A 75-year romance ended in April when Lorraine Stobaugh, wife of 96-year old Fred Stobaugh, passed away. But thanks to a local recording studio in Peoria, Ill., and magic of the internet, the love story lives on.
About a month after she died, Fred (pictured) penned the lyrics to a song about his love for his wife. The couple met in 1938 and married in 1940. He’ written only one song before in his 96 years on the planet and considered himself such a poor singer that he warned the studio that he would “scare people.”
But when the studio brought in professional musicians to record the song, Fred Stobaugh, who was born in 1917 at a time when most households didn’t even have telephones, suddenly found himself an internet sensation.
His song, “Sweet Lorraine,” zoomed to the top of the iTunes singer/songwriter sales charts, while a mini-documentary about Fred and the song has gathered more than 1.2 million views on YouTube. (Watch the documentary below.)
Shortly after Lorraine’s passing, Fred spotted an ad from Green Shoe studios which was holding a song contest for Peoria-area musicians. The idea was for the contestants to write and record a song at home then upload it to YouTube. Fred sent his lyrics to the studio in a manila envelope.
While Fred didn’t win the contest, the studio’s managers were so moved by Fred’s story that they finished and recorded the song at their own expense. In the documentary, Fred can be seen visibly shaking with emotion when he first hears the musical tribute to his late wife.
"It was a wonderful 75 years," he said. I often think they're kind of unreal - dreaming, or something. But it was real. That's all I can say. It was real."
"I really, really miss her," he said. "It just don't seem right."