A bad lodging experience on the way home from a family vacation inspired Loris Bree to write and self-publish a book to help other travelers find economical accommodations. Published in 1981, her “State by State Guide to Budget Motels” was the first of many of her self-published books which included several travel-themed books for children. Her foray into the publishing world led to her founding the Midwest Independent Publishers Association (MIPA) in 1984 and opened the door for other aspiring local writers.
Until then, “a lot of people wanted to get a book out, but there was not a lot of [self-] publishing going on,” said Bree’s husband, Marlin, of Shoreview. “In the early ’80s, there came an explosion of people writing books and publishing books. The Twin Cities became a mecca for book publishing. Loris’ work in founding MIPA, I feel, was a pivotal role in that booming movement. She helped a lot of people get their books out there and published.”
Loris Bree died of complications from Parkinson’s disease March 9 while at Langton Place, a short-term living facility in Roseville. She was 77.
From an early age, Loris was an avid book reader and her love for the printed word never waned. Even while working as a legal secretary and later as a speech pathologist for 17 years in the Roseville Public Schools, she found time to complete two mysteries a week, her husband said.
Bree and her husband founded Marlor Press in the early 80s after a national distributor picked up her motel lodging guide. Loris combined her interest in books with her work with grade school children to launch a series of works aimed at the younger set. Her first, “Kid’s Trip Diary,” an activity book that allowed children to record their travel experiences, went on to sell more than 750,000 copies. The interactive “My Camp Book” and the “Kids’ Travel Fun Book” followed. The latter scored high marks from Children’s Literature, which wrote, “There is sure to be something that your youngster will find entertaining. You can’t miss with this one.”
More recently, Bree’s “Kid’s Magic Secrets” appeared in “Friends with Benefits,” a 2011 American romantic-comedy film starring Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis.
It was a trip to Colorado that gave rise to Bree’s “State by State Guide to Budget Motels.” Bree and her husband were on their way home and looking for an inexpensive place to stay. Instead, they were gouged by a motel, Marlin Bree said. That’s when Loris said there had to be a better way, and the guide was born. It was a successful book for nearly 20 years and listed mom-and-pop type motels and nearby attractions in every state.
Bree also was deeply involved with the Friends of the Ramsey County Libraries, overseeing book sales, lining up speakers and serving as president from 1993 to 1994.
“She loved the library,” her husband said.
Bree enjoyed sailing and often joined her husband for excursions on Lake Superior aboard his 20-foot sloop.
She was grew up in Winthrop, Minn., and graduated from high school there. After school, she worked as a legal secretary before earning a master’s degree in speech and language from the University of Minnesota.
In addition to her husband, she is survived by a son, Will, of Shoreview.
A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. March 28 at the Cremation Society of Minnesota’s Brooklyn Park Chapel, 7835 Brooklyn Blvd.