Lacee Harris passed away in his home on August 6th, 2020. After many rounds of cancer he completed his journey to the spirit world peacefully. Lacee was born on the Uintah and Ouray Reservation in Fort Duchesne, Utah on June 29th, 1944, to Albert H. Harris and Lucille D. (Sanchez) Harris. He was the oldest of five children.
Lacee is survived by his wife of 26 years Molly Prince, his children Brenna (Bill), Bron (Sherry), and LaDonna (Chad); his step-children, Chad and Shayne (Tracie) Champneys; his grandchildren Maya and Ella, and his step-grandchildren Zoe, Jayden, Saygen, Kohyn, Rylen, Brianna, and great granddaughter Opyl. He loved his grandchildren deeply. Lacee was preceded in death by his first wife Alberta Acothley from Coconino, Arizona.
In 1968, Alberta and Lacee graduated from BYU and got married. Then Lacee earned his first masters degree in public administration. In 1973, Lacee became the University of Utah’s Indian Education Advisor for the next 14 years. He received awards for Man of the Year from Native American students and Chicano students. He was also involved in designing the University of Utah’s current logo.The logo, as Lacee explains it, is the circle of life with the eagle feathers attached. The feathers represent the eagle who takes our prayers to the creator. He used to bristle when he heard the logo described as a drum and feather.
Lacee went back to school and earned another master's degree from the University of Utah and became a licensed clinical social worker. His social work career included working in elementary school social work, child protective services, and youth corrections. He later began serving adults and became a mental / behavioral health therapist at Valley Mental Health and then at Weber Mental Health. He finally retired from behavioral health / substance abuse counseling from the Indian Walk In Center in 2011, but he still did consulting when available.
Lacee was seen as a community leader and was very involved in Native American awareness. He served as the pow-wow committee chairman at the Salt Lake Indian Walk In Center in the 1980s for 5 or 6 years, and he was an MC and spiritual leader for pow wows all over the state. He was an active member in the Four Corners Gourd Dance Society. For a few years, in the late 1970s and early 80s, he had a TV show on KUTV called Indian Affairs. For some years, he also hosted a radio show on KRCL. He served on the Board of Directors for the Indian Circle Center in Ogden for three years. For the last ten years he sat on the Salt Lake Interfaith Roundtable.
Lacee did Native traditional consulting work and ceremonies for 50 years, which includes weddings, burials, and cleansings. During his retirement and until 2020, Lacee volunteered his services as a chaplain for Native services at the Utah State Prison and at the Huntsman Cancer Institute.
Towards the end of his life Lacee, asked if he did enough. The answer to his question can be seen in the outpouring of love seen from his family, extended family, friends, colleagues, clients, and students. He has had so many prayers sent to him, including for example a letter sent from caring inmates he mentored at the Utah State Prison. He has touched the souls of thousands. Lacee will be deeply missed.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, August 22nd from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm at Starks Funeral Parlor, 3651 South 900 East, Salt Lake City. To ensure compliance with current social distancing guidelines, we kindly ask that you call the funeral parlor at 801-474-9119, between the hours of 9:00 am - 5:00 pm, to make a reservation for the time you wish to attend. The courtesy of wearing a mask is requested.
For those unable to attend the memorial service for Lacee, a live stream will be available by clicking the "Watch Now" link above before the service begins. The service recording will be posted on this website thereafter to view any time.