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Lacy Woods Dick

by | Mar 23, 2018 | News

Lacy Woods Dick’s rich life has spanned the globe, but she always returned to Davidson. Her parents were Presbyterian missionaries in an increasingly turbulent China when Lacy was born there in 1937. Because the war was closing in, her father moved the family to Virginia just over two years later. They ended up in Davidson in 1942 when her father, a doctor as well as a missionary, accepted a position as Davidson College physician. In 1946 they moved to the house on Lorimer Road that has served as home base for their extended family ever since.

She and her three siblings—older brother Daniel and younger brothers Jimmy and John—enjoyed an idyllic childhood full of play pals and fun. They grew up riding bicycles and playing softball, capture the flag, and kick the can in the streets and empty neighborhood fields. As trains rumbled by on North Main Street, they waved to the conductors and engineers.

But she faced some hard times, as well. In second grade, Lacy survived a three-week bout of scarlet fever. She also lost two of her brothers. Daniel attended Davidson College, but fell ill and died in his sophomore year. Jimmy graduated from Davidson College but was killed in 1966 in the Vietnam War, 10 years after Daniel died. Brother John, eleven years younger than Lacy, has lived in town nearly his whole life, becoming a committed community servant, with a career in banking and service as mayor.

In addition to treating college students, the legendary Dr. Woods, her father and a Davidson alumnus, was the only general practice physician in the north Mecklenburg area for most of his career. He treated patients from an office on South Street for more than 40 years before his death in the mid-1980s.

Lacy graduated from North Mecklenburg High School and left home in 1955 for college at Randolph-Macon Woman’s College. After graduating with a degree in history and art history, she moved to Richmond and worked at the Virginia Museum of Fine Art. She had met her future husband, a student at Union Presbyterian Seminary, named Tony Dick, during her senior year in college, and they married in 1961.

His first pastorate took the couple to Clarendon, Arkansas, where Lacy ended up teaching 24 young children, though she had no experience or certification in teaching.

Tony’s calling as an Army chaplain, beginning in 1965, led the family through two decades of travel and international experiences around the country and in Europe.

Tony ended up serving 20 years in the military, including assignments to army bases in the United States and two tours in Germany that totaled six years. Lacy and Tony thoroughly enjoyed their immersion in European culture. They studied the German language, attended operas and took weekend camping trips. While in Karlsruhe, Germany, Lacy was active in the International Women’s Club, and served for a time as its American President. Along the way she gave birth to their three children.

Family life was disrupted in 1967, when Tony reported for the first of two deployments to Vietnam. Lacy moved with her children to Davidson for family support.

Tony survived the war and served at several posts in the next 15 years before his retirement. The family lived in Fort Riley, Kansas, and Fort Meade in Maryland and spent one enjoyable year at Fort Hamilton in Brooklyn, New York, while Tony attended chaplain school.

During their time in Fort Riley, Lacy earned a masters degree in history at Kansas State University. When they were stationed at Fort Meade, she worked in the prints and photographs section of the Library of Congress. When Tony finally retired, they moved to Richmond, where Lacy worked for four years at the Valentine Museum of city history. Tony then accepted a pastorate at a church in the town of Cheriton on Virginia’s Eastern Shore in 1989, and during their nine years there, Lacy worked for the local historical society and a citizens’ group. It was there she developed her skills as a gardener.

Their final move took them to Bethesda Presbyterian Church near Brattonsville, South Carolina, where Lacy earned certification as a Master Gardener. After three years, they prepared to retire to Davidson. But Tony became ill in March of 2001 just before the move. He was diagnosed with an aggressive form of gastric cancer and died in November 2001.

Lacy grieved but didn’t let her loss overwhelm her. She found solace in tending a large yard of many different flowering plants and became active in the Davidson Garden Club. For several years, she took on the job of chairing the organization’s annual Horticultural Symposium, an event that attracts more than 450 people to campus for a day of lectures from famous gardeners.

She now cultivates a life of peaceful contentment with a variety of activities. She has been active over the years at Davidson College Presbyterian Church. Among other activities, she worked in the baby nursery for years and currently serves on the church’s property committee.

Her love of art and history are reflected on the walls of her home, which are covered with paintings and family photographs. She loves to read, and enjoys opera, religiously attending “Met at the Movies” opera productions shown at Concord Mills theatre. She plays bridge with friends, and despite a lifetime of many moves, she still enjoys travel. She has been to Kenya with a church group, and has been back to China twice, visiting the places her parents lived. More recently she and three children traveled to Hawaii to visit a cousin.

With the doors open on her stately home, she seldom finds herself alone. Of the many things she has done over the years, hosting friends, neighbors, children, and grandchildren to her Davidson home has always been what she loves best.

An in-depth biography of Lacy Dick was written by former Davidson College student Tiffany Caterina in a “Life Stories” assignment for a psychology class. It is available at this URL.

Bill Giduz

Bill Giduz was the son who followed his father’s footsteps into journalism. He has been involved his entire life with news and photography in schools he attended and jobs he’s held. He believes now that he’s got a few good years left to devote to The News of Davidson.

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