Born: March 20,1917
Beech Grove Meadows
Lucy Gatewood encouraged her neighbors to help clean up their neighborhood by being an example. She swept the streets and alleys which encouraged others to help.
She was often the go-to person when neighbors wanted to know about various flowers and when to plant them and other ways to beautify their yards. She organized neighborhood parades to help create unity. Children were at her house regularly because she often fed them.
Working with her husband, Roy, and neighbors, Mrs. Gatewood helped make the Harlan, Villa, Churchman Street Block Club neighborhood one of the nicest in the Fountain Square area.
The Fountain Square area is one of the sites of Indiana’s first urban Main Street programs. It is also one of the six Indianapolis Cultural Districts. The area is targeted for upgrades to the streetscape and fountain. There are also plans to develop more public space. It is space that Mrs. Gatewood always felt a responsibility for keeping clean.
“Mom would knock on people’s doors and say let’s clean up the alley or let’s clean up the street and they would help,” said Mrs. Gatewood’s daughter, LaVerne Anderson.
To Mrs. Gatewood, it was second nature. “All I did was get things in order,” she said. “It needed it.”
Mrs. Gatewood moved to Indianapolis in 1956 from Metcalfe County, Kentucky so her husband could be closer to medical treatment. She went to work for Hook’s drugstore at its Monument Circle location. She had one child, Mrs. Anderson. The family bought a home at 1129 South Harlan.
In addition to working in the neighborhood, Mrs. Gatewood became active in social and civic organizations, including Purity Chapter of the Order of Eastern Star, of which she was past worthy matron, and the Satellite Court of Heroines of Jericho. She was an active member of Greater St. James Baptist Church on East Raymond Street.
On Election Day, she often picked up seniors and took them to vote. She was also a poll worker at polling places on the Southside.
She was known for giving vegetables to families in the Barrington Heights neighborhood. “Mom could reach out to anyone,” said Mrs. Anderson.
Mrs. Gatewood, who turned 94 in March, remained active well into her late 70s, said her daughter.
After her husband passed in 1977, Mrs. Gatewood spent much of her time traveling, said her daughter. “My mother went all over the world.”
She has three grandchildren, seven great grand children and four great, great grandchildren.
“My mother is a woman I wish I could have been,” said her Mrs. Anderson.