We are deeply sorry for your loss - the staff at Ball Funeral Chapel, Inc.
Lucille Treganowan, pioneering woman business owner, author, educator, television personality and beloved mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and aunt, passed away early Thursday morning at the age of 92.
As a single mother in the early 1960’s, she began what would be a long and incredible career in the automotive industry. Starting as an office/clerical worker at Tony Scuro’s automatic transmission shop in Homewood, she soon began studying the complex ins and outs of transmissions, at first “just to not appear clueless” when asked questions by customers. Soon, she was road testing, diagnosing, and managing all aspects of the business. She eventually became a partner, then opened her own business, Transmissions by Lucille.
She was the first woman in the area to obtain a Small Business Administration loan at a time when women were routinely denied financial and business opportunities.
She dealt with sexist stereotypes and ignorance with humor and patience, but was not above skewering the occasional customer or salesperson who would only deal with “the boss man!”
She didn’t consider herself a feminist, as such, but from the very beginning, she mentored thousands of women, through classes in general car knowledge and every-day maintenance. Her classes helped displaced homemakers, housewives, aspiring mechanics, and future business leaders.
Her television career began with weekly spots on Pittsburgh’s Daybreak show. The Powder Puff Mechanics spots soon grew into a movement. Eventually, she had her own ongoing show on the Home and Garden network (Lucille’s Car Care Clinic.) She appeared in an episode of Home Improvement with Tim Allen, and made appearances with Oprah, David Letterman, Jon Stewart and more.
She authored a helpful book on basic car care and toured the country touting her book, appearing at conventions, book stores and car shows.
She went on to complete her college degree at Chatham College when she was in her sixties.
She reluctantly retired in her mid-seventies and spent most of her time spoiling dogs and grandchildren.
No memorial is planned, as she has outlived most of her friends and siblings. She will return to her beloved Iola Kansas to rest with her parents and brother. Please, no flowers. Instead, we suggest donating to any organization mentoring young girls and women, or any worthy animal shelter.