Life Story

Ruth Alice Lucchesi


Ruth Alice Lucchesi

Ruth Alice Lucchesi (nee Wellstein), age 86, died unexpectedly on May 19, 2021 at Glenbrook Hospital following a fall the previous week in her Northfield, IL home, her residence since 1968. She was born on September 25, 1934 in Madison, WI, the only child of Anton William Wellstein and Hope Victoria Lathrop. Ruth grew up in Geneseo, IL.

She graduated from Geneseo High School in 1952 and that fall began studying home economics at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL. But she did not complete her degree until 1979, earning a B.S. in Accounting from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She became an Illinois Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in 1982. In 1990, she earned an MBA degree from Lake Forest Graduate School of Management in Lake Forest, IL.

She met Claudio (Claude) Alphonso Lucchesi, one of two children of Nello Lucchesi and Anna Bellizia, at Northwestern and they were married on October 24, 1954 in Geneseo. Ruth put her home economics training to good use as a full-time homemaker for 20 years, raising her two children to adulthood.

During her home-making years, she was also very active in community affairs. She was Chair of Northfield Local Affairs, a League of Women Voters affiliate. She tutored children from the Cabrini-Green Housing Projects in Chicago. She also became the first female Certified Paramedic in the state of Illinois, serving on the Northfield Ambulance Service for seven years.

Ruth's professional work outside the home began in 1979 at G.D. Searle as an auditor. She later moved on to Abbott Laboratories and Northwestern University as an accountant and auditor. She concluded her career as Director of Audit at the University of Chicago, retiring in 1998.

Ruth applied her professional expertise in various positions: Treasurer of Family Service of Winnetka-Northfield, Northfield Village Treasurer, Northfield Village Trustee, pro-bono advisor to a Local School Council of the Chicago Public Schools system, Board Member of The United Way, and Treasurer of The Society of Mayflower Descendants in the State of Illinois. She was also an active member of the North Shore Unitarian Church in Deerfield, IL.

Her passions and hobbies included extensive travel, genealogy, gourmet cooking, knitting, and spending summers on Beaver Island, MI with Greg's family at the home Greg and Linda built on property Ruth inherited from her parents. She traveled to all 50 states and nearly 30 foreign countries. Her first book, The Wellstein Genealogy, tracing her father's family starting in 1650 in Germany through 12 generations, was published in 2000. A book on her mother's family, Genealogy of Azariah Lathrop and his wife Esther Lewis, followed in 2009. While researching her second book, Ruth confirmed that she had four ancestors on the Mayflower. She was so proud of her "pilgrim" heritage! She also confirmed her lineage to the American Revolutionary War and was delighted with her membership in the Daughters of the American Revolution. Ruth loved to host family gatherings serving delicious gourmet meals inspired by recipes from her vast collection of cookbooks and epicurean magazines. In her later years she approached knitting with the same gusto as her cooking. Her projects warmed many family members, especially her granddaughters, Giuliana and Alison, whom she adored.

Reflecting on her life, Ruth said that "nothing was as important, or long lasting" as raising her children. She hoped that "they and her grandchildren will see a better world, made so by their contributions."

In addition to her parents, Ruth was preceded in death by her husband, Claude, and her brother-in-law, Nello Joseph Lucchesi. Surviving are: her two sons, Nello William Lucchesi (wife: Ann Freeman) and K. Gregory Lucchesi (wife: Linda Flosi); two granddaughters, Giuliana Victoria Lucchesi (daughter of: K. Gregory; husband: Yamil Molinar Rivera) and Alison Ruth Lucchesi (daughter of: Nello William); sister-in-law, Patricia Ann Baier Lucchesi; the following nieces and nephews, Juanita Karen Torronio (husband: Ralph), Nello John Lucchesi (wife: Debra Terry), Jerold Joseph Lucchesi (wife: Sarah Roland), Jeannine Ann Panunzio (husband: Ricky Don); and several grand nieces and nephews.

At Ruth's request, there will be no funeral or formal memorial service. She has donated her body to the Anatomical Gift Association of Illinois for medical teaching. Those who wish to remember Ruth in a special way may make gifts in her memory to their favorite charity.

Posted online on June 07, 2021

Published in Geneseo Republic