Lucille Carloftis leaves legacy

Lucille Carloftis leaves legacy

In devastating news, Lucille Bowling Carloftis passed away on Thursday, March 5, 2020.

Carloftis is remembered as a famous southeastern Kentucky entrepreneur, matriarch of the Rockcastle River Trading Company, an author, and mother of six.

Becky Neal Ochenkoski describes her as loving, warm, smart, funny, stylish, classy, passionate, and strong.

“I met Ms Lucille shortly after she’d opened her adorable store on the corner of Maxwell & Woodland. Like her, I was a shoppe girl. I so appreciated her warm welcome & ambiance that she had created,” says Ochenkoski.

Her son Jon Carloftis, a renowned Lexington garden designer, is known to equally quote both Mark Twain and his mama.

“Momma had a profound effect on so many people because of being in a store where the public could just walk in and meet her,” says Jon.  

He continues, “I will be in Lexington or Louisville and a person will walk up to me and say, ‘You don’t know me and I’ve never met you, but happened to stop at your family’s property by total accident one day and it changed my life.  Was going through (chemo or divorce or whatever) some tough times and just having a terrible day and then…walked inside and was put on a cloud with your mother.  Tell her how much she helped me and continues to do so…’”

In September of 2016, Jon honored his mother by designing a garden in her name at Baptist Health Lexington. He went with a wild and somewhat untamed approach to represent his mother’s free-spirited Clay County roots.

As a cancer survivor herself, Lucille had been treated at Baptist Health more than 20 years ago. The hospital had dedicated a garden on the lower level of its new Cancer Center.

The garden’s plaque shines a positive light for others affected by breast cancer, carloftis-garden-sign-1describing Lucille as a “willful spirit” with a “forever smile.”

That description proves true as Lucille’s daughter, Carcille Burchette, tells the story of her mother driving herself from Rockcastle County to Lexington several times a week for radiation treatment without the help of anyone.

Lucille raised her family in the tiny town of Livingston, in Southern Rockcastle County. Along with her husband Carlos, she owned a restaurant, and later a theater.

During his childhood in Livingston, Jon would make the hour-long trip to Lexington with his family several times a week, claiming that, “Mama used to bring her cleaning to Chrisman’s, and we would shop at Stewart’s and Embry’s.”

Lucille’s lessons made a lasting impression on her children.

“As time passed, I slowly met her children and grandchildren, and although I didn’t see them as often as I’d like, every time felt very special.” Ochenkoski continues, “After meeting her precious family, I truly understood the saying, ‘The apple doesn’t fall from the the tree.'”

“Ms. Lucille, we all will miss you, but know that your life on this earth was blessed, that you in return blessed so many and that your legacy of kindness carries on with your beautiful family.”

Her celebration of life is at Bowling Funeral Home in London, KY on Monday, March 9 with the visitation from 12 to 5 pm and a celebration to follow.



Subscribe to the Ace e-dition for Lexington news, arts, culture, food, and entertainment news delivered to your inbox.

Call today to advertise in Ace, 859.225.4889