Lu Dunivan died on June 17, 2021, passing away peacefully in her home surrounded by family. A wonderful wife, mother, grandmother, friend, landscape artist, and master organizer, she will be missed and remembered fondly by all whose lives she touched
She is survived by her husband, Tom, and her four children: Mike (Sharon) Johnson, Dave Johnson, Steve (Jan) Johnson, and Sue (Jeff) Shupe. She also leaves behind the grandchildren she adored: Cory (Amber) Johnson, Erin Johnson, and Madeline and Bridget Shupe. Her parents and two brothers, Lamar and Charles, preceded her in death.
Lu was born July 26, 1936, to Lloyd and Gladys Hepler. She grew up on a farm south of Nappanee, learning all about hard work, gardening, and how to make outdoor spaces look beautiful. She graduated from Nappanee High School in 1954, having made friends she would enjoy the rest of her life.
First married to Pat Johnson, they lived in several different states, and even Canada, eventually settling back in Nappanee, where she happily remained for the rest of her life. While raising her four children and working full-time, she became an active force in numerous community activities.
Lu participated in the Nappanee Civic Theater and enjoyed performing on stage. She often rehearsed her lines with her kids, who thought Mom was surely destined for fame on Broadway. Though that never happened, they knew it was Broadway’s loss.
She volunteered her time selflessly as a member of Tri Kappa Sorority, a philanthropic organization, and took part in Nappanee’s Centennial Celebration in 1974. She showcased her strong faith and musical talents by playing the organ and piano each Sunday at church.
On November 1, 1975, she married Tom Dunivan, beginning years of shared adventures, joy, happiness, and love that lasted for the rest of her life.
Lu’s love of landscaping was well-known. She lovingly turned her yard into a marvel of nature. Flowers, bushes, trees, and various plants were artfully arranged around her home, with new additions and designs seeming to appear each summer. She took great pride in making her outdoor space look beautiful, and waged a relentless lifelong war against the weeds that dared intrude upon her creation.
She also took great pride in making her indoor space beautiful. A tasteful decorator, her festive touch turned each holiday and special occasion into something memorable. Lu was also an excellent cook, so no one went hungry. Since she always cooked too much, guests got to take home plenty of food, ensuring they wouldn’t go hungry for the next week, either.
Lu loved traveling. She traveled to Hawaii, the Bahamas, and other wonderful destinations with Tom. Lu ventured to Europe several times with the Sounds of Hope Choir, and then with her cousin, Lois, and other adventurous friends. When her daughter lived in Hong Kong for seven years, Lu visited her there a few times along with taking side trips to other Asian locations.
In the past few years, Lu delighted in spending several months each winter in Fort Walton Beach, Fla. She truly enjoyed the easygoing lifestyle of the area, from savoring its many appetizing restaurants to sipping wine on her balcony and watching the sunset into the sea.
She was famous for her exemplary organizational skills. “Organization is the key to success” was her motto, and she took organizing to a whole new level. Lu knew exactly where everything was, where it belonged, where you could find it, and where it darn well better be put back if you used it. If you didn’t, you knew a stern lecture was coming your way.
Planning calendars, filing cabinets bursting with files, a never-ending to-do list – organizational signs were everywhere. And while her extreme attention to detail led to much-bemused eye-rolling, she also taught us the value of planning, organizing, and preparing for each day. While we may never be as uber-organized as Lu, we’re better off because of the organizational lessons we learned from her.
A diehard Cubs fan, she followed the team through thick and thin – mostly thin, as any Cub fan knows. Two of her favorite Cub memories came in the same year. She celebrated her 80th birthday with her family on one of the rooftops across from Wrigley Field. And that fall, sat in the stands for Game 5 of the World Series, which the Cubs won on their way to finally winning it all.
Lu also treasured her membership in the “Killian’s Club.” Lu and her two friends, Karen and Bonnie, met each week to enjoy a few beers, or maybe a Bloody Mary or two, or even Lu’s favorite drink – a gin and tonic. She enjoyed the conversation and laughter shared by three dear friends and looked forward to each get-together.
Those friends, and so many others, will miss Lu dearly, but we’ll all take comfort knowing she’s at peace and watching over us. And making sure we complete each to-do list.
On Friday, June 25, a viewing will be held from 10 to 11 a.m., followed immediately by funeral services, all at Grace Point Church, 1155 North Main Street in Nappanee.