9/16/1937 – 6/2/2021
Lucille “Lu” Capra was a true pioneer. Armed with a humble spirit, an educated brain, and a huge heart, Lu blazed a trail for the past 83 years that was extraordinary. Educated at Pomona College and Harvard, Lu was an educator by profession who used her generous and kind spirit to influence anyone she met. Falling in love and creating a family steered Lu’s journey from California to Michigan, with adventurous stops along the way. After a divorce and her daughter’s death, Lu’s journey would have ended for most, but she persevered. Raising five children in the ’70s as a single mother was not easy or familiar at that time. Still, Lu excelled through adversity to create a home full of acceptance, love, kindness, and generosity. A hard-working, single mother, Lu completed her Ph.D. at Michigan State University while never missing her children’s sporting events, concerts, or birthday parties. For Lu, family always came first, including anyone who needed a family or community. It wasn’t uncommon for Lu to have extra seats at the table, and her home was a welcome and frequent respite for many who needed a kind, encouraging word. Lu’s spirit of generosity extended well beyond her home, as she volunteered her time and service to so many during her lifetime. With her children grown, Lu’s journey took her to the University of Findlay, where she led the department on life-long learning. Providing educational opportunities and respect to incarcerated students and teaching literature and writing were highlights of her career.
Lu lived in “God’s Country” on the Leelanau Peninsula on South Lime Lake for the past three decades. After many memorable vacations in the area, Lu decided to build an incredible home surrounded by beautiful scenery, amazing friends, and most importantly, her family. Here, she fostered her passion for dog training while extending her family once again with many new friends and like-minded people. Lu’s years in Cedar included laughter, learning, teaching, reading, writing, concerts, pontoon boat riding, brown-bag lunching, dog shows, rooting on her Spartans and Tigers, and filling her home with her family and friends.
It’s not possible to list the number of people that Lu’s extraordinary life touched. Her family, friends, former students, Hospice caregivers, and anyone else who met her would agree that having a conversation with Lu improved their lives. Yet even in her passing, Lu’s generous spirit and infectious smile, and positive attitude continue.
Lu is survived by her children: Maria Capra (Scott), Claire Capra Sleep (Mike), Theresa Capra-Roberts (Tom), Jack Capra (Sandi), and Jennifer Capra Smith (David), ten special grandchildren, her brother, and many nieces and nephews. Preceding her in death were her husband, Bill, daughter Margaret Ilene, brothers John and Frank, and her parents Frank and Lucille Capra. To honor Lu, please consider extending Lu’s generous spirit by giving to the Leelanau Conservancy and Hospice of Lansing Stoneleigh Residence. In place of a formal service, Lu’s desire was to be honored privately by her children.
Arrangements are by the Estes-Leadley Greater Lansing Chapel. Online condolences may be left for her family at www.EstesLeadley.com