The American family has been painted by Norman Rockwell, celebrated by Hallmark, and protected by Capitol Hill. The family plays the leading role in the creation, growth, and development of life. It nurtures the soul and enables people to experience the dramatic power of enduring love.

Lacy and Marion Van Zant's marriage was a beautiful portrait of true love, courage, companionship, and strength. It was from this foundation that a loyal, loving, tight-knit family would go on to create a musical legacy. Ronnie, Donnie, and Johnny Van Zant would change the face of American music forever.

Although Lacy Van Zant is known to legions of fans as the Father of Southern Rock, it is his quiet role behind the scenes that has reaped him the greatest glory.

It would be difficult to find a man more supportive of his family than Lacy Van Zant. As the backbone of the Van Zant clan, Lacy worked hard to provide for his family both financially and emotionally. Through good times and bad, Lacy has been his family's greatest defender and advocate. He is equally proud of all the children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren he has been blessed with.

Lacy was also a devoted husband to his late wife, Marion. For 53 years, he loved, honored, and admired his "Miss America." Her recent passing brought sorrow and loss to his door once more. Yet, Lacy's inner strength and perseverance has enabled him to press on. He is truly a remarkable man.

Once in a while, life affords us the unique privilege of knowing someone who is truly special and one of a kind. The rare individual who lives their life, in such a way, as to inspire others to live likewise. Someone who has the capability of brightening every soul they touch, so as to leave a permanent, positive, indelible imprint.

Marion Virginia Van Zant, affectionately known as "Sister," was just such a person. Although she was best known for her role as matriarch of the Van Zant legend, Sister created a legacy in her own right. A legacy that will continue through the lives of the many people she influenced.

Sister was a real class act. A straight shooter who stood up for what she believed in. She loved to help people and possessed a very kind, giving, generous spirit, especially towards children. In addition, she was also a traditional Southern Mom; opening her heart, and her home, to her children's friends, with grace, compassion, and good, old-fashioned, Southern hospitality.

In April of 2000, Sister unexpectedly passed away, leaving a huge void in the hearts of those who loved and admired her. While she has gone home to be with her beloved Ronnie, she will be sorely missed and irreplaceable.

~ Debbie Lee