I was born on October 6, 1910, in Winfield, Kansas, the sixth child of Raymond R. and Tempa A. (Taylor) Lacy.* My parents were happy and prosperous farmers until a devastating tornado swept their home completely away, scattering debris for over three miles. As the storm was striking, my mother seized me from my bed and carried me through the storm which lasted into the night. Though badly hurt, Mother never released me from her loving and protective care, The brick chimney lay full length on my bed when the storm passed.
My first memories are of being a part of our family's migration to the state of Colorado. We traveled for weeks in two covered wagons. Our destination was a cactus-filled, buffalo-grass, lonely prairie.
Our first home in Colorado was a one room house built by my father from out-cropping stone found nearby. There was plenty of cactus to use for fuel but we traveled three-quarters of a mile to get water. It was a barren, snake-infested home site.
Though irreligious, my parents did have religious heritages of Methodist and Baptist influence. We were taught to live upright lives as understood by the laws of Western tradition and I learned early the meaning of being frugal.
My first schooling began in a one-room public school with a teacher charged with all eight grades. She had no assistant, but many problem kids. A super mom and teacher!
I grew to young manhood after a move to the Arkansas Valley and I learned the ways of the world by mingling with harvest hands and ungodly young people. 'Twas said, "No religion west of the Mississippi and no God west of Pueblo." We were near Pueblo.
My first interest in religion was stirred when I was about eighteen years of age. This was pursuant to a tent meeting held in our town, a meeting in which my brother and mother became Christians. What a home change!
The first church I ever attended was organized in an abandoned building with about eight members. Rev. Marion Hill, a grandson of the well-known Dr. Godby, became the pastor. He was a loving and caring pastor and the first minister to ever visit our home.
With Brother Hill's encouragement and my mother's and my brother's assurance of their prayers, I entered the Colorado Springs Bible Training School and Christian Academy. There I began serious study for the ministry while working to make my way far from home.
In addition to classroom learning, we were taught and expected to do door-to-door calling in Colorado Springs. and to conduct and speak at street meetings in the downtown area, a mixed bag of demands., but it taught me lessons that have been of real value. I learned that to minister we are to go where the people are.
Street meeting crowds were always interesting with two military bases furnishing a good segment of the listening audience. Many were home-sick, drunk, talkative, and angry, but they were there.
A humorous incident took place one evening during a street meeting as follows: Two drunken soldiers wanted to help with the street meeting. As I spoke, one of them hit me on the shoulder and said, "'Tis the old-time religion, ain't it?" Without a pause I said, "Yes, sir." The two soldiers then decided to take up an offering and took my hat for that purpose, much to the amusement of the crowd. They then decided to take up a second offering. Then, with both of them holding onto my hat, they disappeared around the corner. Farewell hat. But no! They reappeared, still holding onto my hat and then started down the street in another direction. With the service over, I ran abruptly up behind them and seized my hat for a three-way tug and said, "I'll take my hat." Both released their hold and began to fight between themselves. Interesting? Educational? Challenging? Yes! I quickly learned that the workman is worthy of his hire as they had collected about seven dollars. Not bad for a beginner's hire! A life-time lesson on financing my way.
During schoolhouse ministries I met a young woman who was a gifted Christian teacher, musician, singer, and minister in her own right who had been reared in a devout Christian home. She was a church member, as were her parents and family. After about four years of casual acquaintance with each other, we became engaged. On Christmas Eve we were married in a lovely church wedding and her name changed from Vera L. Morrell to Vera L. Lacy. A lovely and enduring Christmas present for me. We were married for fifty-eight and one-half years.
Besides being my wife, Vera was my best friend, lover, and mother to our three wonderful children. We loved, prayed, and sacrificed all we could to assist our children with college. Each of them graduated the same year at different levels of preparation and were photographed in their appropriate gowns. They are all teachers and followers of our Christ.
Our life's work together included pastorates in Virginia, Nebraska, Colorado and Indiana. Each was a good and challenging field of labor. I served on the district boards of each district except Virginia, was assistant district superintendent of two of the districts, and then superintended three districts for a total of fourteen years. In an emergency situation, I was elected president of the Colorado Springs Bible Training School and Christian Academy by the Board of Trustees of that institution. That term of service lasted three years. At the end of the term, I chose not to accept a reappointment.
Prior to the 1968 merger of our church, I represented the Pilgrim Holiness Church as a member of the merging committee. It was an honor to serve as one of the twenty-four men of our denomination who met with an equal number of men from the former Wesleyan Methodist Church. All were members of the General Boards of their respective denominations and they served as polity members for the merger.
For any successes and challenges in my calling, I owe a supreme debt to my lifetime companion and my three precious children, Verla Ruth (Lacy) Powers, E. Ilene (Lacy) Carter, and David W. Lacy who kept me busy and challenged to heights.
"My cup runneth over. I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever."
D. W. Lacy
Delbert W. Lacy, Dad. 1910 - 1999 RIP
(Dad's Christian ministry spanned seventy years. He wrote this summary of his life when he was eighty-six years of age. See also Daddy, Pastor's Son, and Paternal Grandparents.)
*There were four more children born to the Lacys in the subsequent decade.