Inurnment To Be Held May 20 For Lula “Lu” C. Luce

Published 12:08 pm Tuesday, July 27, 2010

ALIFORNIA, May 6 – Former long-time Lompoc, California resident Lula (Lu) C. Luce died February 24, 2010 of Alzheimer's Disease. She had been a resident of the Cabrillo Care Skilled Nursing Facility in San Luis Obispo for five years.

Born September 27, 1920 in Buckingham County to John and Zella Chernault, she was the first of 11 children.

In 1943 she joined the Women's Army Corps and was stationed in Florida and Big Springs, TX. After her military discharge she worked in Washington, DC for Representative Watkins M. Abbitt Sr. before returning to Texas to take a job with the US Air Force Security Service in San Antonio. It was there that she met and married Richard Luce, a civilian radio engineer. Soon afterward, he accepted a commission with the Air Force Communications Squadron. Their twin daughters, Karen and Sandra, were born in San Antonio.

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The family was transferred to Shiroi Air Force Base near Tokyo, Japan in 1955, where they were stationed for three years. Mrs. Luce was very influenced by the Japanese culture. During this time she studied Ikebana and became a Professor in this ancient art of flower arranging.

She was a gifted seamstress and tailor, making all of her own clothes as well as all the clothes for Karen and Sandra. Coats, suits, and hats – nothing was too challenging for her. She created custom Barbie clothes – even adding tiny zippers and set-in sleeves!

The family was transferred to Vandenberg Air Force Base following their tour of Japan. It was there that their daughter Michelle was born.

Mrs. Luce's love of flower arranging continued as she became active in the local Flower Show, winning Best of Show for her Shadow Boxes many years in a row at the Lompoc Flower Festival. She taught flower arranging to local 4-H chapters.

Her interest in antiques and their history led her to obtain an antique dealer's license. She became active in local antique clubs and became an expert in antique lighting devices.

In 1978 Mrs. Luce began a short tenure as manager of the Santa Barbara County Federal Teacher's Credit Union. From 1988-1990 she served as a member of the Santa Barbara County Commission on the Status of Women.

In later years Mrs. Luce re-awakened her interest in the works of Carl Jung, which had been introduced to her as a young woman. She studied metaphysics and mythology and was a member of the Church of Religious Science.

Her love of the fine arts was evident throughout her life. An accomplished artist, she painted in oils and loved to needlepoint. She indulged her passion for classical music with an extensive CD collection and regular attendance at the Santa Barbara Symphony.

Mrs. Luce is survived by daughters, Karen of Grover Beach, CA and Sandra of Sebastopol, CA, Luce and Michelle Stevens of Chicago, IL; grand-children, Dana and Robin Stevens, Carter McGowen, and Zella Redus; sisters, Juanita More, Loreta Swartz, Barbara Fore, and Mildred Smith; brothers-in-law, Dewey More and Eric Bach-Sorenson, and many nieces and nephews.

She will be inurned with military honors at Arlington National Cemetery on May 20. This would have been her and Richard's 60th wedding anniversary. The service is at 3 p.m.

Starbuck-Lind Mortuary, California, is serving the family.