Legendary Coach Lacey Jones Left Major Impact
French Funeral Home
GOUVERNEUR – Lacey L. Jones, age 88, of Gouverneur, passed away on October 30, 2019 at the Gouverneur Hospital with his wife by his side.
Lacey L. Jones was born in Vestal, NY on October 4, 1931. He was the son of Leland L. Jones and Estella T. Harrington Jones. He graduated from Vestal Central High School in 1949, where he was the first wrestling section winner from Vestal. He then attended Springfield College in Springfield Massachusetts, receiving a scholarship honors in 1954 with physical education major and a minor in biology. Then he went to Penn State University in 1955 on a graduate fellowship, receiving his Master's in education. From 1955-56 he worked at Ogdensburg Free Academy, teaching general science and health. There he was the Assistant Varsity football coach and started the wrestling program.
In 1957, he moved to Gouverneur and became the assistant varsity football coach, varsity wrestling coach and physical education teacher. Over the years, Lacey also coached track, cross country, golf and his passion, wrestling, from 1957-1975 and again from 1979-1981, compiling an over all record of 253-41-5.
During his three-year hiatus from Gouverneur, he was assistant wrestling coach at St. Lawrence University. He was inducted into the New York High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 1993. National Wrestling Hall of Fame in Stillwater, Oklahoma in 2000. And the Gouverneur High School Wall of fame in 2011. Lacey instructed in wrestling summer clinics in New England and in New York for twenty-two years. He retired from teaching and coaching in 1992, after 37 years. The Watertown Daily Times referred to him as "Dean of North Country Wrestling Coaches". In 2013 Lacey was honored at the North Country Wrestling Tournament in Gouverneur that he started in 1970.
Family time was spent accompanying him at the summer wrestling clinics, camping in the Adirondacks and then 41 years at their cottages at Lake Clear and then Kiwassa Lake. After retirement, Lacey and his wife Shirley moved to Kiwassa Lake summers and spent the winter months in Lake Placid. He volunteered with the rescue boat for the 90 Miler Canoe Race from Old Forge to Saranac Lake for nine years. Their greatest joy was sharing our Adirondack Homes with family and friends. The couple returned to Gouverneur in 2005.
Lacey married his high school sweetheart, Shirley R. Burgess in August of 1953. They celebrated their 50th anniversary with their children and their families in 2003 in the Adirondacks.
Lacey is survived by a daughter, Chris (David) Middlemore of Baldwinsville, NY; Granddaughter Lacey (William) Pickett, great granddaughters Teagan and identical twins Harper and Henley of Rural Retreat, VA; Grandson Charles (Violeta) Duggan and great grandson Nolan of Roanoke, VA; Granddaughter Jennifer (Michael) Wells and great granddaughter Aubrey and Emma of Baldwinsville, NY; Grandson David Middlemore (Tara Pickard) of Fulton, NY; Son, Leland Jones (Dena King) and granddaughter Murilla King of Taos, NM; Son, Scott Jones (George Pinney) of Pittsfield, MA; sisters Sandra Roth of Vestal, NY and Louellen Jones of Sauquoit, NY and several nieces and nephews and their families. Sisters-in-law, Elaine Johnson of Endicott, NY and Ila Jean Popple of Gainsville, FL.
Lacey is predeceased by his parents, Estella and Leland Jones, sisters. Katherine Loveless, Rheba Andrews, Doris Bidwell and Gayle Goodwin and brothers, Bruce and Keith Jones.
There will be no calling hours or funeral service at the request of Lacey. Arrangements are with French Funeral Home, Gouverneur. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to your local Hospice. Condolences may be shared online at www.frenchfuneralhomes.com. Cards are encouraged to be sent to Shirley at 56 Valley Drive, Gouverneur NY 13642.
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