HOMER — The village has lost one of its most revered residents.
Betty Lacey, 91, died at 2:45 p.m. on Oct. 2 at Presence Covenant Medical Center, Urbana.
"Betty Lacey was one of the most influential members in the village of Homer and her passing is a great loss to Homer," Mayor Ray Cunningham said. "From the formation of the Homer Historical Society, the acquisition of the museum, fundraising, Homer's sesquicentennial celebration, house walks and Christmas in Homer, Betty was a constant supporter of community activities for young and old."
Mrs. Lacey also worked on the formation of the original fire department, the community library and the creation of the Peace Meal program in Homer. Lacey hosted the Living History lectures on Homer's past and coordinated the 1978 Opera House Series to promote Homer's history. She was actively involved in planning and promoting Homer's sesquicentennial in 2005 and served on the Homer Recreation Board.
Former Mayor David Lucas said Mrs. Lacey's involvement is what made the sesquicentennial a success.
"It took all those people to 'pull off' the actual party, but it took Betty Lacey, coming to the (village) board two years in advance, to get it started," he said. "She was a planner, a dreamer and a sharp woman. I am sure she knew what I was doing but didn't mind. We all prospered from it. Her contribution to the village will be missed, (and) she will be missed."
Mrs. Lacey was a charter member of the Homer Historical Society and was an advocate for the preservation of many local buildings along with preservation of the last brick street in Homer.
"She was a tireless community activist. Her views on development, historic preservation, the streets and sidewalks were voiced and listened to. She could order a sidewalk repaired and it would be done," Cunningham said. "At the farmer's market recently she was shopping and pulling my ear on a number of issues. She commanded the respect of the village in a way that few could."
Librarian Christine Cunningham said Mrs. Lacey was one of Homer's most influential residents.
"I've worked with her in almost every organization and project I've been involved in since coming to Homer," Christine Cunningham said. "She was such a force of nature; it is hard to believe she is gone."
Christine said Mrs. Lacey's passion for Homer was evident.
"You couldn't talk with Betty for long without knowing how much she loved her family and her community," she said. "She did so much to try to improve the town and keep it's history alive and relevant. We will all miss Betty and her opinions and her energy."
Mrs. Lacey was born Aug. 19, 1922, in Danville to George F. and Idell D. White Sanford. She married Kenneth H. Lacey on Nov. 10, 1940, in Homer. He died April 30, 1985.
The Laceys had five children, seven grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
She graduated from Homer High School in 1940.
"Betty's example of boundless energy, perseverance, and of community support is unmatched," Ray Cunningham said. "She serves as an example to live up to. I will miss Betty and I know so many of us will too."