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September 22, 2009

Oregon Law Remembers Longtime Faculty Member Bob Lacy

Members of the Oregon Law community are remembering the achievements of Professor Emeritus Frank Robert Lacy, who passed away September 21.

Lacy was a professor at the law school from 1949 to 1986. In 1999, Oregon Law honored his more than four decades of faculty service, during which he played a significant role in guiding the law school’s development, with the Meritorious Service Award.

“Bob Lacy was a major factor in the development of the modern Oregon Law School,” remarked Professor Emeritus Dom Vetri. “He and others like Hans Linde, Chapin Clark, and Bob Summers were the young guard in the mid-1960s who insisted that the law school had to modernize its curriculum and its methods of operations to keep up with what was happening in legal education at the time.”

Professor John Bonine remembers Lacy as one of the kindest individuals he ever met.

“I never heard him utter a cross word. In fact, his constant smile and laugh were his hallmarks,” Bonine recalled. “Bob had a folder full of degrees, but who knew? I can’t imagine him ever mentioning them. Bob’s service to our law school and to Oregon was truly meritorious. But even more, his whole being was meritorious.”

Lacy’s folder of degrees included an A.B. from Harvard in 1946; a J.D. from Harvard in 1948, where he graduated Order of the Coif; and an LL.M. in 1958 and J.S.D. in 1971 from New York University. He became a member of the Iowa State Bar in 1948 and the Oregon State Bar in 1949.

Despite his numerous educational and professional accomplishments, many remember Lacy for his balanced life of law, family, and friends. He was a lover not only of law, but also of music and the outdoors as well. He sponsored violinist Sharon Schuman (an instructor in the English Department and the wife of Hon. David Schuman ’’84) with the Oregon Mozart Players. Every fall, he helped lead a mountain climbing trip up Oregon’s South Sister.

Professor Vetri recalled his first time on this hiking expedition, when the trip down the mountain wasn’t quite what he was expecting.

“We came to a point still high up where Bob and Chapin hammered some pitons into the rock and lowered a rope and told me I had to repel down the cliff,” Vetri said. “When I balked, they told me it was the only way down this part of the mountain. And so I did.”

Author and former Olympian Kenny Moore’s Bowerman and the Men of Oregon (2007) described how Professor Lacy, along with other friends of legendary UO track coach Bill Bowerman, helped the Bowermans construct their home on the McKenzie River.

“Both Lacy and Bowerman had flunked manual arts in high school,” Moore writes. “So the building rose on clouds of pride and amazement.”

A memorial service will take place at 4:00 p.m. Saturday, October 10, at Cascade Manor, in the Auditorium. Cascade Manor is located at 65 West 30th Avenue in Eugene.

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