CCS Trustee Al Lucarelli – In Memoriam

May 15, 2023

CCS Trustee Al Lucarelli and family

The College for Creative Studies mourns the loss of Al Lucarelli, trustee since 1996.

Al passed away on May 14, 2023 at the age of 83. Al is survived by his partner Waltraud (Wally) Prechter and sons Alphonse II and Francesco, along with their wives, Sonya and Kerri respectively, and his grandchildren Steffan, Leonardo and Andrea. He also valued his close relationships with Stephanie Prechter, Paul and Paige Prechter and their daughters Annika, Savana and Juliana.

A long-time member of CCS’s executive committee and secretary of the board of trustees, Al’s business experience and strong passion for the arts was invaluable to CCS over the term of his service to the institution.

“I had the privilege of working closely with Al Lucarelli for over 20 years. He was an unusually committed and involved Trustee. Among his many contributions, he transformed CCS’s Detroit International Wine Auction into one of the city’s premier fundraising events, and he led successful capital campaigns that helped put CCS at the forefront of art and design colleges,” said President Emeritus Richard Rogers. “He was a trusted, no-nonsense counselor with a quick mind, a sharp wit, and a big heart. He made me a better president and CCS a better institution. He was an activist for the good. His impact is indelible. I’ll never forget him.”

“CCS is indebted to Al for his immense wisdom, strategic insight, and support over the years,” said Don Tuski, CCS President. “I am incredibly saddened by his loss. Our sincerest condolences to Wally and Al’s entire family. Al was a tremendous Board Member and provided me with great counsel. I will miss him.”


Al, a proud first-generation Italian American from simple roots, was born in the small paper mill town of Livermore Falls, Maine on April 22,1940. He began working from age ten to fourteen to begin saving for college by selling the Lewiston Evening Journal for five cents, six days a week on a street corner, summer and winter. A good week, including tips, could be five to eight dollars. Al worked an average of thirty-five hours a week during his entire high school years as an underage manager at a bowling alley, which also required keeping the machines operating, being a short order cook, soda fountain operator and janitor. He was senior class president and even with his work schedule was salutatorian of his graduating class.

Al served in the United States Air Force, primarily in Japan and the Far East in the early 1960’s. He came to Detroit in 1989 as the Managing Partner of Ernst & Young, LLP following the merger of Arthur Young & Company and Ernst & Whinney. Following his graduation from Bryant University, magna cum laude, he began his career in 1966 in Boston with Arthur Young and also worked in its Providence, New York, Tampa (Managing Partner) and Atlanta (Managing Partner) offices, prior to arriving in Detroit.

Al never forgot where he came from, and this influenced his behavior throughout his entire life. He was actively involved in every city where he lived and worked. In a 1989 Detroit Free Press profile on Al shortly after his arrival in Detroit, he was quoted as saying… “ It’s very easy just to take out of a community, I believe you should give something back”.  Within months, he and his dear late wife Maria, who passed away on April 22, 2001, became involved in various cultural, civic and philanthropic organizations. He retired from Ernst & Young in 1998 but maintained his residence in Michigan.

During his time in Detroit, Al served on the boards and executive committees of the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce, the St. John Health System (board chair), the College for Creative Studies, United Way of Southeast Michigan, the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation and CATCH (Caring Athletes Team for Children’s and Henry Ford Hospitals).

He was a co-founder and first chairman of the Detroit Regional Partnership, a public-private entity formed by the Detroit Regional Chamber to attract international investment and business to southeastern Michigan.  Al led the campaign to raise $12 million dollars from businesses and governments to fund the first three years’ operating budgets.

He also served on the boards of the Detroit Opera (formerly Michigan Opera Theatre), the Michigan Council for the Arts and Cultural Affairs (appointed by Governor Engler), the St. John’s Foundation, the Thanksgiving  Day Parade Foundation, the Metropolitan Affairs Coalition and a trustee of the Citizen’s Research Council of Michigan and the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute, among several others.  Al was an active volunteer fundraiser for many of these organizations, either participating in or chairing campaigns that raised tens of millions of dollars.

In 2006, he was included in Crain’s Detroit Business’s 50 Most Connected People in Detroit. During his 30-plus years in Detroit, Al was a member of the Detroit Athletic Club, the Grosse Point Yacht Club, the Country Club of Detroit, the Renaissance Club (board chair) and the Detroit Club.

There will not be any visitation or services. “My father, with his usual unique brand of humor, said that he had attended so many funerals during his lifetime, he did not want to impinge on anyone’s day” … said his son Al II.

Contributions can be made to the Heinz C Prechter Bipolar Research Endowment Fund at the University of Michigan, the Detroit Opera, the Ascension St. John Providence Foundations, the College for Creative Studies, St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church, St. Clair Shores (where there is a memorial for Maria), the Detroit Institute of Arts and United Way of Southeast Michigan.