Friday, September 3, 2010

WASP Flight Instructor J.C.Pace, Jr

J.C. Pace, Advance Flight Commander, 318th AAFFTD
by Alberta Head

When bloody war and urgent need for haste is gone,
And economic chaos holds us still,
We shall not soon forget his shape along the street,
Or near the half-deserted hangars on the hill.

His shoulders forward bent against the weight of wind and 'chutes
The lagging step to match his slow, insistent word,
The  wisdom and the patience on his face,
The pride behind the stinging comment that we heard.

We shall remember well the scarf he wore
Of white silk stuff, the juanty cap which set him quite apart,
His summer's tan, his winter pinks,
The fleece-lined hood and other heavy trappings of his art.

But do not think he will be loath to go--for look!
Beyond the steady gaze of his blue eyes
His heart is fastened on some lovely, distant dream,
Some fairer view than sandy Texas skies.

( WASP Classbook 43- 4/5)


Although I never had the opportunity to meet him, WASP Flight Instructor,  J.C. Pace,  was a name that made 'folks' in West Texas smile when they heard it.  His kindness and generosity to the place and the people were part of his personality--and the mark of a true 'Texas Gentleman'.  The young women,  whom he instructed in flying military aircraft at  Avenger Field, who then graduated and became WASP,   remember how much he loved to fly!   Today, he is truly flying higher.

To Gary and the whole Pace family,  including Brenda, may our prayers and God's amazing love surround you all.
v/r posted by nancy parrish


The following reposted from the Fort Worth Star Telegram

J.C. Pace Jr., co-founder of Buddies Super Markets and Fort Worth civic leader, dies at 93

FORT WORTH -- On the day J.C. Pace III received his pilot's license, he took his grandfather flying.
After the little Cessna climbed to altitude, the pilot turned to his passenger and asked if he wanted to take the controls.

J.C. Pace Jr., who had trained Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) during World War II, accepted the invitation. He made lazy circles above Fort Worth -- the city he loved and promoted, and where he earned his fortune -- until it was time to land.

"I got it now," J.C. III said as they descended.
His passenger pretended not to hear.
With the runway looming now, the 19-year-old pilot spoke up again.
"OK, I've got it."
The older man ignored him. "Are you going to land it?" the grandson asked.
"That's right!" J.C. Jr. said, and that's just what he did, bringing the plane down gently, perfectly until the wheels kissed the ground at Meacham Field, and his nervous grandson sighed with relief.

It was no small feat for an exhilarated 81-year-old who hadn't flown a plane in a quarter-century. But those who knew the man shouldn't have been surprised by the performance.

J.C. Pace Jr. achieved most everything he set his mind to during his 93 years. The longtime businessman and civic leader, who co-founded Buddies Super Markets, served two terms as president of the Fort Worth Area Chamber of Commerce and played a key role in building the Kimbell Art Museum, died Thursday at his home, surrounded by his family.

"My father loved flying. He loved his life," said daughter Margaret Pace Sykes.

Mr. Pace was born June 13, 1917, in Alto, the son of Joe and Novelle Pace. He moved with his family to Sweetwater at age 2.

At age 21, he bought a grocery store in Sweetwater with a bank loan guaranteed by his father. In 1956, Mr. Pace bought five grocery stores in Fort Worth and moved to the city, where he founded Buddies Super Markets with Kay Kimbell.

After 16 years as the chain's president and CEO, Mr. Pace sold his stock to Tandy Corp.

Mr. Pace was a member of the Kimbell Art Foundation and served on the board for 40 years. He was president of the United Way of Tarrant County and the Fort Worth Chamber Development Corp.

In 1975, Mr. Pace, who at age 30 served as mayor of Sweetwater, ran unsuccessfully for the same office in Fort Worth against Clif Overcash Sr.

His wife, Joan Hendrix Pace, died in 1995 and son Joe Kelly Pace in 2009. Other survivors include son Gary Hendrix Pace; five grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren. The funeral will be private.

David Casstevens,


  1. Thank you for sharing this story.

  2. We're losing so many recently but the loss of J.C. was especially meaningful to me. We went all through school together, graduating from high school in l933. We took some flight training here together and it was always a joy to be around him. We were close in more ways than one. Since they usually, seated us in alphabetical order. He was Pace and me a Paddock, we were side by side in most classes. The last time I saw him was at our 60th Class Reunion. He had to have assistance in moving and someone else took his speaking part. I thought it strange that as long as he lived here and as much as he had done, this has not been in our paper;

    Thanks for sharing.