Lou A. Waller
November 21, 1938 – November 11, 2020
Lou A. Waller died November 11, 2020. Even after Parkinson’s Disease prevented her from talking, it was clear that she continued to make up jokes, funny stories, and fanciful scenes in her mind just as she had done since her birth in Oklahoma City on November 21, 1938.
Lou was in the first class graduated from Northwest Classen High School in Oklahoma City and at that time had the career choice of nurse, teacher, or secretary. She chose nursing and was among the first to receive a BSN from The University of Oklahoma.
Shortly after graduation she married John H. Waller, and they moved to Lawton, Oklahoma where Lou worked as a public health nurse. Their daughter, Jen, was born at Fort Sill. At the end of John’s military service, Lou and John began their life as corporate nomads.
She lived in New York, Chicago, and Indianapolis all within the next three years. Son David was born in Indianapolis shortly before they moved to St. Louis and then back to Chicago. During this period Lou worked as a first-class homemaker, child tender, cookie baker, Halloween costume-maker, and girl scout leader. She continued to express and expand her creativity by regularly taking all kinds of classes – from transcendental meditation to pottery. She was also known for her skills at hosting parties, from small intimate gatherings to large holiday-themed events.
Her family then moved to Bryan, Ohio where Lou returned to the medical profession as an operating room nurse and as a photographer for the local newspaper. Northwest Ohio was also where Lou graduated from clown school with the clown name “Pickles.” Finally, the family moved to South Bend, Indiana where Lou and John lived for twenty-two years. These many moves gave Lou the opportunity to exercise her gift of design and organizational skills, as she was largely responsible for orchestrating moves and for decorating the family’s homes.
When her children went to college so did she, earning an AA in Commercial Art from Indiana Vocational Technical College. After several years working in advertising agencies she became co-owner of a large, print-oriented ad agency. A few years after selling the agency to her business partner, she earned a Master of Science in Education in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Indiana University. It was also during this time that Lou’s adventurous spirit emerged, as she took horse packing and rock climbing trips in the Rocky Mountains, Outward Bound excursions, a hike to the floor of the Grand Canyon (and back), and sailing voyages in the Virgin Islands. She continued to feed her creative appetite by enrolling in writing workshops across the country.
Upon retirement in 1994, Lou and John “came home” to Norman where she became immersed in supporting OU volleyball, women’s basketball, and particularly fine arts. Lou was a founding member of OU’s School of Dance support group, Dance Partners. In the Norman community she became an active cast member of the old-time radio performance group Second Stage Players, a book club, and French Club along with membership in the Norman Reviewers Club.
Lou will be remembered by many for her sense of humor, her visual design skills and sense of color, her independent spirit, and her ability to extemporaneously harmonize a song when singing in a group. She was a caring and funny mother, wife, and friend. Lou was predeceased by her parents, Paul Travis Lower and Deborah Heep Lower and older brother, (James) Alan Lower. She is survived by her husband of nearly 60 years, John Waller; daughter Jen Waller and her partner Tim Lippert; son Dr. David Waller and his wife Dr. Noga Zerubavel; sister-in-law Marilyn Lower; nephew Chris Lower and wife LaVeryl Lower; niece Anne Lower with her husband Don Shirey; along with two cousins Dr. David (Bill) Foerster and Ann (Foerster) Ryan with whom she was particularly close.
A tribute to Lou’s life will be held at a later date when friends and family can gather. Memorial contributions can be made to the University of Oklahoma College of Fine Arts.
The family agrees that Rivermont Assisted Living and Memory Care in Norman, where Lou spent the last several months of her life, employs exceptionally kind and caring people who were a comfort to both Lou and her family.
No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
Lou A. Waller
November 16, 2020
My heart is saddened in the loss of my friend, Lou. It's easy to underestimate the breadth of her passions, nursing, sailing, climbing, designing, mothering, her work...Lou was a learner who never seemed to tire from seeing the big picture in life. That's what I appreciated of Lou. We went to design / advertising school together, and she had a great "eye", or design sense. She loved the things that were lovely and wanted to lead people to "seeing the beautiful things in life". We last crossed paths in 2013 – she and John were driving through Indianapolis on their way home to Oklahoma. I treated them for lunch at Shapiro's Deli, and it was so fun to connect. She was snarky as ever and I was equally snarky...just as we we were in design school. One memory I have of Lou is the day (while in design school in South Bend IN), she decided to challenge Ed Harding, our design dept head. He was an old-school ad guy who smoked like a chimney from Detroit. After working for decades, he turned into an educator. Ed walked the studio looking over the shoulders of students and visually would critique in unusual ways. One day he stopped at Lou's drawing table he smirked and just shook his head for a few minutes. He loved to make students uncomfortable this way. It was his way of acting as a future client. Lou didn't stand for this. She asked "what the hell do you want? If you're going to tear it up, do it. Let's get this over." Ed laughed so hard, and so did Lou. After a few seconds, every student was laughing so hard! The Lou vs Ed showdown. It was a classic moment. Then Lou and I went on break and laughed some more.
I'll miss you Lou. – eddy
November 15, 2020
Frances and I will always remember when we first met Lou. We were brand new to the Reviewers Book Club and, in her friendly way, she warmly welcomed us. Learning that I do work bringing water and sanitation to developing countries, Lou said "Well you can remember our names - just think of toilets, for my husbands name is John and I am Lou." We knew from this first meeting that Lou was fun loving and enjoyed life to the fullest. And boy was that first impression spot on. Frances and I also thoroughly enjoyed being at her 80th birthday party. We learned how loved Lou was for sharing her many gifts with family and friends. She always brought a smile to your face with a kind word or humorous story. We are blessed to have known Lou and recognize her life lives on in all those she touched. Dave and Frances Sabatini
Charlotte Loyd Hart
November 14, 2020
Lou was always a big deal to all the dancers at OU. She not only financially supported so many of us, she created relationships that supported us as we grew in more mature performers and humans. She helped me learn the art of schmoozing when I was an undergrad, with helpful and witty tips for a skill she knew I’d need as an artist. When I returned to OU Dance as a grad student, Dance Partner events were so much fun because my husband and I got to hang out with Lou & John. Lou and my husband Marcus were ridiculous together (and ridiculously funny). She always made sure Marcus was never bored while I was “on the clock.” I remember one time where she almost got me in mild trouble for handing me wine at an on campus event as a grad student. I’m pretty sure she used the word “nonsense” in response to my protests that it wasn’t allowed me as a student. Ha! Those are cherished memories we have of our time there. I remember so many little conversations with Lou, whether at donor events, at Ann’s house for her Christmas party, or post-performance, and each of those memories makes me smile. I definitely missed Facebook chatting with her these past few years. We send our love to her family, especially John. —Charlotte & Marcus Hart