Joe Lucas was a gregarious iconoclast, an uncompromising defender of civil liberties and human rights and a passionate Atheist, preaching to all who would listen.
He was born on Jan. 19, 1933, to Anna Kathryn Thaidigsman and Joseph Biddle Lucas in the Riverside, New Jersey, home built in the 1890s by his German immigrant grandparents.
He died of cardiopulmonary disease March 28, 2014, in hospice in Mt. Holly, 11 miles from his birthplace. He was 81.
He was politically engaged to the very end, contributing to Texas gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis, signing online petitions and joining the American Civil Liberties Union in championing whistle-blower Edward Snowden as a patriot.
Besides Snowden, his heroes were journalists, activists and artists. He loved muckraker Jack Anderson, writer Molly Ivins, columnist Jim Hightower and commentator Bill Moyers. Before the folk singer’s death in 2014, he campaigned to have Pete Seeger nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
He delighted in building things from scratch, be it a model airplane, a catamaran, a culinary creation or a computer.
A voracious reader and collector of tools, music and recipes, he was philosophically opposed to filing systems, hierarchies and rules, with the exception of the rules of grammar.
The exuberant hugger of trees and of people was happiest experiencing and photographing the outdoors with his family. His photographs celebrate the Alaska/Canada Highway, California’s Yosemite National Park, Washington’s Hoh Rainforest, Texas’ Big Bend National Park, Maine’s Mount Desert Island, Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument and his beloved Jersey Pine Barrrens.
He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Charlotte Katherine “Holly” Lucas, his children: Charlotte-Anne Lucas and her husband Bill Waldrop, Wendy Lucas and her husband Jay Weatherbee, Kevin Lucas and his wife, Mary Giovaninni; his sister, Kathryn Franklin, and her husband, Henry; his brother, David Lucas, and his wife, Kathy; nine nieces and nephews; nine grand-nieces and grand-nephews and scores of cousins.
A gathering in remembrance will be held May 24 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Cherry Hill N.J. For more details, click here. Our family asks that donations in his memory be made to NOWCastSA or to the Humane Society of Central Washington.
Coming next: The Early Years; The Photographer, The Activist…