Paul Lacey | Earlham College
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In Memory of Paul Lacey (1934 - 2017)

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Paul A. Lacey, a beloved professor of literature for 41 years and acting president from 1973-74 at Earlham, died January 18, 2017. He was 82.

Lacey was born March 15, 1934, in Philadelphia. At age 18, he joined the Religious Society of Friends, an experience that shaped the rest of his life as activist, educator, scholar, writer, family man and friend.

At 20, Lacey began a lifelong relationship with the American Friends Service Committee, an international peace and social justice organization. He served on various committees over the years, most recently as clerk of the board of directors and clerk of the corporation from 2001-2009.

Lacey received a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and a Ph.D. from Harvard University. As a professor of literature from 1960-2001 he shared a love of W.B. Yeats, Denise Levertov, William Carlos Williams and the Romantics. Lacey remained a lifelong student as well, seeking out and sharing new writers, in particular artists from historically underrepresented communities.

His books include The Inner War, an analysis of several contemporary poets; Growing into Goodness, a collection of essays exploring the history of Quaker education; The Unequal World We Inhabit: Quaker Responses to Terrorism and Fundamentalism; and We Learn to Swim in Winter, a collection of his poems. As the literary executor for Denise Levertov, Lacey co-edited (with Anne Dewey) Levertov’s Collected Poems, her final volume. He received numerous awards for his teaching and Quaker service, and he found the attention uniformly embarrassing; he always believed he was falling short of the example set by colleagues and institutions he admired.

Paul is survived by his wife, Margaret Smith Lacey of Richmond; daughter, Mary Lacey (Tony Bohnert) of Richmond; son, Patrick Lacey (Bill Grant) of New York; sister, Elaine Schock (Tom Plunkett) of Philadelphia; treasured in-laws and out-laws; nieces and nephews; grand-nieces and grand-nephews; honorary grandchildren; and a world full of friends. He felt fortunate to make so many new friends at Friends Fellowship Community, and his family is grateful for the mixture of skill and loving kindness shown by FFC's staff, who sustained him in life and ushered him gently into death.

He is preceded in death by his parents; brother and sister-in-law, Ed and Kate White of Philadelphia; sister-in-law, Evelyn Mavromichalis of Cleveland; and son, James Lacey of Richmond.

Memorial Service — October 22, 2017

A memorial service will be held for Paul Lacey at Stout Meetinghouse on the campus of Earlham College from 11 a.m. to noon, on Sunday, October 22, as part of Homecoming Weekend. Clear Creek Meeting is planning the service in consultation with the Lacey family. A reception, planned by the Office of Religious Life, will immediately follow in the Comstock Room in Runyan Center until 1:30 p.m.

Condolences may be sent to:

Memorial contributions may be made in Paul's name to:

Images Over the Years

Earlham College, an independent, residential college, aspires to provide the highest-quality undergraduate education in the liberal arts and sciences, shaped by the distinctive perspectives of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers).

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