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Lucienne Collaer Rusconi

1925 - 2016 Obituary Condolences
Lucienne Collaer Rusconi Obituary
Rusconi, Lucienne Collaer
Mrs., Lucienne Rusconi passed away on June 4, 2016 in Scottsdale, AZ. She was born Lucienne Collaer-Lambrechts in Ixelles, Brussels, Belgium on January 9, 1925, the only child of Jean-Albert Collaer and his wife Germaine. At the early age of three she displayed a remarkable talent to draw and paint excellent depictions of the world around her. She continued pursuing her art and artistic studies and graduated from the Ixelles School of Design and Decorative Arts and the Royal Academy of the Beaux Arts in Brussels where she won many awards including the "Prix Pierre Desmedt" a national award given for the first time to a promising young artist. She also studied at the Archeological and History of Art School at the University of Brussels and later at the San Francisco Fine Arts School. Between the age of 15 and 20 Lucienne and her parents survived the difficult German occupation of Belgium during the Second World War. Shortly after the war Lucienne met young American GI Bob Rusconi at a USO dance in Brussels. After their marriage in 1946 in Brussels she crossed the Atlantic on the Zebulon Vance, the first liberty ship of "war brides" to leave France for New York City. She joined Bob in his hometown of Bakersfield, California in May 1946. They soon departed for the San Francisco Bay area where Bob had found employment. From 1947 to 1955 Lucienne taught art courses in the Bay area, and had several shows of her art in various California galleries. She also won several awards at various exhibitions including the California State Fair, Madenna Festival of Hollywood, Laguna Oil Annual and the Alemeda Art Festival. In the fifties after Bob rejoined the U.S. Air Force, Bob and Lucienne embarked on several tours of duty including Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota; Chateauroux, France; Athens, Greece (Lucienne's favorite posting); Dyess AFB, Abilene Texas, and Mountain Home AFB, Idaho. In the communities of all of the the bases in which they lived Lucienne painted, exhibited, marketed her paintings, taught classes and was a volunteer for many base activities. She also continued winning awards. While living in Abilene, Lucienne and Bob began attending fellowship services of the Unitarian Universalist congregation. Over the years they made many close and life long friends there and at the UU Congregation of Phoenix where she served as head of the art committee for many years and where they both happily continued their participation for the rest of their lives. Upon Bob's retirement from the Air Force in 1976 they settled in Scottsdale, AZ. Lucienne kept up her various artistic activities as she had in the past, having shows in Boise and Phoenix in 1978 and in Scottsdale from the 1980 into the 2000s. Her husband Bob passed away in August 2013, after a 67-year profoundly happy marriage. He is interred in Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia. In recent years, Lucienne has had several maladies relating to her age that rendered it impossible for her to continue to live independently. In 2013 she entered the Pueblo Norte Rehab and Medical Center where she resided until her death. Lucienne will be remembered as a highly intelligent lady with an insatiable curiosity in and deep knowledge of many subjects, including art, geography, history, and family. She was an entertaining and humorous story teller, and treated everyone with kindness and consideration, always with an open mind and an open heart. She had many friends in the United States, Belgium, and Canada, who kept in touch with her. In her declining years, it was a great tribute to her that friends and well-wishers often visited her or kept in touch by phone, chatting in both English and French. Lucienne leaves behind her many close friends. She was very appreciative of those who helped her so much during her final years including Ellie Murphy, Charlotte and Smoot Carl-Mitchell, Maria, Sam, Lisa and Michael Delillo, and Dominique, Daniel, and Marie Thirion of Scottsdale, her UUCP ministers Linda Lawrence and Susan Frederick-Gray, the staff at Pueblo Norte and others. She also leaves behind her cousin, Darryl Raymaker of Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Plans for a memorial are pending at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Phoenix. Memorial donations can be sent to the Foundation, or the National Society to Prevent Blindness.
Published in The Arizona Republic on June 19, 2016
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