Henrietta Clodfelter Lucke was born in Lexington, North Carolina, and grew up in Greensboro, North Carolina. She studied biology and bacteriology at the Woman’s College of the University of North Carolina (now the University of North Carolina at Greensboro) from 1939 until 1943.
Lucke enlisted in the US. Navy WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service) after her graduation. She attended basic training at Hunter College in New York in June and July 1943 and then had nine months of medical technology training and corps school at St. Albans Naval Hospital in New York. In May 1944, she was assigned to Fort Detrick in Frederick, Maryland, as a biological weapons lab assistant. In August 1945, Lucke was sent to Dispensary No. 1 at Treasure Island, San Francisco, California. A few months later, she was transferred to Navy Research Unit No. 1at the University of California at Berkeley to do more biological weapons work. Lucke was discharged from the WAVES in April 1946, as a chief pharmacist mate.
After leaving the WAVES, Lucke used the GI Bill finish undergraduate training, then worked briefly at the Public Health Department in Greensboro before returning to the University of Iowa for a master’s degree in zoology. She then taught biology at Catawba College in Salisbury, North Carolina, where she met her husband, Bob Lucke. Henrietta Lucke passed away on 3 March 2008.