Class of 1967
|Former Henry Countian and Memphis
private investigator Ronald Lee Lax, 64, died Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013, in
Memphis after a battle with brain cancer.
His wife of eight years, Debra Monroe Lax, survives.
His body was cremated.
A memorial service is planned at 1 p.m. Saturday at First Unitarian Church, also known as “The Church of the River,” in Memphis.
Born June 20, 1949, in Paris, he was a son of the late Lee Warren Lax and Dorthea Stubblefield Lax.
He was owner and founder of Inquisitor Inc., a private investigation business in Memphis. A family member said he developed close ties and friendships throughout the business community and appreciated the friendship and respect of others. He called his eight-year marriage to the former Debra Monroe, the happiest years of his life.
In addition to his wife, he leaves two brothers: Tony (Charlotte) Lax of Oakland, Tenn., and Tracy Lax of Puryear; two nephews: Ben Lax and Zach Lax; his in-laws; and several extended family members.
Memorials may be made to the National Brain Tumor Society.
|A Paris native who became
well-known in the Memphis area as a private investigator who was involved in
the West Memphis 3 case died Thursday in Memphis.
Ron Lax, 64, was an award-winning private investigator who played a large role in gathering evidence that helped three Arkansas men in their efforts to be freed from prison.
Those three men were accused of three child murders in 1993 and spent 18 years in prison before being released in 2011 when they all entered Alford pleas, which allowed them to maintain their innocence while acknowledging prosecutors have evidence to convict them.
Lax had worked for years gathering information about the case, including DNA evidence that helped strengthen the three men’s defense as a strong campaign to free them and was maintained by their supporters.
A documentary about the case, “West of Memphis,” was released last year and is now available on DVD.
Another movie about the case is being produced now.
Canadian director Atom Egoyan is making “Devil’s Knot,” about the case, with Lax being played in the movie by English actor Colin Firth, the 2011 Academy Award winner for best actor for his performance in “The King’s Speech.”
Elizabeth Fowler, the Los Angeles movie producer of “Devil’s Knot,” called Lax “the unsung hero of this case,” according to a story published Saturday in The Commercial Appeal.
A 1967 Grove High School graduate, Lax majored in political science and accounting, beginning his studies at Memphis State University.
He earned his degree from the then-Bethel College in McKenzie.
Prior to opening his investigating firm Inquisitor, Inc. in Memphis in 1978, he worked as an undercover investigator for Guardsmark, according to his wife, Debra.
In 2006, Lax received the Death Penalty Award for his work in capital defense from the Tennessee Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.
The Tennessee Professional Investigators Association named him its 2013 Investigator of the Year. TACDL also chose him for its Citzenship of the Year Award.
Lax was a lifetime member of the NAACP and was one of the originating members of the regulatory board for the State of Tennessee Private Investigation Commission.
He was diagnosed with malignant brain tumors in 2010. After experiencing remission from the illness, the tumors returned this year.
Added by Lindell Chrisman ('61)
Reprinted from THE PARIS
October 23, 2013 Edition ~ Used by Permission
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