Gerald Michael (Mike) Pace, Jr. passed away on January 8, 2024. Mike was born in Salem, VA on March 11, 1957, to the late Gerald Michael Pace, Sr. and Jeanne Andrew Pace. Three years later, Mike’s brother Jon was born, and their family was complete. He was a member of the class of 1975 at Andrew Lewis High School where he played football and was on the golf team. He graduated from Hampden-Sydney College in 1979, where he was a member of Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity and was Co-captain of the golf team. He earned a Juris Doctorate from Washington & Lee University School of Law in 1984. In his 66 years, Mike became so many things to so many people. He was a son, husband, father, brother, friend, attorney, community servant, mentor, golfer, and artist.
Mike was devoted to and adored his wife, Nancy Hinchee Pace, for 39 years. He was proud of his two daughters, Maggi Pace of Salem, VA and Cate Golden as well as her husband, Kyle, of Charlotte, NC. He often said he “gave away his curls to his girls” when referencing his blonde locks from the 70s and 80s. He loved his younger brother, Jon, his sister-in-law, Elen, niece Claire, and nephew Jack, of Atlanta, GA. Mike is also survived by his aunts and uncles Mary Sue Pace of Pulaski, VA; Roger Dean, of Pulaski, VA; and several special cousins: Susan Morris and her husband, Chuck; Sarah Pace Huddle and her husband John; and Jordan Morris and his wife Ali. Mike is preceded in death by his parents; his uncles and aunts, Col. Thomas Clifford Andrew, Jr. of Emory, VA; Harold Duane Pace of Pulaski, VA; Mary Pace Dean of Pulaski, VA; and Cousin Brent Dean of Pulaski, VA.
During his life, and particularly during his illness, Mike was supported by great friends. They took him to dinners, lunch at the ice cream parlor, car rides in the Virginia countryside, and spent time at the range at Hanging Rock Golf Course followed by BLTs in the snack shop. During COVID, many visited on the patio where stories and laughter were exchanged. Good friends and company are the best medicine in the world and made a tough journey more bearable.
In his career, Mike was most proud of his work in creating the Virginia Law Foundation/Virginia Bar Association Rule of Law Project, which has focused on partnering judges, lawyers, and teachers with middle and high school students to teach them the importance of the rule of law as the basis of the rights and freedoms we enjoy so they will become active and engaged citizens as adults. This led to co-founding the Center for Teaching the Rule of Law at Roanoke College with his close friend H. Timothy Isaacs.
In addition to his work with the Rule of Law Project, Mike was a former managing partner at Gentry Locke. He served on the boards of LEAD Virginia, the Business Leadership Fund, the Business Council, the Roanoke Regional Partnership, SunTrust Advisory Board, and other civic and charitable boards. He was a former trustee of Hampden-Sydney College and a past president of the Hampden-Sydney College Alumni Association. He served as an adjunct professor at Roanoke College and Washington and Lee University School of Law, where he founded a practicum for third-year law students that is now implemented statewide. Mike was a member of The Virginia Bar Association (2008 president), the Virginia State Bar, the Roanoke Bar Association (2000-2001 president), the American Bar Association, the National Conference of Bar Presidents, and a member and a fellow of the Virginia Law Foundation. He was also a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation and the Roanoke Law Foundation. Mike was a member of the National Council for the Social Studies, the Virginia Council for the Social Studies, and the Virginia Consortium of Social Studies Specialists and College Educators.
The family gives special thanks to Mike’s wonderful caregiver, Janie Bower, for her kind and gentle care. She tended to Mike’s needs and before long was embracing the whole family. The family also wants to express great appreciation to several special caregivers at Brandon Oaks, Gentiva Hospice, and to John M. Oakey & Son Funeral Home in Salem for their assistance with arrangements.
The family will have an intimate private service. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to one of the following organizations: Unbridled Change, an organization that aided Mike and his family through his illness with Alzheimer’s, by visiting: www.unbridledchange.org/donate or by mail to PO Box 157, Boones Mill, VA 24065 and, The Legal Studies Enhancement Fund, Post Office Box 637, Hampden- Sydney, VA 23943.
Online condolences may be expressed at www.johnmoakey.com.