Lucy Whittlesey Straley died peacefully at home on March 29, 2007. Born Jan. 28, 1914 in Brownhelm, OH to Hayes and Elsie (Cooper) Whittlesey, she always valued her fatherâ€™s humanism and her motherâ€™s efficiency. Helping her father on their farm, she developed a respect and a capacity for physical labor. As a teen she was her churchâ€™s pianist and played for her high school basketball team.
Lucy majored in music at Bowling Green State College, and met her future husband, Joseph, when schedule conflicts resulted in both regularly arriving late to a class. After graduation she taught school music for four years before marrying Joe, who took a position at the University of Toledo. Two sons were born in Toledo.
When Joe was hired by UNC in 1944, the young family moved to Chapel Hill. After a daughter was born, they moved to their lifelong house on Davie Circle.
In the â€˜50â€™s Lucy raised her three children and taught piano. She was a founding member of the Community Church of Chapel Hill. During the familyâ€™s year in Italy (â€˜56-â€™57), she managed the relative lack of amenities and language difficulties with diligence and humor. In the â€˜60â€™s she taught school and spent two summers with Joe in India. She was involved with the civil rights movement and the Womenâ€™s International League of Peace and Freedom; she was a stalwart at peace demonstrations. Lucy endured several health challenges; as therapy for a stroke she wrote a biography of her early years. Under her unassuming exterior she remained independent and tenacious. She was respected for her gentleness, loyalty, and concern for others.
Lucy was predeceased by Joe, her husband of 66 years; sister, Ruth Hite; and nephew, Clayton Hite. She is survived by her sons and their wives (Joseph P. and Susan, David and Yvonne) and her daughter, Lesley, and her partner, Charlotte Stetson.
A memorial service will be held April 28, 2007 at the Community Church of Chapel Hill. Donations in Lucyâ€™s memory may be made to the Chapel Hill Chapter of the WILPF, c/o Ann Powers, 250 South Estes Drive 100, Chapel HillNC27514.