Luella Grace (Ray) Vaccaro, age 85, died September 6th, at her home.
Born June 2, 1934 in Miles City, MT.. She was the daughter of the late Gladys A. (Danklefsen) Ray and David Otto Ray. Raised in the Seattle Washington area, Luella joined the U.S. Air Force in 1952. She was crowned Queen at the 1954 U.S. Air Force Beauty Contest in Biloxi, MS. While serving her country, she met her husband, the late Nick Dante Vaccaro, in the courtyard of the Pentagon building. They were married February 18th, 1955 and moved to Youngstown, OH. and later to Seattle, WA. Luella, attended the University of Washington, majoring in fine arts. Later she attended U.C. Berkeley for additional studies. The Vaccaros’ would move to Austin, TX. where their son was born.
The family then moved to Lawrence, KS. in 1963 where she continued working as an artist, primarily as a ceramicist. She was a member of Who’s Who in American Art and a recent founding member of the Lawrence Friends of Jazz. Luella and her husband Nick forged an enduring love and creative life together that lasted for 47 years until his death in 2002. Lu will be sadly missed by the many friends who kept her young in spirit and her family who loved her dearly.
Luella is survived by her son Nick Dante Vaccaro Jr., a sister Martha King, a brother, David Mac Ray and her grandchildren, Sasha and Milo Vaccaro. She was proceeded in death by her parents, husband and sister Barbara Jean (Ray) Smith.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the Lawrence Friends of Jazz, c/o Matt Wheeler, 5103 Stonewall Ct., Lawrence, KS 66047 or may be sent in care of Warren-McElwain Mortuary, 120 W. 13th Street, Lawrence, KS 66044.