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Elvera Lascelles, 91, who sang with Buffalo Bob Smith on local radio in the 1940s, died Jan. 21, 2001, in Williamsville Suburban Skilled Nursing Facility, four months after suffering a stroke.

Considered a musical prodigy, Ms. Lascelles, who was known by her maiden name, Elvera Ruppel, during much of her career, played piano and organ and studied opera. She made her mark singing classical and popular music. She started professionally at age 14 and starred in Shea's Buffalo Theater in the 1930s with orchestras conducted by the likes of Ferde Grofe, D'Artega and Lou Breese.

She was a vocalist on WGR radio for many years, performing on "The Back Home Hour," broadcast nationally from Buffalo, and later with Smith on "Sweetheart of the Air," where they were known as the "sweetheart team."

She also worked with such on-air personalities as Clint Buehlman, Foster Brooks, Ralph Hubbell and Roy Wilhelm and sang with the Dave Cheskin Orchestra.

"Oh, the stories she would tell -- especially about Foster Brooks and Bob Smith," recalled her niece, Pat Peterson of Buffalo, with whom Ms. Lascelles lived before falling ill in September.

With the advent of television, which took her close friend Smith to NBC in New York City, where he created "The Howdy Doody Show," Lascelles moved to WBEN-TV as singer on "Girl Talk," with Mary Jane Abeles and Norm Wellun.

She was married to local radio personality John "Old Bonesy" Lascelles for about 10 years in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

She later was choir director and soloist at First United Presbyterian Church and soloist under choir director Squire Haskin at First Presbyterian Church. She also taught voice at Nardin Academy for 11 years.

Services were held Jan. 24 in Lester H. Wedekindt Funeral Home, Town of Tonawanda. Burial was in Acacia Park Cemetery, Pendleton.


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