Fred Stobaugh and his wife Lorraine were married for 73 years, so after she died last April the 96-year-old decided he wanted to do something to honor her memory.
Fred said he and Lorraine shared a love of music, and shortly after her death he decided to show his love for her through song.
“I was sitting here one night, oh about six weeks after she passed away and just sat here kind of hummin’ a little bit and it just finally came to me,” Fred said.
Stobaugh, who lives in Peoria, Illinois, didn’t know how to sing or play guitar, but when he saw a singer-songwriter contest through Green Shoes Studios he knew he had to enter it.
Fred wrote a song called “Oh Sweet Lorraine,” but he wasn’t able to create a YouTube video for it like the other contestants. Instead, Fred wrote out the lyrics on a piece of paper and mailed it to the label in a manila envelope:
The song’s lyrics read: “The memories always linger on. / Oh, sweet Lorraine, no I don’t want to move on. / The memories always linger on. / Oh, sweet Lorraine, that’s why I wrote you this song.”
Though the entry was unconventional, it caught the eye of executives at the record label.
“I started to read the lyrics and was so touched by the song and without even meeting Fred we thought, we’re going to do something,” said Green Shoe’s Jacob Colgan.
Colgan sought Stobaugh’s permission and then turned “Oh Sweet Lorraine” into a real song.
Fred cried the first time he heard it.
“It just touched me. And I know Lorraine, she heard that too,” he said. “It just has been a great life. If I could do over again, I would do it.”
Though Fred said he still misses his love Lorraine, the song helps keep a piece of her with him.
“The song really helps me. It really helps me,” he said. “It just seemed like she’s just sort of with me. Which I know she’s smiling, she’s smiling down and she likes that song, I know.”
The song Fred Stobaugh wrote for Lorraine isn’t just for him anymore, either. It’s now available for purchase on iTunes.