Lucy Hartnett

Obituary of Lucy Hartnett

Lucy Alice DiCapua Hartnett, 89, died peacefully at home on March 27, 2018.  Friends and relatives may visit on Tuesday, April 3, 2018, from 2-4 & 7-9 pm at the Norman Dean Home For Services, 16 Righter Ave., Denville.  A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Wednesday, April 4, at 10 am. at St. Mary’s Church, Denville.  Entombment will follow at Resurrection Cemetery & Mausoleum, Staten Island, NY.  .  Flowers are welcome or donations in her memory may be made at


Born in Brooklyn on February 11, 1929, to the late Anthony & Carmela DiCapua, Lucy excelled in many areas of life but was an exceptional star in the world of academics.  She skipped two years of elementary school, attended Lafayette High School in Brooklyn, and graduated from Hunter College at age 20, where she accepted her first teaching position.  While a student at Hunter, Lucy started one of the nation’s first non-denominational, interracial sororities, a reflection of her deeply held value of egalitarianism.


She attended The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, on a scholarship, receiving a Master of Science degree in fabric and textile design in 1950.  She was offered a scholarship to the Ph.D design program at The University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, but was forced to decline because of family obligations.  


Lucy married James Lester Hartnett, a World War II Navy veteran who fought in the Pacific Theater and was a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Iona College.  Thanks to her creative intelligence and artistic ability, Lucy’s home was a fun and fascinating place to live, filled with love and laughter.  In addition to raising four children, Lucy taught elementary school for the NYC Board of Education once her youngest started school.  She studied Education at Kingsborough Community College, and received an advanced certificate in administration and supervision from Brooklyn College.  Lucy was proud to have taught at every educational level.  She loved learning and teaching and excelled in both.


An artist who enjoyed painting, especially mixed media, Lucy’s natural ability and training allowed her to work in fashion and interior design.  Her artwork is part of Kingsborough Community College’s permanent collection and has been shown at The Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in Manhattan.  She loved creating beautiful things and inspiring others to connect to their creativity.


An amazing cook, Lucy loved having her family around her table for delicious meals and good company.  Every summer, she organized the Hartnett Family Reunion in Emerald Isle, NC.  Those times will be cherished forever as this tradition continues in 2018 and beyond.  Lucy was an amazing mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.  For Lucy, family always came first.  


After moving to Rockaway, NJ, as a charter member of The Fox Hill’s community in 2002, Lucy continued to enjoy life, making many new friends and traveling when she could.  She joined the Red Hat Society and served as Queen Mother, a natural expression of the leadership skills that had been evident throughout her life.  Lucy always had room for a canine companion and she was an advocate of adopting dogs long before it was fashionable.  Lucy’s warm disposition, spunky personality and enduring sense of humor touched countless lives.  Her strength of heart and character were an inspiration to all who knew her. 


Predeceased by James Hartnett and her dear sister Marie DiCapua, Lucy is survived by her devoted brother, Peter DiCapua and his wife, Heidi.  She leaves beautiful memories for her children: Paul (Eileen); Celia (William Bystrynski); Anthony (Elizabeth) and Anne (Cheri Smith); her adored grandchildren: Theresa Tiberia (Vincenzo), Susan Scharff (Michael), James Hartnett (Magdalena Sutula), Caroline Flanigan (Matthew), Anthony Hartnett, David Bystrynski (Maíra da Mota Meyer), Jonathan Bystrynski, Therese, Mary and Lucy Hartnett; her great grandchildren: Mario, Paul, Vincenzo, Emma Joan, Noah and Lucas; her beloved nieces, nephews, family members and dear friends and her most recent rescue, Maggie May.