Lucielle Browning Somers

Lucille Browning Somers

Lucielle was born Lucielle Raynor Brown on February 19, 1913, in Jacksonville, N.C., the daughter of Raleigh Lee Brown and Berry Raynor Brown, and passed away on August 8, 2011. Lucielle was interred at the Family Plot at the Maplewood Cemetery in Durham, N.C.

In retirement, Lucielle resided in Aquebogue for many years where she made many good friends, was a committed member of Old Steeple Church and volunteered in many community endeavors, including the Riverhead Woman’s Club. In 2005, she relocated to Destin, Florida, to be closer to her family.

Throughout her life she was a good and kind person. She was known for her warm personality and generous hospitality. She was a devoted wife to her beloved husband of 63 years, Bob. She was also a kind and supportive mother.

Professionally, she was a very accomplished musician with exceptional self-discipline, perseverance and organizational ability. At Durham High School she became a winning soloist at the NC State Music Festival for several years. Upon graduation in 1932, she received a scholarship to attend the Juilliard School of Music in New York City. While at Juilliard and subsequently, she performed with Sigmund Romberg on the Swift Hour and also did solo work with Andre Kostelanetz, Paul Whiteman and Wilfred Pelletier. Her first operatic experience was in “Falstaff” with Fritz Reiner and the Philadelphia Opera Company.

During her last year at Juilliard she received a contract with the Metropolitan (MET) Opera Company in New York City. Lucielle performed as a principal mezzo-soprano soloist at the MET from 1936 until 1951. She sang in more than 500 operatic performances, including 75 performances of “Madame Butterfly” where she performed the role of Suzuki. She also performed many times in “Carmen” and in operas by Wagner, Verdi and others. During summers she toured throughout the United States with the Opera Company. After leaving the MET she sang in concert, on television and in her local community.

Lucielle always said that many of the good things that happened to her in her life were the result of the help and guidance she received from others. Her Durham High School teachers and people in the church identified her talent, provided encouragement, provided financial support and used their influence to gain an audition and entrance to Juilliard, which launched her on her singing career.

She was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, Bob, and brother, Bob. She is survived by her sister, Mary, and niece, Karen; sister-in-law, Edith; son, Bob, and his wife, Linda; grandson, Chris, and his wife, Lisa; and great-grandchildren Sienna and Bryan; granddaughter, Cathie Gray, and great-grandson, Nathan.

Memorials should be given to Old Steeple Church or the Riverhead Woman’s Club.

This is a paid notice.