Anna Elizabeth Fleeman Lacey
Published 9:47 am Wednesday, November 25, 2015
Anna Elizabeth Fleeman Lacey, known to many as Mrs. Lacey or Miss Ann, died peacefully at home on Saturday, November 21, 2015. She was just a few weeks shy of 99 years.
Born February 9, 1917 in Bradley County, Tenn., Ann lived her adult life primarily in Elizabethton, Johnson City and then later years in Kingsport with her daughter and son-in-law, Barbara and Phillip McManus.
She was a pioneer among women of her era. Despite growing up during the Great Depression, Ann had ambitions and dreams and was willing to work hard for them. She began teaching school in a two-room schoolhouse when she was just 19, saving money to put herself through college. She attended Bob Jones University and East Tennessee State where she went on to earn both bachelor and master’s degrees. She also completed substantial work towards her doctorate at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. A true rarity for women of her time. While attending ETSU, then State Teachers College, she met and married the love of her life, Robert “Bob” Lacey, whom she admired greatly for his brilliant mind. Their marriage, of almost 70 years, ending upon Bob’s death at age 95. It was a true love affair. They shared a love of service to others and a true Christian devotion to God. Together they helped build and served Southwestern Baptist Church for many decades.
Teaching was Ann’s life calling and she taught both American history and English for many years at Elizabethton High School. A great interest in the success of her students led her to become the first female licensed guidance counselor in Tennessee. A natural leader and doer, she initiated and hosted many memorable senior class trips to Washington DC and often on to New York City.
While teaching as a fully tenured professor in the English Department at ETSU, she often found herself befriending and encouraging many students including a Christian Russian family fleeing religious persecution. All total she taught school in Tennessee for 45 years before she retired.
Upon retirement, Ann kept busy through volunteer work at Johnson City Medical Center and Colonial Hill Nursing Home. She enjoyed learning to paint china, attending art events, being a member of the Monday Club as well as various ETSU clubs. Always the teacher, she taught Sunday School at First Baptist of Elizabethton, Colonial Hill and Southwestern Baptist, where she had the honor of having a Sunday School class named for her.
If you had to sum up Ann, she was industrious, took an active interest in people and in helping them, served God, shared wisdom and exemplified Proverbs 31. She lived a good life and ran the good race.
She is survived by her daughter and son-in-law, Barbara Lacey McManus and Phillip McManus of Kingsport; granddaughter, Jeannie McManus McGuire of Key West; grandson, Rob McManus and grandson-in-law Seth McLaughlin of Johnson City; her niece, Nancy Fleeman Maples and her family of Cleveland and Florida; her 104-year-old sister-in-law, Gladys Jones; niece Betty Jones Noble and her family of Georgia; and nephew, Bardy Jones and his family of New York.
Receiving of friends will be from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday, November 28, followed by a Celebration of Life at 11:30 a.m. at Southwestern Baptist Church, 1112 Cherokee Road, Johnson City. Honorary pallbearers will be members of the Anna Lacey Sunday School Class. A private entombment was held at Roselawn Memory Gardens. Ann requested no flowers. Donations may be made to the Southwestern Baptist Church Building Fund or to the Robert S. and Anna E. Lacey Scholarship Fund at ETSU, c/o ETSU, Box 70722, Johnson City, TN 37614-1710. Memories and condolences may be shared with the family at www.appfh.net.
Appalachian Funeral Home & Cremation Services, Johnson City, (423) 928-6111, is serving the Lacey family.