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Henry Lacey O誰eal, known as Lacey by his family, co-workers and a sea of dear friends, died at St. Peter Hospital on January 8, 2010. He was born in Okinawa, Japan, where his father was stationed in the Army. He is preceded in death by his parents Henry Landreth O誰eal and Catherine Addie O誰eal.

Lacey called Olympia home, but spent most of the last 12 years at sea on the NOAA government research vessel MacArthur II, traveling all over the Pacific Ocean and visiting ports from Alaska to South America. Lacey began his service with NOAA as a Seaman, but was rapidly promoted to a Senior Survey Technician, a position responsible for collecting weather data and helping others conducting scientific research. Aboard the ship, Lacey was able to indulge his lifelong passion for photography. He took thousands of wonderful pictures of whales, dolphins, and other marine life. Those photos became gifts in the form of framed artwork, cards and calendars. One of his photos even was featured in a poster for a Smithsonian Museum.

Before joining NOAA, Lacey retired from the Army as a Staff Sergeant in the 82nd Airborne. Lacey began his military service at 18 when he joined the Air Force and was stationed in Thailand during the tail end of the Vietnam War.

In the early 80s Lacey returned to civilian life and put on a shirt and tie to sell office supplies and equipment. He found that he missed military life and decided to ease his way back in by joining the National Guard. Eventually, Lacey embraced his Army upbringing, joined the Army and was stationed at Fort Kobe in Panama where he fought in Operation Just Cause to overturn the Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega.

Near the end of his Army service, Lacey bought a Harley Davidson motorcycle. Over the past 15 years, riding became a huge part of Lacey痴 life and it became difficult to catch Lacey not wearing a Harley Davidson t-shirt. He collected well over a hundred of them during his rides all over the country and as gifts.

Lacey lived his life all over the world, and while he may not have been able to spend as much time as he would have liked with his family and friends at home, he deeply enriched their lives. This is especially true for his daughter Stephanie Benfield, his his son-in-law Brad Benfield, and his grandchildren Cooper and Nathan. He gave to them in huge and amazing ways. He is survived by his brother Tom O誰eal, and sisters Laura O誰eal, Brenda Starr and Toni Counse. An opportunity to celebrate Lacey痴 life and share great stories about him will be held at 3 p.m. on Saturday January 23rd at the Olympia Armory, 515 Eastside St SE.






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