Lori Ann Caruso Hale, born on September 28, 1960, died peacefully at her home on Thursday, May 10, 2007, surrounded by her family and loved ones. Lori had battled breast and thyroid cancer since 1998. Recently the cancer spread into Lori’s lungs and quickly into her brain. Lori wanted to make sure to express a special thanks to her caregiver buddies over the last several years; Dr. Dave Okun, Dr. Nora Evans, Phyllis Martin, and her City of Hope pals Dr. Steve Forman and Barb Stehr. All of them helped make her life better and longer.
Lori was born in New York and moved to California at a young age. Later in life she became a very successful cosmetologist in Hollywood and Los Angeles before pursuing a career helping hundreds of people with alcoholism, cocaine addiction, and severe mental health problems. One of her daily goals was to make someone else’s life better in whatever way possible and there are legions of people who will confirm she was successful. Lori was an active member of St. Kilian’s Catholic Parish in Mission Viejo and enjoyed her involvement with the Pastoral Council, her friends Father Jim and Scotty, and all her Bible study and weekly Rosary pals. Lori made two pilgrimages to Lourdes, France, with the Knights of Malta, one as a Malade and the next year as a volunteer.
Her family was her life and her life was her family. She enjoyed a wonderful relationship with her sister Jackie. Her other sister, Karen, was Lori’s constant nursing buddy during some of her toughest medical challenges, including the Hospice care she received at home. She had a special relationship with her father Ed and mom Ruth. Her nephews Shay, Ryan, and Josh made her giggle constantly. Her lifetime friend Patti had a special place in her heart and soul that is beyond description. Her pals Anna, Karen McCartney, Linda Muhonen, La La Gretchen, and Kristen The Tornado always made her feel special and loved the way friends are supposed to in good times and bad. Lori also had parent and teacher friends and supporters too numerous to name individually at Serra Catholic School and Santa Margarita Catholic High School.
Lori and Bill were married in June 1990 and had two beautiful daughters, Erynn, 15, and Katy, 11. Her Girls, as she often referred to them, became Lori’s passion, joy and meaning in life. She taught them fashion, grooming, homework shortcuts, cooking, laughing, the importance of friendships, and the value of faith and a strong belief in God. Lori loved Erynn and Katy at a level and depth that only mothers understand. Their smiles and laughter often made Lori’s entire day happy and worthwhile in spite of her constant battles with cancer. Her 17-year marriage to Bill was filled with fun and the joy of raising two strong-willed children and overcoming hundreds of different challenges while sharing the intimacy and friendship you hope to experience once during a lifetime.
Lori will be missed in so many ways by so many people, but mostly by her daughters Erynn and Katy. They are fortunate she has left them with her spirit and strength and we know she will be whispering in their ears daily, helping guide them through a beautiful life. Lori Hale, the Mother, Daughter, Sister, Friend, and Wife, is difficult to describe. If we took a beautiful sunset in a vibrantly colored garden, added a beautiful piece of art, music, and the poem of a lifetime, and then threw in the spirit and graciousness of an Angel, we might be close to describing the person we will all miss who has just joined God’s inner circle. P.S. Good-bye Cookie, I have loved you from the first day I saw you.
Open casket visitation with family and friends will be from 7:00 to 8:30 pm and a prayer vigil at 8:30 pm the evening of Thursday, May 17, followed by a funeral Mass at 10:30 am on Friday, May 18. Both will take place at St. Kilian’s Catholic Church in Mission Viejo. Burial will follow at Ascension Cemetery in Lake Forest. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations in Lori’s memory to Susan G. Komen for the Cure 3191 A Airport Loop Drive, Costa Mesa CA. 92629.