Howard "Elton" Lacey

Posted: Thu 7:39 AM, Jun 27, 2013
Funeral Home: Nelson Funeral Home
February 9, 1937 - June 2013

Elton is preceded in death by his parents, Lona Belle Brice & J. D. 'Dutch' Lacey; brother-in-law, Kenny B. Shackleford; and numerous other family members.

Survivors include his wife, Bonnie B. Lacey, of Austin; sons & wives, Michael Lacey & Laura Bordeaux of Atlanta, Ga., Christopher & Tammy Lacey of College Station, James D. & Judy Lacey of Fort Worth, Scott & Patty Lacey of Austin; a daughter & husband, Pam & Victor Zagone, Downsville, La.; sister, Anita Shackleford of Leakey, Texas; 13 grandchildren, Leia & Eric Mutchler of Leander, Emma Lacey-Bordeaux & Stefan Turkheimer, Peter Lacey-Bordeaux of Atlanta, Ga., Chris Lacey, Bonnie Lacey, Jonathan Lacey of College Station, Cindy Lacey, Harrison Lacey of Fort Worth, Brice Lacey, Julie Lacey, Blake Lacey of Austin, Craig & Julie Hanks, Warren & April Hanks of Monroe, La.; nephew, Bryan & Lorri Shackleford, Leakey, Texas; seven great-grandchildren, Braeden Mutchler, Allison Mutchler, Alexis Lacey, Evan Lacey, Sage Hanks, Abbigail Hanks and Riley Hanks; grand nephew, Drew Shackleford; grand niece, Candice & Eric Chapman; and many cousins.

A child of the Hill Country, Elton graduated from Leakey High School in 1955 and began his university studies at Texas A&M. He would return to Texas A&M, 25 years later. His summer job, in 1957, for the Army Corps of Engineers on the Mississippi River, would change his life. The first day there he went to the 4th St. Church of Christ and met Bonnie Brown. They were married August 1958 in Natchez, MS and marked 54 years of marriage last year.

That fall Elton continued his education at Abilene Christian Univ. where he received his B.A. in Mathematics in 1959 and his M.A. in 1960. Elton, Bonnie, Michael & Christopher moved to Las Cruses, NM, for the Spring Semester at New Mexico State Univ. J.D.II was born and Elton earned his Ph.D. in Math, 1963. That fall he returned to ACU as Assistant Professor and L. Scott was born there.

In 1964, Elton began a 16-year career as a Mathematics Professor at UT Austin. He would rise to rank of Full Professor, and take leadership roles in the department, proving instrumental to the rise in prominence of the Department. He collaborated broadly with worldwide leaders in his subject area of Banach spaces, including generously supporting researchers in countries like Poland, behind the iron curtain. He authored a number of research papers in the subject, including a widely cited research monograph, published by Springer-Verlag.

Travel and broad experiences enlivened his career. He worked at White Sands Missile testing range, the Man Space Craft Center in Houston, and was Fulbright fellow at the Polish Academy of Sciences, in Warsaw in 1972-73. Elton wrote letters home describing the family's experiences in Communist Warsaw.

Elton's return to Texas A&M was as Professor and Head of the Mathematics Department, in 1980. He would serve in that position for 11 years, during which time he oversaw the growth and stature of that department into one of leadership in the profession. He served as associate dean of sciences for one year, before returning to teaching and retired in 2002. Upon retiring he was named Prof. Emeritus of math.

In the early 90s Elton and Bonnie started working on family history. As an early adopter of online genealogy tools, he was featured in the Dallas Morning News. Elton became an expert in Lacey family history and published a couple books and one on his maternal ancestors the Brice's. He was a member of a number of heritage societies including the S.A.R., S.R.T. with 21 ancestors, Texas Society of Colonial Wars, etc.

A visitation is scheduled for Friday, June 28, 2013, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Nelson Funeral Chapel in Leakey, Texas. Funeral services will be held at 10:00 a.m. Saturday, June 29, 2013, at the Leakey Floral Cemetery in Leakey, Texas.

In lieu of flowers, please consider donations to our scholarship at the University of Texas at Austin. Please mail contributions to: UT Austin, University Development Office, PO Box 7458, Austin, TX 78713. It is also possible to donate online at: and please specify the donations are for the "Bonnie and Elton H. Lacey Endowed Scholarship".

The family invites you to leave a condolence at

Arrangements are under the personal care of Nelson Funeral Home of Leakey, Texas.
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