Benjamin Rice Lacy III died peacefully on January 18, 2021 at Hidden Springs Senior Living in Bentonville. He was 98 years old. But as he would have said it, he was technically in his 99th year.
Ben was born on March 5, 1922 in Atlanta, Georgia. He spent his childhood in Richmond, where his father was president of Union Theological Seminary, and enjoyed summers at their family cabin at Freezeland Orchard with his parents and siblings Bob, Bill & Betty. These experiences paved the way for his life as a devout Christian and respected orchardist.
Ben graduated from Davidson College in 1943, where he was Quarterback of the Wildcats football team. He proudly served as a Captain in the United States Marine Corps from 1943-1947, where he was a Rocket Officer during World War II. He received his Masters Degree in Horticulture from Virginia Polytechnic Institute in 1949 and was an assistant football coach for the Hokies.
In 1946, Ben married Carolyn West of Kinston, North Carolina. Together they had two children, Emma Lee and Benjamin. They spent much of their time volunteering at the Front Royal Presbyterian Church, where Ben taught Sunday School for 68 years. The Benjamin R. Lacy Compassion Center was recently established there in his honor.
After the death of his first wife, in 1975, Ben married Jean Boyd McIntyre of Norfolk who he proposed to on their first date. They were married for 35 years and he became stepfather to her three children, graciously hosting years of extended family gatherings and building a family business together.
Ben spent most of his life as an apple grower. For over 50 years, he was President and Manager of the Freezeland Orchard from his youth and a partner in The Apple House in Linden. He was a respected leader in the Virginia apple industry, serving as President of Virginia Fruit Sales, Inc., Vice-President of Shenandoah Apple Cooperative; Director of both the Virginia State Apple Commission and Virginia Agricultural Foundation; President of the National Apple Institute and Virginia State Horticultural Society and Chairman of the American Agricultural Marketing Association.
In 1979, inspired by his father’s tales of tasting sparkling cider as a Rhodes Scholar in Europe, Ben invented Alpenglow which he produced and distributed nationally with his family for 40 years at Linden Beverage Company.
Ben was preceded in death by his parents Benjamin Rice Lacy, Jr. and Emma White Lacy and son, Benjamin Rice Lacy IV of Richmond.
He is survived by daughter Emma Lacy Nashner (Dick) of Haverton, Pennsylvania, daughter-in-law Sandra Schute Lacy of Richmond, stepson, George Lee McIntyre, Jr. (Karen), of Front Royal, and two stepdaughters, Elizabeth McIntyre Quarles (Doug) of Fredericksburg and Debra McIntyre Hunter of Front Royal.
His grandchildren, step-grandchildren and great-grandchildren loved him dearly; they include: Benjamin Rice Lacy V (Carlie) of Columbia, South Carolina, Carolyn Lacy Brackett (Alex) of Richmond, Christine Wiley (Chris) and Carolyn Goede (Nicholas) of Havertown, Pennsylvania; Kathryn McIntyre Tewell (Tim), Courtney McIntyre Maier (David) and George Lee McIntyre III of Front Royal; Lacy Quarles Briney (John) and Douglas Earle Quarles IV (Shelby) of Richmond; Laura Hunter Drago (Matthew) of Valencia, California; and great-grandchildren Maggie, Mason, Addison, Peyton, Webb, Eason, Billy, Hunter, Abigail, Ben and Jones.
A private memorial service will take place for immediate family, conducted by Pastor Carrie Evans. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to The Benjamin R. Lacy Compassion Center at Front Royal Presbyterian Church, 115 Luray Avenue, Front Royal, Virginia 22630.
Arrangements are being handled by Maddox Funeral Home, Front Royal, Virginia.
Condolences may be sent to the family at www.maddoxfuneralhome.com
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