept a secret, but just before the end of the school term in April/May Lorraine and John left for Austin. Lorraine had read an article in the Austin newspaper seeking new government civil service employees to be trained to open the first Social Security Administration office. She applied, was accepted and traveled to Washington, D.C. for several years of training. This training occurred prior to the U.S. Legislature passing the Social Secutiy Act. Lorraine and John lived in Baltimore, Maryland near the Pemlico Race Track because housing in Washington, D.C. was not affordable. During this period, their only daughter, Zera Ann, was born. After the Social Security Act was passed, Lorraine with her family moved back to Austin, Texas to open the first Social Security Administration office in the U.S. Lorraine was an initial employee and was the only "start up" employee working at her retirement in 1961. Her title was Social Security Claims Representative. Her friends and co-workers described her a highly efficient, polite, reserved, concerned and a perfectionist. She had a reputation for listening in a friendly manner, but rarely expressing an opinion, therefore, giving the impression of being aloof. She was known never to participate in office gossip or make any comments to others about others. She was well-liked because she never took sides and always appeared to be sympathetic. When Lorraine and John bought their own home in Austin, moving from rentals during the house shortage after WWII, Lorraine's father and her aunt who raised her moved with them to live as what is called today as an "extended" family. Lorraine's family knew her to be a quiet, but very positive and firm personality. She said little, but when she did it was meaningful. Because she had a career, she left the housekeeping and the child rearing to her Aunt Grace. She was adored by her husband to the extent that she may have found it a bit sufficating. She loved and took great pride in her daughter and taught her care and independence of thought and personal freedom stemming from personal responsibility. Lorraine had two phrases used many times with her daughter: 1) "you have a good head on your shoulders, use it" and 2) "anything you do is worth doing well". Lorraine enjoyed her family and family activities which were many. John was outgoing and brought many friends to the home for dinners, week-ends, celebrations, card games, etc. While she did not instigate the groups she was a happy and willing participant. There was never a question of whether their daughter would attend and graduate college, it was an expectation. Lorraine was 5'4" tall, slender, a natural blond, going from cotton white as a child to dark blond as an adult, and a light complexion with blue eyes. Lorraine was know to have a nice figure with exceptionally great shaped leggs. While she was not the least outgoing she had a friendly, quick smile. She loved to dress well, most of the time professionally, and had a yearning for travel. She was highly intelligent, but did not share her ideas or opinions outside her family. Lorraine was diagnosed with Cerebral Arterialsclerosis. Her diagnosis came late during the disease as there were no defining symptoms. Over a period of years, she lost one motor function after another starting with memory and ending with all mobility and ability. Prior to her death, she spent nine years in the hospital, ending in a vegetated state. A sad ending for someone with such sharp mental acumen and love of activity. There is a beautiful picture of her when she was a young adult which is prophetically signed by her, "Lest ye forget". 
 
Burial:
Alexander Cemetery
Alexander
Erath County
Texas, USA
 
Created by: Zera Mackie
Record added: Mar 06, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 25088835
Claudie Lorraine <i>Tidwell</i> Couser
Added by: Ken Jones
 
 
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