Remembering a local patron of the arts

Our family was saddened to hear of the passing of Betsy Lueke, one of our city’s all-time great employees of the parks and recreation department.

Startingin 1956, Betsy was a fixture at many of our city’s parks through the years. Many of us know her best as the head of the Creative Arts Center in Olive Park. It’s there that she built the finest art community our city has ever seen.

With a warm and sincere manner, she convinced our city’s best artists to come with her and exhibit their art at the Center. She not only developed many of the artists, but designed shows in which so many artists could exhibit their work. It was always a joy to visit her and see all the new art that was being displayed.

My fondest memory of Betsy was when I received a call from members of our Chamber of Commerce. The chamber is well known for their monthly member mixers. They had booked a local restaurant to host the monthly mixer, and a week before the event, the restaurant pulled out. Frantic about possibly having to cancel the mixer, the chamber was asking everyone to help out.


I placed a call to Betsy, and within a day, the monthly mixer was booked into the Creative Arts Center. It goes without saying, it was the chamber’s best mixer of the year. Business people mixed with our local artists, and many works of art were sold.

It was a great evening, with a speech by Betsy about the importance of art in our lives. Nothing could be better.

She will be remembered by everyone for her gracious manner and her wonderful love of art.

Joe Hooven