Tucked away in a remote corner of northwest Boone County, Shelby Ravellette spends much of his time
Some are ones he can handle easily. Some are so big it requires a front-end loader to lift. He pieces them
together carefully, making sure each stone fits in its place.
treated.At the front of the building is an extra-thick chimney for a large fireplace that will generate heat.
The walls are two-feet thick as he guides a visitor through the structure.
Standing atop one turret, he proudly shows the brilliant view of turning fall foliage and a pond where
wild creatures come for water — the kind of place where man actually seems to be the intruder.
“It’s all for Lacey,” he said, but that takes some explanation.
Ravellette was born in Poplar Bluff, Mo, in 1954. He and his family moved around some, but he got the
majority of his education in the Midwest.
He went into the real estate business with his father and brother, buying and selling property. He was
busy on his way to making his first million dollars, he says, and didn’t have time for children.
They bought a piece of property in Pine Bluff and opened a bowling alley. While there, he was again
buying houses, remodeling them and reselling them for a profit, still working his way toward the financial
Then, one day, he was walking out of a store when he saw a woman carrying a toddler. He said the girl
looked at him as they passed and immediately started trying to crawl over the woman’s shoulder when
their eyes met in an attempt to get to him.
He was trying to figure out what the problem was when the woman turned around and Ravellette
recognized her as one of his former girlfriend’s mother.
He discovered that the girl was his biological child. Lacey Michelle was born May 7, 1979.
Ravellette said Lacey had his characteristic red, flowing hair and the two immediately bonded, leaving
him no way to deny her heredity.
So, although he and Lacey’s mother, Debbie, never married, he took complete financial responsibility for
the child and spent time with her as often as he could.
One night, Lacey got sick. She had flu-like symptoms and Debbie took her to the emergency room. There,
she was given medication that is quite normally safe.
After the first dose of medicine, Lacey began to develop headaches. That didn’t cause any immediate
alarm, especially because she already had flu-like symptoms.
But after a few more doses, something was obviously wrong. Within hours she had suffered an apparent
toxic reaction to the medication and her brain began to swell.
Lacey died in January 1987.
Ravellette fell into a depression, and regrets set in. He said he’d been spending so much time trying to
develop a financial base for Lacey that he hadn’t spent as much time with her as he could.
“When she passed away I had the money, but no daughter,” he said, his eyes filling with tears.
Ravellette’s depression deepened, and he was even contemplating suicide. He said he felt as if there
was nothing for him to do in life after Lacey’s death.
He maintains that Lacey came to him in a vision one night. He said Lacey had dreamed of living in a castle
and he had promised to build her one. In that vision, Lacey told him to follow up on his promise and build
So, he set about looking for property. While in the Ozarks for a float trip on the Buffalo River, he was
reading the Harrison Daily Times and ran across an ad for property in Boone County.
He contacted the realtor and they looked at a couple of tracts. but when he saw the topographic map of
the property he now owns, he felt something.
He saw the close-together lines and realized that meant it was steep. That also meant there would be
lots of rock available for castle walls.
He bought that property in 1988. He survived the first winter in what he calls a shack, and then set
about building a castle.
Now the structure is taking a definite shape. Lacey had learned about conservation of resources in
school, so he uses water captured in large containers to water flower and vegetable gardens.
In fact, he said that when he dies the entire property is to be turned over to become a park of sorts,
dedicated to natural, soil and water conservation and wildlife preservation.
“It will revert to a charity foundation for Lacey Michelle,” he said.
Walking along the walls of the castle, Ravellette points out various highlights of construction, making
mental notes of things to get accomplished that day.
He stops and holds out his arms.
“It’s all for Lacey,” he says. “This is her legacy.”
Story Written By James L. White of the Harrison Daily Times
"Copyright Harrison Daily Times.
Lacey Michele Foundation Purpose and Plan
The Lacey Michele foundation was established as a non-profit org. in the memory of Lacey
Michele Pittman Ravellette. The foundation is commited to preserving a piece of the Ozarks
and allowing the return of the indigenous spieces. The estate will be operated and
maintained as a wildlife management area, improving habitat, and aid in research studys,
environmental issues, and wildlife habitat conservation. There are 7 primative campsites on
the estate, and a presentation will be given at each site and participants will hike to the next
site along the trails of the estate, as a guide points out objects of interest as well as answer
any questions. certificates will be issued to all who complete the conservation course, and
make a commitment to conservation. All donations will go to the foundation and be used to
expand and complete the ongoing projects of the foundation and purchase more land as it
becomes available, and fund the many outreach programs, The foundation has adopted a mile
of U.S. 65 and will pick up the litter and trash along the right of way. By doing this it will save
the tax payers of Ark. $36,000 per year,,,so I encourage all to adopt your hiway and help keep
Ark. beautiful and save the tax payers alot of money,,
As of 7/7/07
There are numerous conservation projects on the LaceyMichelesCastle Grounds. That are in
various stages of completion. The wildlife population variety and health have never been
better in all the years I have been here. Already completed water conservation projects
convert millions of gallons of rain fall back to the water table annually,additionally saving
millions of gallons of flood water down stream ( White River). Also saving soil erosion.
Lacey Michele Foundation is a nonprofit foundation and donations
can be made at the.
First National Bank of Green Forest AR,
Thought of the day
Awards, Honors, or personel possesions should never precede
Love of GOD, family, integrity, honor, or TRUTH.
LIFE IS SIMPLE
It is your Vices, Vanities, and EGO,
That complicate and compound your Life.
For more information about LaceyMichelesCastle
Springfield News-Leader 6-9-20007
|IN MEMORY OF