Margaret Ann Smith Lacey, age 84, of Richmond, Indiana, died Wednesday, October 14, 2020, at Friends Fellowship Community from complications associated with dementia.
Margaret was born on July 9, 1936, on a farm outside What Cheer, Iowa. Her family was active in Iowa Yearly Meeting (Conservative) Society of Friends. Margaret graduated from Scattergood Friends School in 1954 and Earlham College in 1958, where she received a bachelor’s degree in English. In August of that same year, she married Paul Lacey, beginning a loving, dynamic— and frequently noisy—partnership that would last more than 58 years.
Their first two years of married life were spent in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where Paul completed his doctorate in English literature at Harvard, and Margaret worked as a librarian. In 1960, Paul accepted a teaching position at Earlham, and they moved to Richmond. Excepting stays in London, Cape Cod, Maine, and Ireland, Richmond would be their home for the rest of their lives. They raised three children: Mary, Patrick, and James.
Once all the kids were in school, Margaret began writing, eventually publishing short stories, essays, and poems in “The Christian Science Monitor”, “Ellery Queen’s Mystery”, “The Boston Globe”, “Iowa Woman”, “The Mississippi Valley Review”, and others. In 1992, Stormline Press published her novel “Silent Friends: A Quaker Quilt”, a collection of stories following three generations of a Quaker family living on an Iowa farm.
Throughout her life, Margie made things: stories, bookcases, quilts, and delicious and nourishing meals. She reveled in using her DIY skills, especially if the task required devising a solution with bits and pieces she could find lying around or using one of her beloved hand tools. In 1963, she and Paul bought the old house that would be their home for the next 52 years, and Margie’s skill set quickly established her as the primary caretaker. Of her many creations, the home she made, with and for her loved ones, was one of her finest. She and Paul filled the house with an eclectic mix of art, music, and literature, encouraging their children to explore their own interests and ignore the snobbery of others. Three daily newspapers and the nightly news helped the kids to emulate their parents’ curiosity and political engagement. Margie and Paul also introduced their kids to a variety of cuisines, encouraging them to become adventurous cooks and eaters. Shared meals, around the world and at the home table, were one of the central joys of family life. This vibrant home became a haven to their children, extended family, friends, and generations of college students.
Margie and Paul remained active in social justice causes throughout their lives. Though her Quaker roots remained a rich source of inspiration to her, in her later years Margie became a self-described agnostic/Nature-worshipper. Her daily walks with the dog included visits to favorite trees, which she would greet with hugs.
She was, above all else, excellent company: a witty, well-read, thoughtful conversationalist and an empathetic listener. We will miss her terribly.
She is preceded in death by her husband, Paul; son, James; parents, Irving and Mary Smith; sister, Evelyn Mavromichalis; brothers-in-law, Ed White Jr., Alan Treadway, Paul Wagner, and Tom Plunkett; and sister-in-law, Kate White.
She is survived by her daughter, Mary Lacey (Tony Bohnert); son, Patrick Lacey (Bill Grant); sister, Carolyn Treadway; brother, Steven Smith (Pat); sister-in-law, Elaine Schock; brother-in-law, Costas Mavromichalis; and many beloved nieces, nephews, friends, and children-of-the-heart.
A memorial will be scheduled for a time when meeting in-person is once again safe. Donations in her memory may be made to Earlham College, area food banks, or animal rescues.
Condolences may be sent to the family via the guest book at www.doanmillsfuneralhome.com.