John Lee "Johnny" Lacey was born on November 7, 1947, in Ray, Arizona, to George Lacey and Velma Hawk Lacey.
As a boy Johnny grew up exploring and hunting in and around Aravaipa Canyon. He would later tell his kids and grandkids of all his adventures he had there.
His grandpa Henry Lacey was a government trapper and introduced him to trapping and hunting with hounds. Igniting a passion and a love for hound dogs that Johnny later had until he was unable to care for dogs anymore.
Johnny's family moved to the Tucson area. Johnny and his brothers learned how to work on cars, and they all built hot rods together.
Johnny met and married Mary Kinslow in Tucson. In that union they had two daughters: Corinna and Cindy. Johnny went to Barbers College and later enjoyed going to nursing homes to cut patients hair.
After the dissolution of that marriage Johnny met Karen Marie Obert. Johnny and Karen married and made their home in Tucson and had six children. Five sons, Chad, Daniel, Samuel, Joseph and Jonathan, and one daughter, April. Johnny and Karen also loved and cared for Johnny's deceased brother, "Jinks," sons, Micheal and Lee Lacey, and always considered them as their sons.
In 1983, the family packed up and moved to Morenci during the strike. Johnny worked as an equipment operator there for 32 years until he retired.
Johnny never met a stranger. He took in many struggling families, old men, and several young boys into his home and under his wing. One of those boys was Robert Atkins. Robert and his family have remained a part of Johnny's family until this day. Many of his kids’ friends and grandkids friends would call him Papa Johnny or PJ.
In 1992, Johnny and Karen moved to the Duncan area. They settled on 20 acres along the Gila River where he had plenty of room for his children, dogs, cars, horses and mules. He lived there until his passing.
Johnny taught his boys how to hunt, fish, trap work on cars, and run heavy equipment. Johnny and Karen later separated, and Johnny was blessed by meeting Sandra "Sandy" Teeter.
Johnny and Sandy enjoyed hunting, fishing and camping together. They enjoyed cruising in the truck together into town for scratch tickets and Johnny’s favorite drink, Diet Dr. Pepper.
As Johnny's health declined Sandy took the role of being his 24-hour caregiver. She took care of him until his final breath.
Johnny passed away on January 31, 2024, in the comfort of his home surrounded by his family.
He was feisty and ornery since the day he was born. He was tough on the outside, spoke rough, but on the inside, he was a big teddy bear. He was a great storyteller, most of them he embellished, and his kids would refer to them as Papa Johnny Stories. He lovingly called all his kids and grandkids "Dawgs". He loved each and every one of them and they all knew how much they were loved by him.
Johnny is survived by: his children, Corrina Thorn, Cindy Toliver, Chad (Rosie), Daniel (Melanie), April (Danny Bell), Samuel (Tracee), Joseph (Brittani), and Jonathan (Kaysie); his siblings, Carol (Richard) Glover, Dianne (Bob) Polly, Tim Lacey, Cheryl (Randy), Bannon and Allen (Vicky); 26 grandchildren and 20 great-grandchildren.
He is preceded in death by: his parents, George and Velma Lacey; his brother, George "Jinks" Lacey; and a great-granddaughter, Cadence Ellen Dalton.
A memorial service for Johnny will be conducted at a later date.