Lucie Becker was born on Dec. 7, 1927 in Brookhaven, Mississippi to parents Verna Lilly (Palatire) Becker and William H. Becker Sr. Lucie Blodgett passed away peacefully in Louisville, Kentucky on April 1, 2020.
Her brothers taught her how to play golf, hunt, fish, swim and to tell a great story from a very early age. Lucie graduated from Missouri School of Journalism while helping raise her brother William H. Becker Jr.’s five children whom she adored. Surviving typhoid fever during her early career at The Jackson Daily News, she fell in love with Louisville, moving there in 1953 after covering the The Kentucky Derby.
America has lost a trailblazing female photographer as her national coverage, publications and awards in the 1950s revealed her extraordinary talent in her early 20s while reporting for the legendary Barry Bingham Sr. at his Courier-Journal. Capturing the moment was her passion. Being with Lucie meant having your picture taken and her asking you about yourself. If you were camera shy, she would grin and say, “It only takes 1/60th of a second.” Her natural gift for storytelling, profound sense of empathy, good humor and brilliant artistic eye made her a leading light for generations of Louisvillians.
Lucie’s favorite memories include winning Photo of the Year in Look Magazine and covering the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953, Pope John Paul II’s visit to the US in 1979, chronicling her niece and playwright Beth Henley’s Pulitzer Prize winning career and praying hand in hand with His Holiness The Dalai Lama. Her driven curiosity and love of authors compelled her to visit William Faulkner at his home in Oxford, Mississippi, unannounced, to ask him what she should pack for the upcoming trip to Europe in 1953. While they sat on his porch with his hound dogs, he matter-of-factly gave her a list of what he would take: “four oxford shirts, two pairs of black pants, razor, razor strap and plenty of sharpened pencils and notebooks.”
Raising her children at her historic home Rosewell in Harrods Creek, Kentucky in 1979, she freelanced for The Voice-Tribune writing her column The Social Side until retirement at age 85. She promoted vital organizations, championing The Healing Place, Kentucky Harvest, The English Speaking Union, Locust Grove, The Thomas Merton Center and the Speed Art Museum. She was blessed to be partner and caregiver to John Y. Brown Sr., attorney and former Kentucky US House Representative, in his later years. After his death in 1985, she was drawn to Gethsemani Abbey, arranging flowers for their chapel and retreating there on a regular basis for many years. She served as a board member of the Thomas Merton Foundation and incorporated her experiences at the Abbey into her writing. She was a regular guest on Milton Metz’s radio talk show the “Off The Wall Gang” in the late 1980s with journalists Terry Meiners, Barry Bernson, Bob Hill, Byron Crawford and Richard Des Ruisseaux among others.
In her retirement, her joy was spending time with family and telling stories as only she could tell them. She has many golf trophies and even more thank you letters for her loving articles about the lives, events and her incredible photographs of the citizens of Louisville. She was preceded in death by brothers William Henry Becker Jr., Albert Lilly Becker, Thomas David Becker, Francis McGrath Becker and Keith Williamson Finley; son Dennis Long Jr., daughter Lucie Lyons Long; and grandson Christopher Long. She is survived by her son Clay Long (Lynsey), daughter Kate Blodgett (James Welch) and granddaughter Josie Welch.
The family would like to thank The Finleys (Rome,Georgia), Diane Walker, PC Coe, Ellen Timmons, Becki Masden, Anne T. Payne, James and Joyce Welch, Philip and Susie Greenberg, John Harralson, Christy Brown, Greg Chaney, John Y. Brown Jr. and family, Gethsemani Abbey, The River Valley Club, Masonic Home, Ponder Creek Estates and Landmark of Louisville. Special appreciation to the memories of Louise Cecil, Michael Weber, Anne M. Payne, and Betty Bruce “Boo” Brown, Lucie’s late dear friends.
Donations or service in lieu of flowers to The Abbey of Gethsemani and The Healing Place. A celebration of her life and work will be held at a later time to be announced.
Nunnelley Funeral Home in charge of arrangements.