IN Focus: Indy icons remembered for their contributions

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INDIANAPOLIS - Two icons in our community passed away last week, one a local philanthropist, the other an 'adopted' Hoosier whose iconic voice became a signature at the Indianapolis 500.

Actor and singer Jim Nabors passed away last week at the age 87. He died peacefully at his home in Hawaii on Thursday with his husband, Stan Cadwallader, by his side. Cadwallader says Nabors' health had been declining for the past year.

His immune system also was suppressed after he underwent a liver transplant about 20 years ago.

He’s a former actor best known as Gomer Pyle on "The Andy Griffith Show." He was also known for singing "Back Home Again in Indiana" prior to the start of the Indianapolis 500 over the span of more than 40 years.

Nabors had to give up the gig after the 2014 Indianapolis 500, saying that his health was limiting his ability to travel.

Andre B. Lacy, a well-known Indianapolis business man and philanthropist, also died last week at the age of 78.

LDI Ltd. announced Thursday that Lacy, the company’s chairman, was killed in a motorcycle crash in Africa. The company said the motorcycle Lacy was riding crashed while on a private tour in Botswana.

Lacy was a motorcycle enthusiast. He told our newsgathering partners at the IndyStar that he spent the summer of 2015 riding a motorcycle from Moscow to Hong Kong.

Lacy served as the chairman of the Indianapolis holding company.  And in 2016, he donated $25 million to Butler University, which named its business school in his honor.

Lacy was deeply devoted to Butler’s Business Accelerator program and served as a mentor and adviser to students, according to a biography on the Indiana University’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs website.

Lacy’s grandfather, Howard Lacy, started his family business more than 100 years ago with the founding of U.S. Corrugated Fiber Box Co., which made cardboard boxes. By the 1980s, the family expanded and renamed their business Lacy Diversified Industries, or LDI.

Lacy was also a member of the board of directors at Hulman and Company, which owns the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The company’s president and CEO, Mark Miles, issued this statement following Lacy’s passing:

“Andre’s loss is an incredible shock to everyone. It would be difficult to exaggerate his transformative impact on our city and state, as well as Hulman & Company as a member of our Board of Directors. His success as a business and civic leader was remarkable and impactful beyond measure. But it’s his unfailingly positive personality, extraordinary judgement and wise guidance we’ll miss most. Andre’s positive influence in all aspects of our community will leave a real gap we all must work hard to fill.  We extend our condolences to his wonderful family and friends.”

Indiana Gov. Holcomb issued the following statement:

“Andre Lacy was a business and philanthropic heavyweight with a giant heart for public service. Throughout his life, he gave away his time, talents and wealth to improve Indiana—with a deep focus on building civic engagement. His longtime service as chairman of the Indiana State Fair Commission has been essential to the ongoing success of this state resource. In fact, it is only through his generosity and leadership that Indiana was able to renovate and unveil the Indiana Farmers Coliseum in 2014. Andre’s legacy will live on through this landmark and the many lives he has positively impacted. His passing is a great loss, and Janet and I extend our sincere condolences to the Lacy family.”

Vice President Mike Pence issued the following statement:

“Karen and I were deeply saddened to learn of the passing of a truly great Hoosier, our friend Andre B. Lacy. We offer our deepest condolences and prayers to his family and friends during this difficult time. Andre Lacy dedicated his life to service, and his contributions to the life of this state and nation will benefit Hoosiers for generations to come. Like so many others, I was always inspired by his example of integrity and generosity. Andre Lacy will be greatly missed, but his memory and legacy will never be forgotten.”

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