William Lacy, shown in a recent photograph, joined MGIC in 1971. He took charge of the business right as it emerged from bankruptcy in 1985 and built it into a dominant player.

Former Mortgage Guaranty Insurance Co. Chairman and Chief Executive William Lacy Jr. died Sunday from respiratory failure. He was 71.

Lacy also served as the president and CEO of MGIC's parent company, MGIC Investment Corp. He retired from the company in 1999; at the time, the company had insurance-in-force of more than $145 billion covering 1.4 million mortgages.

He began his career with MGIC in 1971 in the company's secondary mortgage group. He became vice president of secondary market operations and national account sales three years later, with one of his responsibilities being the company's expansion in the Northeast.

Lacy was named president in 1982, and assumed his role as MGIC CEO in 1985 and as MGIC Investment Corp. president and CEO in 1987.

Throughout his career, Lacy also served on a number of corporate boards and industry committees. Most recently, he was a nonexecutive independent director for Johnson Controls. He also served as a director for Ocwen Financial Corp., IMX Exchange, Total Logistics Control, ACA Capital, Firstar Corp. and Manifold Capital Corp.

And he was a member of the National Association of Home Builders Roundtable, Lender's Services Inc. Advisory Board and the Fannie Mae Advisory Board, and a past president of the Mortgage Insurance Cos. of America.

He is survived by his four children and 11 grandchildren. Lacy's funeral will be held Sept. 10, and a memorial service will take place on Oct. 1.

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