Edna Balz Lacy

Edna Balz Lacy
(9/21/1906 – 12/30/1991)

The Lacy family ran their corporation from 54 Monument Circle, on the SW side; Photo credit: Bass photo collection, Indiana Historical Society

Edna Balz Lacy was born in Indianapolis in 1906 and graduated from Shortridge High School before going on to the University of Michigan to earn a B.A. in Education in 1928. Degree in hand, she returned to her hometown and taught language and science in Indianapolis Public Schools for five years. She married Howard John Lacy II in 1934, and they became the parents of one daughter and three sons. Mrs. Lacy left teaching for the life of a wife and mother for the next 25 years.

Following the unexpected death of her husband from a heart attack in 1959, Mrs. Lacy, at age 53, became president, chairman of the board, and treasurer of U.S. Corrugated-Fiber Box Company, a firm that her father-in-law founded in 1912, and had been led by her husband since 1942. At the time, the company operated six plants in six states. The business expanded greatly under her leadership, not only becoming the national leader in the industry but acquiring other types of businesses as well. By 1972, it became Lacy Diversified Industries (LDI) with the help of her son, Andre, who joined the business as an analyst following college in 1961. Andre became CEO in 1983, and chairman of the board when Mrs. Lacy died in 1991.

The Edna Balz Lacy park is located at 700 Greer Street in the Fletcher Place neighborhood; Photo credit: HistoricIndianapolis.com

Mrs. Lacy also took on challenging roles on the boards of other businesses. In 1973, she became the first female board member of the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce and served on the board of the Children’s Museum. That year also brought a second tragedy into her life when her 27-year-old son, Stanley K. Lacy, died in an auto accident. In 1976, Mrs. Lacy created the annual Stanley K. Lacy Executive Leadership Series in his memory. Twenty-five young executives and leaders are carefully selected to participate in a series of seminars, study groups, tours, projects, and to interact with civic leaders.

Edna Lacy is entombed in the Community Mausoleum with her husband Howard

Mrs. Lacy has been honored many times for her contributions. Three different governors named her a Sagamore of the Wabash, and in 1976, both the Indiana Republican Mayors’ Association and Women in Communications selected her to be their Woman of the Year. She received the Madam C.J. Walker Award for leadership in creating minority-owned businesses as well as by promoting minority participation in the Lacy Leadership Series. In 1993, she was posthumously named to the Indiana Business Hall of Fame, and in 1996, a two-acre park in Fletcher Place was named the Edna Balz Lacy Family Park.

Entombed in the Community Mausoleum C-D-6