Lorena Bottum


May 7, 1960 - May 1, 2023

Lorena Bottum passed away in the early hours of Monday, May 1, 2023, after a long illness, patiently borne. Her family gathered around her, she slipped away peacefully in her home in Hot Springs, S.D.

Born in Brazil, in the city of Recife, she was the daughter of Josemar Rodrigues, a Brazilian foreign-service agronomist and economist, Eva Maria Moraes Rodrigues. Her father’s international work meant that Lorena grew up in many different countries, learning to speak several languages. During his posting to Washington, D.C., she graduated from Walter Johnson High School in Bethesda, Maryland, and then attended Georgetown University for her undergraduate degree and graduate work in linguistics.

It was at Georgetown that she met South Dakota native Joseph Bottum, whom she married in 1985 in the chapel on campus. They subsequently lived in Boston, Baltimore, New York, and Washington, where Lorena worked, kept house, and homeschooled the early education of her daughter, Faith Bottum.

Lorena’s writing appeared in the Wall Street Journal and other publications. Her passion, however, was for entertaining friends and acquaintances, hosting dinner parties that became well-known among writers and activists in Washington and New York. Her ideal in life, she once said, was to have a table full of interesting people to whom she would serve course after course of her cooking, her glasses steamed up as she brought yet another dish to the table. The family moved completely into what had been their summer home in Hot Springs in 2014.

Lorena is survived by her husband, the writer Joseph Bottum, her daughter, Faith Bottum, an editor at the Wall Street Journal, and her siblings, Debora Rodrigue in Baltimore and Eduardo Rodrigues in Brazil.

A lifelong Roman Catholic, she died in the fullness of faith, gathered by the One who has promised that every tear shall eventually be wiped away. Her funeral was held Friday, May 5, 2023, at St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church in Hot Springs.

Arrangements were placed in the care of Chamberlain McColley’s Funeral Home in Hot Springs. Written condolences can be made at www.chamberlainmccolleys.com

Fall River County Herald Star

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