ONCE called a "compact little unit" by radio royalty John Laws, Ken Lacey was a larger than life character.
The former jockey, truck driver, courier and rural supplies manager was in his element with people and equally at ease around animals.
Ken was the inaugural president of Victorian Hound Hunters and was instrumental in getting Auskick off the ground in Lavington.
He commanded a room instantly; he never forgot a name even years between meetings.
Within six months of starting work at Lavington business Mark's Spray Barn, Ken knew just about every dealer in Australia.
Employers Mark and Sally Lavery said Ken was one of a kind, a loyal worker and like family to them.
"In the 17 years he worked for us, I beat him to work four times; he was first in and last out," Mr Lavery said.
Ms Lavery said what Ken lacked in stature he made up for in personality and wit; his love of cake was legendary.
"Every rep knew they had to bring cake or Tim Tams if they were meeting Ken," she said.
Born at Mansfield on January 3, 1953, Kenneth Donald Lacey, had a life-long love of the High Country.
Aged 14, Ken left school to train as a jockey.
He won Jockey of the Year and the Echuca Cup but his biggest win came when he met his future wife, Shirley Richardson, at the races.
Son Duayne said his dad and mum, who were living at Wangaratta and Albury, respectively, wrote love letters.
"He wrote on the envelopes: 'Postie, postie, don't be slow. Be like Elvis and go man go!'," he said.
"Their 50th wedding anniversary is coming up on November 27 and he really wanted to get to the 50 years."
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After a two-year cancer battle, Ken passed away at home on October 28, surrounded by his loving family and hounds.
Duayne said his dad was a second-generation hound hunter, who had kept 28 fox hounds on the family hobby farm at Stanley.
"He had a knack for knowing the bush and a knack for knowing dogs," he said.
"He taught me everything about the bush; he had a love for the High Country and a love for his hounds.
"Even when he was sick he was up in the High Country helping others with the bushfire recovery last year.
"Hunting was his passion and he loved it until the end."
Fittingly, a beautiful patch in the Buckland Valley, named Lacey's Corner, bears testament to it.
Ken is survived by his wife Shirley, three children, Jayne, Tanya and Duayne, and was the adored pop of six grandchildren, Paul (deceased), Billiecane, Heath, Steele, Tanisha and Deegan.
A celebration of Ken's life will be held at Lester & Son, Wodonga, today at 2.30pm. Due to COVID restrictions, attendees must be double vaccinated. To view the service live visit: lesterandson.com.au/lacey.
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