May 26, 1954 – Sept. 22, 2019
Sharon Gail Porter-Lucas never got to visit Africa, but it was a continual source of inspiration for her.
“She was first drawn to it by the history and the culture,” her husband of 44 years, Lionel Lucas, said, “then she got into the design.”
Known to friends as Gail, she and her husband opened their first African-themed boutique, Flight 104, at Elmwood Avenue and Allen Street, in the mid-1980s.
Four years ago, they found larger quarters and established Ananse Ntontan Creative Arts Gallery, at Genesee and Pratt streets.
She died Sept. 22 in Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center after a year’s illness. She was 65.
Born in Carlisle, S.C., she came to Buffalo with her family as a child in the 1950s and was baptized at Antioch Baptist Church.
She attended School 76, graduated from Kensington High School in 1972 and earned an associate’s degree in business from Erie Community College.
In African studies, sewing and design, she was self-taught.
“She was creative and she was good at making things, jewelry and things like that,” her husband said.
Then he bought her a sewing machine.
“I figured she’d want to take it to the next level — and she did,” he said. “She’d use a lot of African fabrics.”
Her cousin Dawn Berry-Walker said she became well-known among African merchants in New York City, where she often visited to acquire fabrics and items for the boutiques.
She was a longtime supporter of the annual Kwanzaa and Juneteenth celebrations and the Pappy Martin Legacy Jazz Collective.
In addition to her husband, she is survived by a son, Ameen; her mother, Carrie Porter; a brother, Thomas; and three sisters, Johnny E., Gwendolyn and Stacy.
Services were held Sept. 28 in Try Jesus Ministries, 190 Fillmore Ave.