Lynelle Jean Carlson Orton was born December 13, 1957 in Plentywood, MT to Dale and Clarice (Gabrielson) Carlson. Lynelle attended Raymond School until 1969 when the school closed. She began fifth grade at Plentywood School, graduating in 1976. She then enrolled at Colorado Medical and Dental Assistant School in Denver, CO. After completion of that program, she was employed at a hospital in Denver and later at Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove, IL.
Lynelle and Gary Orton, Sr. were married June 30, 1984 in Chicago, IL where they raised their four children—Lindy, Gary, Jr., William, and Harley. The marriage ended in divorce. At the time of her death, Lynelle was employed at Jewel-Osco, a grocery store in Clarendon Hills, IL where she had been employed for 19 1/2 years. She also had worked at Guy Blando Jewelers in Indian Head Park, IL for several years.