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Harrison Pace, III
Candler - Benjamin Harrison Pace, III, died Monday, March 25, 2013, at Memorial Mission Hospital, after a well fought and gallant battle. Ben was the son of the late Benjamin H. Pace, II, and Dorothy Simmers Pace.
Ben is survived by his wife of 34 years, Jamie D. Pace, as well as two daughters: Michelle Pace Wood and husband Gary of Candler, and Lucille Pace Miller and husband Keith of Newnan, Georgia. Also surviving is his very dear granddaughter, Emma Camille Wood. A sister, Pat Loflin, and cousins Thomas L. Thrash, Lee Pace Brawley, and William J. Teague also survive.
Ben often spent summers in the Candler area with his great grandparents Lee and Nellie Thrash and Uncle Jay and Lucille Pace. He loved to talk about the summers he spent at Lake Junaluska helping his Uncle Dale and Aunt Mary Thrash at Lakeside Lodges.
Ben lived with his mother's sister and husband Virginia and Edward Teague during high school and graduated from Calvert County High School on the Chesapeake Bay. From there, he received a B.S. Degree in Biology from Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland where he was captain of the cross country and track team.
Following graduation, Ben enlisted in the United States Navy, attaining the rank of L.T.J.G. He served on the USS Okinawa during the Cuban Missile Crisis and on the Admiral's Staff of the Atlantic Fleet.
After the service, Ben worked 12 years for Sun Oil Company and progressed to become the corporation's sales manager for a three-state region.
In 1976, Ben returned to Asheville to establish his own business. The first Country Food Stores opened in March 1977, and was located on the former site of his family's home place. Over the next 35 years, Ben grew his dream to include 16 convenient stores, as well as branching out into real estate investing. Ben was selected in 1986 as Entrepreneur of the Year by the Western Carolina Entrepreneurial Council. Ben believed in serving his community and thoroughly enjoyed his many years on the MSD board of directors. In addition, he served as a member of the Buncombe County Community School Advisory Council, and was a board member of BOOST, presently known as Mountain Mobility. Ben was a graduate of Leadership Asheville V, a member of Riverlink, a board member of the Council of Independent Business Owners, and was both a trustee and finance committee member for Montmorenci United Methodist Church. Ben was a member of the VFW, past president of the Enka-Candler Business Association, and a licensed Real Estate Broker. He also founded and was a sponsor of "The Knot Hole Gang" providing the joy of the Tourist baseball to many young children in our region.
In addition to this extraordinary work, he was a founding member of the Buncombe County Democratic Men's Club, and ran for County Commissioner in 1980 and again in 1984. After this, he ran for NC State House in 1996. Ben put his all into strengthening the Buncombe County Democratic Party. Ben was a faithful Democrat and great lover of politics.
However most importantly Ben Pace was a man of his word, who loved life, silently helped many people, and offered many people a second chance to succeed. He lived by the golden rule, and was a man of great integrity.
Memorial services will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Thursday at Montmorenci United Methodist Church, with the Rev. Lisa Hartzog Hannah and Dr. Duke Ison officiating. Interment with Military Honors will follow at Acton United Methodist Church Cemetery.
His family will receive friends from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Groce Funeral Home on Patton Ave.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Upper Hominy Volunteer Fire Department, PO Box 190, Candler, NC 28715, and/or to Montmorenci United Methodist Church, PO Box 610, Candler, NC 28715.
The online register is available at www.grocefuneralhome.com.
Groce Funeral Home at Lake Julian
1401 Patton Avenue Asheville, NC 28806
Published in the Asheville Citizen-Times on Mar. 27, 2013