|Take a Subterranean Journey to the Mediterranean--
in the Middle of California!
|Forestiere Underground Gardens
Lorraine Ruth 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
She enjoyed sharing stories as a young girl 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 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 40 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:
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 of Padua Church here in Fresno.
Lorraine’s kindness, generosity, and spiritual strength have touched many people locally and world-wide. Her life-
long devotion to the Underground Gardens and to anyone in need (family, friend, stranger, and homeless pets), is
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 three
sisters, Ethel-Joann, Delores, and Mae, and many wonderful nieces and nephews.
for all the good you
have done, and
especially for your
examples of courage
and sacrificial love.
|Thank you to all who have expressed their condolences,
love, support, and prayers!
“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.”
|Born - May 14, 1932
Died - September 21, 2012