Celebrating the life and service of Lt. Col. Jayne Pace

After a long life of dedication to her family, country and community, Lt. Col. Jayne Pace gently passed away on February 7th, at the age of 93.  She was born in Forest Hill, Texas, just outside Fort Worth.  As a child walking to school, Jayne was fascinated by the flight of butterflies, wishing she could fly as they did.

After high school, Jayne attended Trinity University in San Antonio and later went on to earn her private pilot’s license, making her dreams of flight come true.  When her husband was stationed in New Orleans during World War II, she showed her patriotism by joining the Civil Air Patrol.

Jayne flew solo patrols along the Louisiana coast, searching for enemy submarines.  The planes she flew were Stearmans, Piper Cub J-3’s and Taylorcrafts.  Few women had the courage that Jayne had.  These women called themselves “Awesome Babes” and they experienced some resentment from the male pilots, but that made them more determined.

She relocated to Washington and continued to serve our country as a volunteer for the Red Cross.  She transported wounded to Walter Reed Army Hospital, and often spent time with the patients playing card games or just conversing.

At the end of the war, Jayne remained with aviation, working for Pan American Airlines in Houston, and later modeled for Nieman Marcus, Oshmann’s and Ralph Rupley Furs.

Jayne worked diligently for her political party for many years, mailing flyers, working on committees and spending endless hours phoning voters. She was one of the first members of the Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church. She sang in the choir and taught Sunday school.

Jayne continued serving her community while raising two daughters, Janis and Cynthia.  She took great pride in her four grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren, spending time teaching and influencing their lives.

Jayne re-joined Civil Air Patrol in 2006 and became an active member of the Thunderbird Composite Squadron.  Her goal was to inspire cadets, by instilling in them a sense of patriotism, dedication and honor.  They loved to gather around to hear her stories about what CAP was like back then and her adventures.

One young boy from her Sunday school class is now an active senior member of Civil Air Patrol.  Jayne and 1st Lt. Richard Bonica rejoiced in getting reacquainted.  She was very proud of his dedication and service.

Jayne was honored locally for her service in WWII on October 15, 2014, at a ceremony held by Congressman Michael McCaul, U. S. Representative of the 10th District of Texas at the Katy War Museum.  She enjoyed relating her experiences flying during the war. McCaul presented her with an American flag that was flown over the U. S. Capitol in her honor, and said, “Now you are immortal.”  She is indeed.

Congressman John Culberson, Texas 7th District, Maj. Gen. Joe Vasquez, CAP national commander, Lt. Col. Jayne Pace and Congressman Michael McCaul, Texas 10th District, at the U.S. Capitol for the Congressional Gold Medal presentation.         Taken by Family member

Congressman John Culberson, Texas 7th District, Maj. Gen. Joe Vasquez, CAP national commander, Lt. Col. Jayne Pace and Congressman Michael McCaul, Texas 10th District, at the U.S. Capitol for the Congressional Gold Medal presentation. Taken by Family member

 

Her proudest moment came on December 10, 2014, in Washington, when she was among forty recipients awarded the Congressional Gold Medal for her service to our nation during WWII. The medal was presented to the Civil Air Patrol. Congressman McCaul, individually recognized Jayne at the ceremony held in the U. S. Capitol. She received a standing ovation by more than 600 attendees.   Each honoree was given their own Congressional Gold Medal at a dinner later that evening.

“She brought me into CAP in 2010.  Jayne became a wonderful and dear friend.  She gave me an opportunity to serve in something really important.  I will miss her greatly.” stated Capt. Audrey Morrow.

Lt. Col. Bob Beeley commented on Jayne passing, “I was saddened to hear of her passing.  What a great lady.”

Jayne will be greatly missed by all those she touched.  She left a legacy of memories, and inspired many with a desire to love and service our country.