96-year-old man records tearjerker love song for his late wife - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

96-year-old man records tearjerker love song for his late wife

When Fred Stobaugh penned a love song for his late wife, an Illinois studio recorded it for him for free. (Source: YouTube/greenshoestudioinc) When Fred Stobaugh penned a love song for his late wife, an Illinois studio recorded it for him for free. (Source: YouTube/greenshoestudioinc)

(RNN) - Fred Stobaugh isn't a singer, but he is a man who was struck by love and 75 years later, still hasn't recovered.

Stobaugh, 96, met his sweetheart, Lorraine, at a car hop at an Illinois root beer stand in 1938.

"She was the prettiest girl I ever saw … I just fell in love with her right there," Stobaugh said in a YouTube video produced by Green Shoe Studio.

They dated for two years and married, spending more than seven decades as man and wife.

Along the way, they had children and grandchildren in an all-around happy life Stobaugh says felt like a dream.

"It felt kind of unreal, dreaming or something. But it was real, that's all I can say. It was real," he said.

The final chapter of their love story closed when Lorraine died earlier this year just shy of their 73rd wedding anniversary. Stobaugh channeled his feelings of love and loss, grief and gratitude for the years they had together, writing a love song in her memory titled Oh Sweet Lorraine.

"After [Lorraine] passed away, I was sitting in the front room one evening by myself … it just came to me almost. I just kept humming it and singing it," Stobaugh said. "It seemed like it just fit her."

Around the same time, Green Shoe Studio in Peoria, IL, held a songwriting contest for aspiring musicians.

"I thought I'd just write a letter and send it in, never thinking I'd get an answer," Stobaugh said.

But he sent the lyrics in anyway.

In a digital age where most musicians send MP3's and YouTube videos, his entry stood out for its sheer simplicity.

"People are supposed to upload their videos, but instead of a video, we received a very large manila envelope," said Jacob Colgan, with Green Shoe Studios. "Lo and behold, it was a letter from a 96-year-old man who said 'I've written a song for my wife.'

"Green Shoe Studio decided to take Fred's lyrics and bring them to life. We decided to put them to professional music, professionally record it, we wanted to have a professional singer sing on this song."

Because it wasn't a video, Stobaugh's entry didn't meet the criteria for the songwriting contest. But Colgan, touched by Stobaugh's story, decided to record it anyway.

"He goes 'Oh, that's so great. But how much is this going to cost me? I don't have any money.' I said, 'Fred, you misunderstand me. We're going to do all this for free.' He began to cry on the phone and ask 'Why would you do this for me?'" Colgan said.

Colgan transformed Stobaugh's heartfelt lyrics into a polished song. 

"I probably spent more time with his song than most other people's songs. To be honest, I was a little nervous taking it to him," Colgan said.

"Because it meant so much to him, it meant so much to me."

Oh Sweet Lorraine is available for download on iTunes.

Watch Stobaugh's full story and hear the song at http://bit.ly/1dJPow0.

Copyright 2013 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.

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