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Obituaries » Betty G. Lukashuk


Betty G. Lukashuk

June 17, 2019

Burial Date: June 20, 2019

Linnemann Funeral Home Erlanger 30 Commonwealth Avenue Erlanger, KY 41018 June 20, 2 p.m.

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Betty Geraldine (Likely) Lukashuk, 98, of Erlanger, died June 17, 2019. An accomplished pianist and music teacher, Betty spread her joy and love of music to countless students throughout the years.

She was born in Des Moines, Iowa and raised in Boone, Iowa, where at age 5 she was called to music. Betty’s devotion to music was shown in her hard work, practicing each day at 5am before school. She first appeared on radio at age 8. Her studies became even more intense while still in high school under the tutelage of Dr. Ira Schroder at Iowa State University. This enabled her to enter the University of Michigan, where not only did she receive Phi Beta Kappa honors upon graduation, but also met and married the love of her life: Vladimir “Lucky” Lukashuk.

In 1945, the Lukashuks moved to Los Angeles, California, where Betty taught private piano while “Lucky” played violin and viola in both the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra and in recording studios for movie soundtracks.

Thor Johnson, Lucky’s roommate at the esteemed Tanglewood summer music camp of 1940, became the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra’s Conductor in 1947. He recruited Lucky for the CSO, precipitating their move to Erlanger.

Upon arrival to Erlanger, Betty immediately established a studio in their small apartment and then a house on Cowie Avenue. She quickly gained a reputation of being among the finest piano instructors in the midwest, with a career that spanned from 1954-2019. During the period of 1965 through 2008, many of her students performed as soloists with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra via the CSO Young Artist Competition, The Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, The Cincinnati Youth Orchestra, The St Louis Symphony and many others.

Betty always had a dedication, honesty and earnestness in her teaching that endeared her to her many students, for whom she truly wanted to achieve their potential as developing musicians. Bringing out the best in her students by being rigorous in her pedagogy and expectation of practice, her students took top competition prizes, including the World Piano Competition (which then resulted in appearances at Carnegie Hall) and offers of college scholarships across the region, including The Cleveland Institute of Music, Indiana, Peabody, Louisville and CCM. Many of her students currently remain professional and military musicians, church musicians, and piano teachers in the Greater Cincinnati area. Many others became physicians, dentists and attorneys.
She was critical to the start-up of Cincinnati’s World Piano Competition, The Kentucky Federation of Music Clubs’ Northern Kentucky Chapter and the Music Department of Northern Kentucky University, where she served as the University’s first piano professor.

Betty’s philanthropic interests showed her passion for music in giving to Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, the NKU Music Department, and the School for Creative and Performing Arts (SCPA), as well as her love for animals (especially cats!) in her generous contributions to the SPCA, the Cincinnati Zoo and the Humane Society.

Betty is preceded in death by her husband, Vladimir “Lucky” Lukashuk and sister, Ethel Likely Whitney, and her parents, Dr Charles W. Likely and Hazel Brewbaker Likely. She is survived by several generations of grateful and loving students, friends and music lovers. A visitation for Betty will be held on Thursday, June 20th, 12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. concluding with a time of prayer at Linnemann Funeral Homes in Erlanger, KY, followed by entombment at Forest Lawn Memorial Park.