Meta Ukena

LENOX, Mass. - Meta Peveto Ukena, of Lenox, Mass., died on Friday, July 19, 2013 from complications after fracturing her hip in a fall at her home at Kimball Farms.

Born Meta Elizabeth Peveto in 1925 in Sherman to Edgar and Katherine Elizabeth Boggs Peveto, she grew up in Sherman where her father owned the Peveto Furniture Store. She graduated from Mary Hardin-Baylor College in 1945 and, later, Lehman College in New York City, where she received a masters in music education. After marrying Paul Ukena, the noted operatic bass-baritone, the couple moved to North Brother Island in New York City, where Paul attended Juilliard under the G.I. Bill. Meta, a pianist since the age of 5 and accomplished sight-reader, supported her husband as one of the most-requested accompanists for musical theater auditions. Soon after the birth of their second child the couple moved to Westchester County.

When their fifth child started school, Mrs. Ukena worked at Hutchinson School in Pelham, N.Y., where she taught music for 25 years. While the couple lived in Pelham, they often put together popular musical revues featuring their five children singing with their father accompanied by their mother on piano. Ten years after Paul Ukena's death in 1991, Meta moved to Kimball Farms, a retirement community in Lenox, Mass. She entertained the residents every Friday night, playing popular songs familiar to them all.

Meta Ukena is survived by her five children, Katha Chamberlain of Le Sueur, Minn., Paul Ukena Jr. of New York City, Liza Catino of Guilford, Conn., Amy Ukena of Point Richmond, Calif., and Jeremy Ukena of Utica, N.Y.; by nine grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren. In lieu of flowers the family requests donations sent to www.the21club.org, a nonprofit benefiting families with Down Syndrome children; HospiceCare in the Berkshires, Inc.; or to a .

A memorial service is being planned and will be held on Saturday, Aug. 24, 2013 at the First Congregational Church in Stockbridge, Mass.

Published in The Herald Democrat on July 31, 2013