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Mark Pace

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CLIFTON FORGE — E. Mark Pace, EdD, died peacefully on Friday, Nov. 19, 2021, surrounded by his wife, Pam Pace, daughters Susan Noffsinger Byer and Cheryl Pace Mackian; and sons Jim Pace and David Pace.

Mark Pace lived his life fully with humor and purpose. An educator to the core, he was superintendent of the Alleghany Highlands, 1977-1991, overseeing the consolidation of the Alleghany and Clifton Forge School systems. As superintendent, he built a team of talented people to bring his plans to fruition, while creating a positive and fun work environment. Civic duty was a guiding principle for Mark, who joined the Rotary Club as a young man and volunteered his time in the late 1960s and 1970s to help create Expo, an event venue in Augusta County. Once built, he brought in country music singers such as Johnny Cash, Loretta Lynn, Barbara Mandrell, and Jerry Reed.

Mark knew how to throw a party and run a grill. He entertained large crowds from his bachelor ranch days, threw pig roasts, and organized family reunions. He honed his cooking skills later in life, poring over cookbooks, creating recipes, wheedling out Victor Cucci’s sauce recipe, and taking gourmet French classes from his good friend Chef Michel Galand. He particularly loved his Virginia Tech tailgates where he’d host and feed 30-70 people at each home game. A Tech graduate of 1957, he earned a master’s degree from there later as well as a doctorate in 1981. He was very proud that he only missed two home games at Lane Stadium. He maintained hope to the end that his beloved Hokies would win the national championship.

A spontaneous adventurer, he rode a mechanical bull, explored the U.S. by motorcycle, went white water rafting and snow skiing, and put his feet in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Arctic Oceans. He was Captain of the 46-foot wooden trawler, The Starry Banner. He ran sections of the Intercoastal Waterway, the Hudson up into Lake Champlain, and the Atlantic from the Chesapeake Bay to Beaufort, North Carolina.

Mark was a great man known by many and will be missed in many ways. He was a wonderful friend who loved silly practical jokes and kept lifelong friends. The last of nine siblings, he dearly loved all his nieces, nephews, and their children and grandchildren. He was Grandpa Chip to Noah Pace, Seth Pace, Emma Pace, Sam Mackian, and Sara Mackian. His family also included Tracy Pace, Sarah Pace Forman, Carl Byer, and countless nieces and nephews whom he adored. He is survived by his beloved wife, Pam Pace.

In keeping with his wishes, his body has been cremated. A community visitation will be held on Sunday, November 28, 2021, from 3 to 5 p.m. at Nicely Funeral Home, Clifton Forge.

Nicely Funeral Home, Clifton Forge is handling arrangements.

To send condolences to the family online, visit www.nicelyfuneralhome.com

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