Lorraine faulks forestiere

memorial page


Thank you Lorraine Forestiere, for all the good you have done and especially for your examples of courage and sacrificial love!

 The Lady of the Gardens

Lorraine Ruth Faulks Forestiere was born on May 14, 1932 in Fresno, California to parents Clyde and Hilah Faulks. She passed away on September 21, 2012 at the age of 80. She was the oldest daughter of nine children and grew up in Fresno, attended Roosevelt High School, and worked for General Electric, Berven Rug Mills and the Forestiere Underground Gardens.  She was married to Ric Forestiere, nephew of Baldassare Forestiere, for 59 years!

She enjoyed sharing stories about her childhood about riding motorcycles, riding horses (while standing up) and swimming across Bass Lake. She came from a family that was very poor, and not bothered by it. The nine children were very close and and loved to laugh and play.  They liked playing practical jokes on each other. With so many children. they enjoyed the challenge of coming up with clever ways of having fun. Her sense of humor was something she shared with everyone - she was a person who liked to poke fun at life.

Later in life, Lorraine became known as the "Lady of the Gardens."  For forty years, she was the mainstay and driving force at the Forestiere Underground Gardens.  She worked as a manager, tour guide, bookkeeper, spokesperson, and at times, everything else that was needed to keep the site preserved and shared - all while raising six children.

At the Gardens, she would not only share stories about Baldassare Forestiere's life, but family stories of her life, too. She always considered the Underground Gardens her spiritual child.  In Lorraine's words many years ago regarding this landmark's humble existence:

God only knows what has kept the Gardens this long. I think if it were not for the visitors, we would not have been able to make it this far. How can one destroy or exploit the work this man has done? Cannot the strength and purity of a person’s work survive in our age? Certainly we, at this period of history, desperately need examples of man’s simple capacity to achieve with only the mind and body God has given us.

Lorraine was a strong-willed person guided by her faith.  On days when she was asked if she was Catholic, she would quickly clarify that she was Roman Catholic and attended St. Anthony's of Padua Church in Fresno.  Lorraine's kindness, generosity and spiritual strength have touched many people locally and world-wide. Her lifelong devotion to the Underground Gardens and anyone in need (family, friend, stranger and homeless pets), is well known. 

Lorraine is survived by her husband of 59 years, Rosario Ricardo Forestiere (nephew of the builder of the Underground Gardens); six children, Lyn, Valery, Nick, Andre, Marc and Juliet (and their spouses); five grandchildren, Jamie, Michael, Marissa, Christopher and Matthew; two great-grandsons, Colt and Gabriel, and a great-granddaughter, Nicole, and three sisters:  Ethel-Joann, Delores and Mae,  and many wonderful nieces and nephews.