Retired Brigadier General William D. Lackey, 78, of Statesville, died unexpectedly on Sunday, July 27, 2014.
General Lackey was born July 19, 1936 in Statesville and was the son of the late Dent Lackey and Mary Ella Little Lackey. He is survived by his wife Sybil P. Lackey, a stepdaughter Angie Arnold and two grandchildren, Meredith Lynn Arnold and Evan Arnold of Charlotte, N.C. and a stepson David Tucker, his wife Carla and children Brittany, Courtney, Christian and Bradley of Albemarle, N.C.
General Lackey attended Statesville City Schools and graduated from Statesville Senior High School in 1954. He was a graduate of the UNC at Chapel Hill where he received an AB Degree in Political Science in 1958.
He entered the United States Air Force in December of 1958 and graduated from the Air Force Pilot Training Program at Laredo AFB, Texas in March 1960. During his initial tour of Active Duty, he saw extensive duty in the European, Far East and Pacific Theaters and participated in a Mid East Crisis and the Cuban Missile Crisis as a pilot for the Tactical Air Command. He was recognized for his outstanding performance by being awarded a Regular Commission in the Regular United States Air Force.
General Lackey joined the North Carolina Air National Guard in June 1964 and held a number of
key supervisory and command positions within the unit which were: Unit Intelligence Officer,
Chief of Training, Command Post Chief, Director of Command and Control, Chief of
Standardization/Evaluation, Airfield Manager, Commander of the 156th Tactical Airlift Squadron, Deputy Commander for Operations for the 145th Tactical Airlift Group and Commander of the 145th Tactical Airlift Group. He also served as the Air Commander of the North Carolina Air National Guard and as the Assistant Adjutant General for Air for the North Carolina National Guard. General Lackey was a Command Pilot, Instructor Pilot, Flight Test Pilot and Flight Examiner Pilot.
His military decorations and awards include the Legion of Merit, Air Force Meritorious Service
Medal with one device, Air Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal with one device, Air Force
Outstanding Unit Award with three devices, Combat Readiness Medal with eight devices,
National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Vietnam Service Medal with six devices, Humanitarian Service Medal with two devices, Air Force Longevity Service Ribbon with seven devices, Armed Forces Reserve Medal with two devices, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, North Carolina National Guard Distinguished Service Medal- second award, North Carolina National Guard Meritorious Service Medal – second award and the North Carolina National Guard Service Award with one gold and one bronze device. General Lackey also was awarded the Military Airlift Command’s 7500 hour Flying Safety Award.
He was made an Honorary Member of the Faculty at the Air National Guard Professional Military Education Center for his years of outstanding service to the Military Education Center.
The Air National Guard Non-Commissioned Officer’s Academy Graduates Association honored
General Lackey with the prestigious Major General I.G. Brown Command Excellence Trophy which is awarded annually to an Outstanding Air National Guard Commander.
General Lackey was a graduate of the United States Air Force Squadron Officer’s School, the Air Command and Staff College, and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces.
He served as Chairman of the National Guard Bureau Long Range Planning Committee for the
Eastern United States and as Chairman of the Training Airspace Committee for the Eastern United States. He was awarded the National Guard Bureau Minuteman Award for his outstanding leadership performance on these two committees.
In 1994, General Lackey was presented the Order of the Long Leaf Pine Award, which is the State of North Carolina’s highest honor presented to an individual for dedication and exceptional service.
He also served as a Military Aide to Former Governor James G. Martin.
In addition to his service in the United States Air Force and North Carolina Air National Guard,
General Lackey was active in the North Carolina National Guard Association. He served on the
Executive Council and was Chairman of five different committees. He served two terms as
President in 1985-1987. He was also active in the North Carolina National Guard Educational
Foundation, serving eight terms as its President.
General Lackey was active in the Educational Foundation at the UNC at Chapel Hill. He served as a member of the Board of Directors, was a Scholarship Donor, a member of the Coaches Circle, a member of a Kenan Stadium Capital Campaign and a Ram Rep Coordinator for Iredell County.
General Lackey was active in the Rotary Club of Statesville, having served as its President in 1996 – 1997. He also served as District Chairman for Community Service in District 7680. He was awarded the Distinguished Rotarian Award for District 7680 in 1996 and again in 2013. He was awarded the Rotarian of the Year Award in 2013. He was awarded a Paul Harris Fellow by the Rotary Club of Statesville in 1996. Since then, he has become a Tenth Level Paul Harris Fellow. He was also a Rotary International Foundation Major Donor.
He had been active in the community having served as a member of the Board of Directors for
Hospice of Iredell County, as Chairman of the Hospice Fund Raising Committee, as a member of Iredell County Community Foundation Board of Directors, as a member of the Fifth Street Ministries Board of Directors and as Chairman of the Wayside Volunteer Fire Department Board of Directors.
General Lackey served as Campaign Chairman for the Fifth Street Ministries Capital Campaign to raise the funds necessary to build a new Homeless Shelter for Statesville and Iredell County.
General Lackey was a member of the Front Street Presbyterian Church and later the First Presbyterian Church in Statesville. He served as Chairman of the Diaconate in 1981-1983 and as an Elder in the Session of the First Presbyterian Church.
He owned and operated Windy Rock Farm. He was a member of the National Cattlemen’s
Association, a member of the American Polled Hereford Association, a Life Member of the North Carolina Cattlemen’s Association and a member of the North Carolina Polled Hereford Association.
General Lackey was a Life Member of the UNC Alumni Association, a Life Member of the National Guard Association of the United States, a Life Member of the Retired Military Officers Association, a Life Member of the North Carolina National Guard Association, a member of the United States Aerospace Education Foundation, a member of the Air Force Association, a Life Member of the Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity and a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha Educational Foundation.
A service to celebrate the life of General Lackey will be held at 2:00 PM Wednesday, July 30, 2014, at the First Presbyterian Church with Rev. Steve Scott, Rev. Grant Sharp, and Rev. Phillip Tillman officiating. Active pallbearers will be Jerry Lathan, Al Rose, Phil Yoder, John Clark, Doug Eisele, and Dan Mitchell. Honorary pallbearers will be members both past and present of the North Carolina Air National Guard and members of the Rotary Club of Statesville. Burial following the service at the church will be in Oakwood Cemetery in Statesville with members of the North Carolina Air National Guard conducting military honors.
The family will receive friends Tuesday evening at Nicholson Funeral Home in Statesville from 7 until 9 P.M.
In lieu of flowers, the family of General Lackey requests memorials be made to the Fifth Street
Ministries Endowment Fund, Post Office Box 5217, Statesville, N.C. 28687 and to the North Carolina National Guard Association Educational Foundation for the Brigadier General William D. Lackey Memorial Scholarship, 7410 Chapel Hill Road, Raleigh, N.C. 27607.
Online condolences can be made to the family at www.nicholsonfunerals.com/obituaries and Nicholson Funeral Home is serving the family of General Lackey.