Alyce Downing Lucas


“Make It Happen”

Alyce Downing Lucas, 95, transitioned to glory on December 4, 2020 at the home she shared for the past three years with her daughter Dr. Lea Ann Lucas in Honolulu, Hawaii.

She is preceded in death by her husband, Dr. Leo A. Lucas, to whom she was married for 52 years, her parents, Mary Adams and Earnest Downing, and siblings: James Downing, Billy Downing, and Mildred. She is survived her loving daughter, Dr. Lea Ann Lucas, and siblings Edith Downing Steans of Houston, Texas, Betty Downing Anderson Dayton, Ohio, and Mary Katherine (Kit) Downing Watkins of Orlando, Fl as well as numerous nieces and nephews.

She was born in Rushville, Indiana on August 3, 1925, and grew up in the Irondale neighborhood of Anderson, Indiana where she graduated from St. Mary’s High School.

Alyce moved to Dayton, Ohio in June 1944 and lived for many years in West Dayton. Her first job in Dayton was with WPAFB as a processor for active-duty military personnel.  She was very active in the local community and selflessly gave of her time and talent in many work and volunteer capacities.  A recognized civil rights advocate, Alyce was the founder of the Panel of American Women, an organization which was involved in developing race relations in Dayton, Ohio. She was one of the members of Jack and Jill of America Inc, which started the Beautillion Militaire, an activity that presents outstanding African American male high school seniors to the community. In 1965 she became the first African American woman on radio station WDAO.  She had natural love for golf and was active with the United Golfers Association where she served as secretary. As an avid golfer, her work with United Golfers Association was instrumental in removing the “Caucasian Only” clause in the PGA. She served on the Children’s Services Board for 22 years and as President of the Board she was instrumental in developing a strong foster care system for children. She worked as Assistant Director for Contract Compliance for the City of Dayton Human Relations Council and was instrumental in making sure there was fair representation of African American contractors in the city. In 1976 she was one of the Founders of Twentig, Inc., a group of community-minded women who initiate and participate in fund-raising projects for benevolent and altruistic purposes.  One of the projects the fundraising projects support is the Willis “Bing Davis Endowment Scholarship Award in conjunction with the Dayton Foundation, for high-school students pursuing a college degree in the arts.  The organization also supports school musical instruments for students K-12. She was recruited to work in the Frigidaire division to help move women and minorities into higher roles in the company. She created the summer hire program for college students at Frigidaire and it became the General Motors national program. In 1984, She was appointed by Governor Richard Celeste as an Ohio Civil Rights Commissioner and served with the Ohio EEOC hearing cases of discrimination for 9 years. In the 90s, She was General Manager of the Dayton Skyhawks Indoor Football League where young adults were aspiring to be NFL players. An avid basketball fan, Alyce attended many University of Dayton Flyers games and NCAA March Madness playoffs.

Alyce’s work in Dayton was recognized with numerous awards including 1991 Dayton Daily News as one of the Top Ten Women, 2011 Lifetime Achievement Award to the Broadcasters Hall of Fame, 2013 Wright Dunbar Walk of Fame and 2016 YWCA Women of Influence Lifetime Achievement Award.

During her time in Honolulu, Hawaii she was an active participant at Central Union Adult Day Care Center. She enjoyed spending time doing word seek puzzles, coloring, working on her iPad and soaking up the sun poolside and at Waikiki Beach. Her favorite saying was “Make it Happen” which she did each and every day of her long and productive life.

In lieu of flowers and cards, a memorial contribution can be made to the Dr. Leo A Lucas and Alyce D. Lucas Fund #7732 at the Dayton Foundation. 1401 S. Main Street, Suite 100 Dayton, Ohio 45409.

Mahalo and Thank you to all my family and friends near and from afar for all the loving support during this time~ Lea Ann

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. ~Philippians 4:8


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