Mary Susan Lucas

Date of Birth

September 13, 1951

Date of Death

March 21, 2021

After a long struggle with Alzheimer’s Disease, Susan Lucas passed peacefully on the morning of March 21, 2021.

Mary Susan Lucas was born on September 13, 1951 at Seaside Hospital in Long Beach, California. She grew up in Downey, California, the oldest of 4 children of James and Dorothy Ricketts. She attended Rancho Santa Gertrudes Elementary School, East Junior High School and Downey High School. Lifetime friends were made in Blue Birds and Camp Fire Girls. Growing up, Sundays were spent with the family at the Methodist Church in the morning, with paternal grandparents at their beach house in Alamitos Bay in the afternoon, and at “supper” with her maternal grandparents in Long Beach.

Susan was a full-blown Beatlemaniac, and got to see the Beatles twice at the Hollywood Bowl, the second time from front row seats! She met her future husband, Gene Lucas, in the 8th grade, invited him to a Johnny Mathis concert the following summer, and despite an on-and-off start, they were a steady couple by the 11th grade. Susan attended Cerritos Junior College, getting her AA in English with a Spanish minor before joining Gene at UC Santa Barbara. They married in 1972 before their senior year, and she graduated with a BA in English. They then moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts for Gene’s graduate studies at MIT. While Gene attended grad school, Susan worked first as a receptionist/secretary for a soils engineering firm, then as a secretary in the MIT Provost’s office, then as an administrative officer for a team of biologists working on recombinant DNA at MIT. She bore their first son during their last year at MIT.

They returned to Santa Barbara after Gene graduated from MIT with his doctorate, and moved back to Santa Barbara in 1978 for Gene to begin his career as an assistant professor at UC Santa Barbara. They had two more boys in their first 4 years in Santa Barbara, and while Gene pursued his academic career Susan raised the three boys. But this mom also served as a Den Leader for each of the three boys in Cub Scouts, co-president of the PTA at Kellogg elementary school, secretarial gigs to two different lawyers, and secretary and office manager for Cambridge Drive Community Church, which they joined in 1982. She also mothered Luca, a foreign exchange student from Italy, in his senior year at the boys’ high school. In his last 11 years at UC Santa Barbara, Gene had become the Executive Vice Chancellor for the campus, raising Susan to the status of UCSB’s Second Lady.
Throughout her life, Susan was an organizer and a planner. She had a big, beautiful smile and an even bigger heart. She maintained correspondence with many, many friends and all the relatives. She loved music (especially the Beatles), family, dancing, camping, hiking, parties, walking, sewing, scrap booking, photos, traveling, sea glass, heart-shaped rocks, chocolate and cheese.

A tragic fall a year after Gene’s retirement led to a traumatic brain injury, from which she did not fully recover before dementia set in. She spent the last years of her life in Gene’s care and then as a resident of the memory care facility at Villa Alamar. Susan is preceded in death by her father and mother, her brother-in-law Steve Rietfors, and her nephew Jordan Smith. She is survived by her husband, her three sons, Kelly, Ryan and Shannon Lucas and their families, her sisters Patti Rietfors and Carolyn Smith, her brother Randy Ricketts and their families and her grandchildren Kier, Camden, Ashlan, and Ezra. She will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved her.

A memorial service will be announced when large congregant gatherings are safe again.

Donations to the Alzheimers Association in her memory would be greatly appreciated.


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