Elizabeth Louella Elrod

April 23, 1935April 12, 2020

Dr. Lu Elrod, age 84, of Monrovia, California, passed away peacefully and surrounded by loved ones at her home on Easter Sunday, April 12, 2020. Born Elizabeth Louella Elrod on April 23, 1935, in Chattanooga, Tennessee, she was the daughter of the late John C. and Pauline Kohn Elrod. She is survived by her brother, John Edward Elrod of Los Altos, CA; her sister, Foye Elrod Wallace, of Gainesville, GA; her nieces, Lisa Elrod, of Bend, OR, and Helyn Elizabeth Wallace, of New Smyrna Beach, FL; an aunt, Jo Littlejohn, of Simpsonville, SC; and many cousins. Lu grew up in Marietta, Georgia, and graduated from Marietta High School in 1953, with a remarkable record of perfect attendance from the 1st through 12th grades. She excelled in all sorts of athletics, especially swimming. Over the course of her lifetime, she taught several hundreds of children how to swim. Awarded multiple vocal scholarships, she would earn a Bachelor's degree in Music from Georgia State University in 1960. During this time, she was presented Leadership Development and Leadership Fellows awards from The Ford Foundation. In 1970, she earned a Master of Music Education degree and in 1971, a Doctorate in Education, both from the University of Georgia. She would find her passion in teaching music teachers how to teach music. To begin her nearly 50-year teaching career, Dr. Elrod first led chorus and band at Southwest DeKalb High School in Decatur, Georgia. In 1972, she accepted a faculty position in the Music Department at the University of Maryland, Baltimore, and concurrently served as Music Director in several churches in the area. She would, in fact, serve as Music Director in various churches throughout her life, in Georgia, North Carolina, and California. In 1978, she moved to California to teach Music and Music Education at California State University, Los Angeles. During her tenure, Dr. Lu taught credential courses in music education; led graduate seminars in psychology of music and advanced music education; authored countless professional articles; and created instructional video programming in music education, notably on using music to build a positive self-concept. After a full and robust career, Dr. Elrod was named Professor Emerita of Music Education at Cal State LA in 2003. Even after retirement, she continued to teach, coach, and actively work in fundraising for music scholarship, particularly for the Friends of Music, an organization that seeks to enhance educational opportunities for students in the Department of Music at Cal State LA. During the course of her career, Dr. Elrod won every teaching award imaginable, time and time again, including national awards for expertise in music and education, as well as recognition for her philanthropic work. A versatile character actress, stand-up comedienne, and classically-trained singer, Lu had an outsized talent and personality that simply stole the show wherever she went. With a vocal range from baritone to soprano--a truly enviable gift--she performed with the Dallas Opera and was a Metropolitan Opera Regional Auditions finalist. Always inspiring and always entertaining, she frequently played local clubs, events and venues. However, the work that Lu perhaps relished the most was acting, both on the big and small screens. Over five decades, Lu appeared in a variety of feature films including Wag the Dog, The Big Lebowski, Primary Colors, Beautiful, Freaky Friday, and Kicking and Screaming, to name just a few, as well as television and commercial credits, too many to list. She was a member the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), American Federation of Radio and Television Artists (AFTRA), and the American Guild of Variety Artists (AGVA), among others. She loved to be recognized from her roles in the movies and to tell stories about working in Hollywood. Lu enjoyed life and love, considering herself to be a “Lucky Lady,” especially so at the racetrack. She was exceedingly generous and fiercely loyal to her family--most devoted of all to her mother, whom she adored. Lu liked animals, and over her lifetime loved a few very special cats and pugs. A lifelong patron of the arts, she also appreciated collecting antiques, objets d’art, and interesting, beautiful things of all sorts. Yet, the collection she treasured the most was her enormous group of friends accumulated throughout the years, of whose worth cannot be measured. Lu will be missed tremendously and fondly remembered by her family, thousands of former students, and a multitude of friends, not only for her highly accomplished career and extraordinary talents, but also for her easy laugh, dramatic flair, razor wit, saucy sense of humor, and her huge heart. Her family will always be most grateful for Lu’s compassionate and devoted caregivers, the Lopez family, for faithfully attending to her and loving her as one of their own. Memorials may be made to the Lu Elrod Voice Scholarship Fund at Cal State LA; Attention: Friends of Music; California State University, Los Angeles; 5151 State University Drive; Los Angeles, CA; 90099-2797, or to a philanthropy of the donor's choice. Due to the pandemic, no celebration of life service is planned; however, small groups of friends and family may choose to gather to celebrate in a manner befitting their memories of Lu.


