Johanna Elizabeth Westley Lucas quietly passed away on June 2nd — two days short of her 94th birthday.
Johanna was born in NYC, where her parents, Regina Grace Meiklejohn and William Westley, owned a pet store. During her early years with her two older brothers, Bill and David, the family enjoyed a menagerie of numerous pet dogs, cats, turtles, birds, chimpanzees and monkeys. She spent her teen years in a sanitarium in Saranac, NY, for tuberculosis.
She majored in Spanish and French at Syracuse University where she met and fell in love with Jo Desha Lucas. She graduated from Mary Baldwin College while Jo Desha finished law school at the University of Virginia. In 1950 they married and in 1952 moved to Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood where Jo Desha began teaching at the University of Chicago Law School. They stayed in Hyde Park for 60 years.
She had a lifelong love of Spanish and taught conversation at the University of Illinois, Chicago Circle campus. She was fun-loving and always up for an adventure. During summer vacations she led the family on some very memorable trips to Mexico and Spain. Her Spanish language book club still continues today after over 45 years. Her friendships with members of the group were amongst her closest and most enduring.
Always involved with the community, she regularly volunteered for the Comer Children’s Hospital Service Committee and also at the Oriental Institute Museum at the University of Chicago, as a Spanish language docent. She was widowed in 2010 and moved to Vashon from Chicago in 2012 to be near her son. Her favorite Island spots included breakfast near the windows at The Hardware Store, especially when Bernie’s fruit and produce stand was busy in the summer, the Marine Park observation platform with views of Mt. Rainer, and the Vashon Opera.
Johanna was always very social and it was her relationships with others that gave her life the most meaning. Her love and enthusiasm for family and friends were tireless and her passing leaves us all at a loss. She always had her eye on style and was seldom without her signature red glasses and lipstick.
She is survived by her children: John Lucas (Claudia Hollander) and Robin Hawks (Bill Hawks); grandson, Jo Desha Burgess, and step-grandchildren, Jennifer Hawks Bland (Trabue Bland), Thomas Allan Hawks (Ann Woods Hawks); and numerous great-grandchildren.