By Ronald C. Tobin


Born: November 11, 1932 in Boston, Massachusetts.

Died: December 13, 1999 in Phoenix, Arizona.

I suppose that the death of my one-time mentor and good friend should have come as no real surprise. After all, she had been in poor physical health for quite some time and her mental state -- her attitude towards life -- had been so negative that I no longer felt comfortable being around her, and had had no contact with her since the Fall of 1995. Still, when I read the Obituary page in the December 17, 1999 issue of THE ARIZONA REPUBLIC, I will admit to being dumb struck and very much saddened.

Only a few of you even remember her very well, though I suppose several of you can remember the tribute to my living mentor that I ran in the 100th issue, back in June of 1993. Now, the woman who was my living mentor is gone, and I was not even there to say goodbye. This I shall regret for some time to come.

Lorraina 'unfortunately' died years after she was in the libertarian limelight, explaining why most of those who I informed of her death simply sent regrets. Thus, it is left to me and one other individual to say farewell to this unique person. I know that, had she died in the mid-1980s, I could have filled this issue with tributes. Still, I only point this out because it shows how true 'out of sight, out of mind' really is.

Lorraina came onto the libertarian scene in Phoenix, Arizona in the late 1970s. She was not really an activist until the year 1980. She wrote articles for the EMPHASIS editorial page feature in 1982 for the now defunct PHOENIX GAZETTE. Her activism really exploded in February of 1983, the prime cause being her dedication to libertarian solutions to prisons, penal reform, and prisoners' rights (causes hardly dealt with outside of anarchist circles these days). I met Lorraina in June of 1983, through responding to an ad for her publication, LIBERTARIAN LOGOS and her organization, the Philosophical Society of libertarians, but that is another story for another time.

Lorraina and I had a very mercurial relationship. United by the cause, we worked closely together in 1983 and 1984. Torn apart by our inability to effectively communicate with each other, we parted ways in 1985. We reconciled in 1987, and stayed in touch off and on until 1995, when I moved back to Metro Phoenix. Strange -- once we once again lived in the same area, it again became difficult to effectively communicate with each other.

That strays from the main issue -- honoring a truly great libertarian activist. She went all out for her causes, always practiced what she preached. She was a very pure libertarian and would not compromise her principles. She made more enemies than friends, but that did not trouble her. Because of her intensity, she burned out very quickly. By the Summer of 1985, she had vanished from the libertarian scene.

Save for a few articles and poems by her that we ran in this publication in the late 1980s, her public career as an activist was over. Not that she wanted it to be -- she often looked for a new cause, but nothing she found seemed suitable, her passions were not aroused. Failing health and counterproductive attitudes led to her ultimate downfall.

I doubt that I will ever again meet anyone like Lorraina, and I am very sorry that she and I never got back together after the Fall of 1995. I learned a lot from her, she really helped shape many of the attitudes that I still have. Lorraina was a fine example of the phrases "to thine own self be true" and "know thyself." Those are qualities that are worth emulating.

Her obituary listed her occupation as "homemaker." Likely that was her favorite job, what with having raised six children.

Farewell, dearest Scorpio. Godspeed, good and true friend. Rest in peace.


By Shaka

I first met Lorraina Valencia while I was in the North Unit of the Arizona State Prison, Florence in the 1980s. She brought a light into my life that I didn't think was still there. She made me believe in myself and in others. I had given up on people in general and Government in particular. Through Lorraina I met Ronald Tobin, Editor of THE THOUGHT. Between the two of them, I had a reason to keep on striving for what is right and to forbid what is wrong. I have now been here for 34 years and only because of Lorraina and her caring and Ron's remembrance have I made it this far.

Lorraina was a shining beacon for all the troubled persons. She had the time for everyone's problems, even when she had her own. She was unselfish in her efforts to lift one's spirits. She gave of her time and money when she had it. She always put others needs before hers. I will always cherish her in my heart and remember her as a shining beacon guiding the way for all of us lost souls. May Allah forgive all her faults and give her a resting-place befitting her love and kindness for others.

[This tribute originally appeared in the March/April 2000 issue of THE THOUGHT, which was dedicated to the memory of Lorraina M. Valencia.]