OUS professor leaves legacy of education

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 3, 2006

Although she may have died last Saturday, the educational legacy of Dr. Lacey Curtis will be continuing on.

The Ohio University Southern associate education professor died last weekend of brain cancer at age 57.

Curtis, who also was chair of the Department of Education, had a wealth of other credits to her name, including being the coordinator of the Teaching and Learning Center at the school and a member of the Appalachian Learning Community.

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However, OUS Dean Dan Evans said that the school feels her loss on a much more personal level.

“This is a small and very close-knit group of faculty so we’re absolutely devastated by the loss of Lacey, she’s like family” Evans said. “I regarded her so highly as a colleague and as a personal friend.”

In addition to her teaching, Curtis was widely involved with other civic organizations such as the League of Women Voters, Daughters of the American Revolution and several educational societies, including Phi Delta Kappa International.

“Community mindedness is something that a lot of people have touched upon,” Curtis’ 26-year-old son Alexander said.

“The people who have contacted us have been people that she has impacted through her various civic organizations. She was honored to be a part of all of those.”

To that end, her family is forgoing the traditional flowers in her memory and setting up a scholarship fund in her name.

Donations to the Dr. Lacey S. Curtis Scholarship Fund can be mailed to: Ohio University Foundation, P.O. Box 869, Athens, OH 45701-0869.

Dr. Rebecca McNeer, associate dean at OUS and a long-time friend of Curtis, described her as a consummate professional who blended her work and private life perfectly.

“It was seamless, it was all education,” McNeer said. “She was on the school board, she was a wonderful mentor to new faculty mentors. It was just seamless. She was great at that.”

Although the lessons left behind by Lacey Curtis the educator will continue on in the hearts and minds of her students, it’s Lacey Curtis the person that McNeer said will be irreplaceable, as she told Curtis’ husband, dentist James Curtis upon her passing.

“There’s a part in The Odyssey where Menelaus is talking to Telemachus about his fallen comrades, and he says ‘And there’s one I miss more than all the others’ and I always think of Lacey in those terms,’” McNeer said, choking back tears. “That was her place, on our campus and in our hearts.”