July 5, 1927 – Dec. 22, 2014
Lucille Katherine Sannella, an artist, writer and musician who adopted the Italian pronunciation of her name, Lucia Sannella, died Dec. 22 in Erie County Medical Center after a short illness. She was 87.
Born in Buffalo, she was the daughter of Luigi Sannella, founder and conductor of the Beethoven Philharmonic Orchestra in the 1920s, a predecessor to the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. After he bought the Masque Theater on South Park Avenue in the 1930s, she sold tickets and popcorn to moviegoers.
She was a graduate of Mount St. Mary Academy and earned a bachelor’s degree in art education from Buffalo State Teachers College in 1949. She taught elementary school art until her first daughter was born in 1952.
Ms. Sannella inherited her father’s musical talents and was an accomplished pianist. She played piano all her life and performed in fine restaurants in the area.
Mrs. Sannella bore a resemblance to Elizabeth Taylor and was a stage actress and director and also wrote for television.
Her main focus, however, was in the visual arts, as a painter, sculptor and interior decorator. She also collected antiques and refinished furniture. Her major project was the restoration of her grand Victorian home in Dayton in Cattaraugus County.
She wrote more than 100 poems, many of which were published in newspapers across the country. Her favorites were collected in a book, “Touchstone.”
Inspired by the feminist movement, in 1976 she published “The Female Pentecost,” an evaluation of the teachings of St. Paul from the perspective of the women in the Bible.
In the 1980s, she began a study of dowsing, and worked on a theory that sacred places such as churches and burial grounds are deliberately situated over powerful underground water sources.
She studied, dowsed and mapped water lines under major churches on the East Coast. After she was featured in a newspaper article in Florida, she gathered crowds when she was dowsing and mapping. She completed an unpublished book on dowsing.
Survivors include three daughters, Laurie Baron, Lisa Pitzonka and Rebecca Summers; a brother, Joseph; a sister, Deanna Calandra; and four grandchildren.
There will be no services.