Lance Wayne Ulen, the son of the late Lewis J.âBudâ Ulen and Millicent Price Hooper Ulen, was born January 6, 1944 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Beloved husband of Karen Johnson Ulen, Lance lived most of his life in Harrisburg, where he continued his familyâs legacy of art, business, and commitment to the community until his transition on April 27, 2017.
Lanceâs family legacy stretches back even further, to his maternal great grandfather, Thomas A. Hooper, Sr., who served the Union Army during the Civil War. Lanceâs maternal grandfather, Walter J.B. Hooper, Sr., founded Hooper Memorial Funeral Home on Forster Street, and his maternal grandmother, Alice Price Hooper, was a schoolteacher in the Harrisburg schools. His mother, Millicent, âThe Elegant Lady,â moved Hooperâs to Cumberland Street and was sole proprietor of the family business established by her father.
In addition to acting as 2nd generation proprietress of Hooper Memorial Home, Millicent was an avid cellist and pianist studying music at Temple University when she switched to the study of mortuary science to maintain the family business. Lanceâs father was an amateur photographer and professional writer who worked as a Capitol Hill correspondent for the Pittsburgh Courier. This legacy of business and art would drive Lanceâs future.
Lance developed an early interest in art in his home, and this passion was not discouraged as he attended local schools. Upon his graduation from John Harris High School, Lanceâs deep and earnest pursuit of art was further cultivated when attending Virginia Union and Clark Atlanta Universities and the Philadelphia Art Institute. Through the late 1960s and 1970s, Lance was a painter whose work often reflected the growing commitment to social justice that is emblematic of that time period. An active participant in the Civil Rights Movement, Lance would remain a community leader in this area, like his mother, as evidenced by the many newspaper articles published through the 2000s that cited him as a source because of his expertise in issues important to the African American community.
Much like his mother before him, after Lance concluded his formal study of art he graduated from Gupton-Jones College of Funeral Service in order to helm the business. Hooperâs was then moved to its current location on Walnut Street and continued the faithful dedication to local families that has made Hooperâs an institution in the Harrisburg area.
Lance never stopped growing as an artist. He became an amateur photographer like his father had been. Lance loved visiting art museums and other cultural institutions and growing his knowledge and skill in both fine art and photography. Lance also loved to travel â especially on his Harley. An avid motorcyclist, Lance was a member of the Buffalo Soldiers Cavalry Scouts - PA.
Lance was a steward of the Hooper-Ulen legacy of excellence and a community spirit/activist that was passed down through the generations. He served on many boards, including the National Funeral Directors Association, the Dauphin County Funeral Directors Association, the Camp Curtin Branch of the YMCA, and the Sickle Cell Council. Lance was also a member of Club 21, the Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity, and the Chosen Friends Lodge #43 F&AM and a Lifelong member of the NAACP.
Lance was also a member of The Greater Zion Missionary Baptist Church, held positions on the Transportation, Usher and Menâs Ministry and frequently attended services at St. Paul Episcopal Church.
In addition to his wife Karen, Lance is survived by his son, Hans D. Ulen (from a previous marriage) his brother, Clive Antony âTonyâ Ulen (Theresa), 6 step children; Tierell Johnson, Kevin Chase, Jonathan Branam, Nicholas Branam, Amanda Humes and Kizzy Chivis; 5 grandchildren, nieces Eisa Ulen Richardson and Renee Butts Ulen, and a host of additional nieces, nephews, cousins, relatives and friends.