Laurette Lochhead and her identical twin sister, Elizabeth "Betty" Gregory Chapman, were born March 14, 1921. They were from a New York family but their "Pa" was in San Francisco, California, for work so the twins were born out west. The family returned to New York and endured terrible poverty during the Great Depression.
At age 17, the twins were "discovered" by the famous model agent, John Robert Powers. The twin beauties became the toast of New York City and had many suitors. At a luncheon for the top 300 models in New York City, Laurette was voted the most beautiful woman in the room. She married exiled, wealthy Russian financier, Serge Rubinstein. Laurette and Serge lived in a beautiful townhouse at 814 Fifth Avenue overlooking Central Park and had two daughters, Diana, and Alexandra.
Just a few years before Serge was murdered (a murder which has been unsolved to this day), Laurette divorced him and went west where she met John Thomas Lochhead, a businessman from Boston. They lived in a lovely home in Palos Verdes, California, where Laurette honed her sculpting and painting skills and had four more children; Laurianne, Alan, Susie and Steven.
In the mid-sixties, having lived across the country from her beloved identical twin sister, Betty, and missing the beauty of the east coast, Laurette divorced John and moved to New England. She and Betty lived in the historic Captain Holmes House on a knoll overlooking the exquisite village of Sheepscot, Maine.
The still-stunning twins were notorious for the quiet town and caused quite a stir of gossip and scandal, always marching to the beat of their own drum. Sadly, Betty passed away a dozen years ago but Laurette went on. On May 12, 2015, fire consumed the historic house on the hill and Laurette made it out with only her purse and the clothes on her back. Forty-eight years of art, treasures and memories went up in smoke before her eyes.
Despite the fact that she was never sick a day in her life, had no dementia and still lived at home, there was one more blow to her heartache that may have been too much for her. Last November, one of Betty's daughters, (Laurette's beloved nieces who acted as her caretakers for many years) Tracy Stewart, died of cancer. Laurette was also predeceased by her younger sister, Janice Kilborn Cook of Spring Lake, New Jersey.
Last Tuesday, five weeks shy of her ninety-seventh birthday as she napped in her favorite chair, Laurette slipped away. It was a very pain-free, peaceful passing and her son, Steven and Betty's other daughter, Reine Stewart, were at her side.
Laurette is survived by her children; Alexandra Wilson, Laurianne Lochhead Hannan, Alan Jonathan Lochhead, Susie Lochhead Tautrim and Steven Laurence Lochhead; her granddaughters, Larissa Wilson and Heather Wilson-Little; her niece, Reine Stewart Libby; nephews, James Stewart, Christopher Cook and Laurence Cook; two great-grandsons; one great-granddaughter; as well as two great-nieces and one great-nephew.
Her ashes will be placed with Betty's and Tracy's ashes in the Sheepscot cemetery at private family memorial this summer. Arrangements are under the direction and care of the Strong-Hancock Funeral Home, 612 Main Street, Damariscotta, ME 04543. Condolences, and messages for her family, may be expressed by visiting: www.StrongHancock.com.