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Elizabeth Louella Elrod

have a memory or condolence to add?

Sharon Smason Los Angeles

May 22, 2020

I recognized one of her friends, not knowing she knew him, to Cal State L.A. Music Department. I asked the University to present him with an Honorary Master's Degree for his book he had recently published, using his book as a Thesis. I submitted his book anonymously to the Music Department at Cal State L.A. (He had mentioned Cal State L.A. in his book.) Time was going by. No Master's Degree did he receive. I called the Cal State L.A. Music Department and left my name and phone number inquiring about my request for this man's Honorary Master's Degree. Soon afterwards, I got a call from Lu Elrod. She introduced herself to me and told me she had tried to get this man recognized for his musical talent and knowledge at Cal State L.A. not once but twice. She told me she would use my submission for her third try. To conclude our conversation, she told me she wanted to be my friend. And ... she was true to her word. We became friends -- for over twenty years! Oh, by the way, that man I suggested to be awarded an Honorary Master's Degree was awarded an Honorary DOCTORATE Degree because of Lu's determination, admiration of his talent and faith. She honored SO many people in her life with awards and honors. One lady, who I met through Lu, honored by Lu and Cal State L.A. was Esther Williams!!! I went to her reception. That was SO much fun!!! Today, I called her phone number to check up on my friend, Lu Elrod, and was told, by the lovely lady, the lady Lu considered the mother of her grandchildren, that Lu had died. One of Lu's many strengths was her timing in life. She passed away peacefully on Easter Sunday. She closed her eyes and traveled to heaven to sing with the Lord's Choir just in time for the Easter Service. She sang beautifully and with love, as she always sang. She is, now, with her family and friends over on the other side. Here, she was a TRUE lady and a TRUE friend. I was honored to have known her as my dear friend. I will miss her.

May 13, 2020

Amanda and Lu

Sarah Brown Atlanta

May 12, 2020

I will always remember Lu as a devoted friend to me and my sister, Mitzi. She is one of the two geniuses I have met in my lifetime: brave, bold, talented and originally funny, generous and wise, who shared her talent of voice and love to all.

Candis Rivera Bridgeport

May 7, 2020

I will miss you always . May her memory be a blessing

M MO Monrovia

May 3, 2020

Dr. Lu as she preferred to be called, was a beloved and respected University Professor, an actor in more than 26 well know movies, a magnificent singer with a beautiful voice, and in her youth had been a medal winning swimmer. When recognized in public by her admiring fans, as she often was, she would enthusiastically present them with an autographed photo.

Dr. Lu shared her talents and her wisdom. Her adoring students became her friends for decades, seeking her out and continuing to honor her. She was vivacious and enthusiastic, always willing to mentor her students. She was so very proud of them, especially those that continued on to advanced degrees and those who attained advanced positions in universities.

More than three decades ago she found the perfect house in the perfect neighborhood. Her neighbors all became her friends and her family. She taught the children how to swim. Yes, ALL the neighborhood children were welcomed to her pool and her swimming lessons. The children grew up, and then their children came to learn. She taught them to swim, to play the recorder, to sing and of course, manners as she delighted in their company.

In return she was gifted with generous friendship and support by her neighbors through the years. There was the almost daughter who took care of and helped with her computer, errands, fund raisers, fun times and so much more. A treasured almost sister with whom she went to Estate Sales, sometimes more than once a week, shared food, shared holidays, like a family. So very many wonderful people in her neighborhood.

It was impossible not to love her. The playfulness of her inquisitive mind brought unexpected joy. Her enthusiasm was infectious. She displayed the wide-eyed wonder of a childlike delight, without end, until the end, as she repeatedly shined a flashlight on the treasured matching commitment ring on her finger just so she could watch the diamonds sparkle in the light, in the light of the love it represented.

Dr. Lu forever did what she could to make this world a better place. A better place filled with opportunities, love and kindness for all, and she did. Like her, each one help one, then repeat.

April 24, 2020

Dr. Lu Elrod and Nancy Krebs 1975


April 23, 2020

Happy Birthday, precious sister. You are celebrating in Heaven with Jesus and our mother.
Love you always. You are much too marvelous for words. Thanks for the wonderful
Some day I will meet you and our mother at the feet of Jesus.

Baby Sister

Charise Field Pasadena

April 20, 2020

Dear Lu Lu,
Always enjoyed watching our annual Oscar movies
together. Your thoroughly engaging style of retelling your extraordinary life experiences will be remembered fondly. Thank you for sharing your talents, charm, insight, and support. You are out of the ordinary. Now the angels in heaven are singing for you. Rest In Peace my good friend. I will miss you.

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