George Alexander Pace

United States Marine Corps
12 November 1944 - 04 July 1967
Detroit, Michigan
Panel 23E Line 006


George A Pace
Photo courtesy Darlene Pace Vaughan

Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for George Alexander Pace

29 Oct 1999

George was such a wonderful person. He always had a smile on his face and always made time for people. He will never know what a difference he made at a very bad time in my life by just being the caring person he was.

I still miss him and think of him with only the fondest memories.

In my eyes he was a real hero.

I can be reached at
George's high school friend,
Patricia Taylor

28 February 2001

George Pace was my youngest brother. He was due to come home the end of July 1967. He was hit by a fragment from a shell which exploded outside the chapel hut while he was assisting at Mass. The date was July 4, 1967. He was a Chaplain's Assistant in the 3rd Marine Division near the Demilitarized Zone, assigned to Commander Joseph E. Ryan. Fr. Ryan has been a close family friend ever since and has spent much time visiting here with George's family. Fr. Joe really came through for the Pace Family and we are still in contact with him. He has never forgotten George and frequently calls our Mother to see how she is doing. We are all very blessed to know him.

It has been over 33 years since George was killed and our families have grown. Each July 4th, everyone from near and far, drives or flies in to celebrate a Memorial Mass for George. After Mass we place flags and flowers at his gravesite and spend the rest of the day together remembering what a terrific person he was. It is amazing, after all these years, that someone comes up with a story we've never heard before.

George was truly unforgettable, and although he lived only 22 years, he lived it to the fullest. Our children and grandchildren know they have an Uncle George who lived and was very real. They know all about him. I'm sure they will tell their children too!

From his sister,
Darlene Pace Vaughan

02 Jul 2007

Dear Little Brother,

This July 4th marks 40 years since we lost you! How very much we all have missed you. The years quickly pass, but at times, it seems like only yesterday.

George, I remember vividly the day you left for boot camp, only one week before Bill and I were to be married. You were supposed to be in our wedding and I struggled to accept the fact that you would not be there. I really miss not seeing your face in our wedding album. As you were packing to leave, I reached into your suitcase and admired a beautiful crucifix. You gave it to me and I still have it!

We were so young back then and I took it for granted you would return and that all of us would grow up and older together. I wonder, sometimes, where life would have taken you. You were definitely destined to do great things!

I wish my children had been blessed to know you. When my boys were growing up, I caught glimpses of your face in theirs. I am delighted that all of them have your wonderful zest for life and mischievous and quick sense of humor.

Losing you on the Fourth of July has transformed this holiday into a Holy Day for our family. No matter where we are, we always come together to pray and to recall all the fun stories of our too few years together. It took awhile - but finally there is much more laughter than tears!!

George, your life was way too short, but jammed pack - and you left us a terrific legacy to pass on to our kids! You served our country, and all mankind, well! I am so proud of you. We all continue to miss you - and always will. And we hope that somehow you know how much we love you and how very real and present you remain in all of our lives!

Until we meet again, Little Brother, (and I know we will) I leave you in God's hands!

Love ya,

From his sister,
Darlene Vaughan

Mother Mrs. Jean Pace and sister Mrs. Darlene Pace Vaughan visit the Wall.
Summer 2001

George's high school classmates from the Class of 1963,
St. Vincent de Paul High School, Detroit, Michigan.
Left to right are sisters Eileen, Margaret and Virginia Reilly,
Ernest Medina, and Pat Quinn.

George's mom, Jean Pace, his brothers and sisters
and our ever growing Pace Family members.
5 Sep 2004

my guardian angel

I remember when I was in first grade at Saint Boniface and he would come into the classroom.

I also remember one Thanksgiving parade that he was in riding in the car and I had a chance to ride with him but I was too afraid to run to the car.

I remember that dreadful phone call from Father Brennan that my mom received even though I was only 8 years old.

I remember I was supposed to marry him when I grew up. I remember George Pace, a fine looking young man and I guess my first real crush.

God bless you, George, and thanks for all that you did!!!!

From a friend,
Karen Laichalk

8 Sep 2004

I received your beautiful tribute to George from my sister, Karen Laichalk. I am Kathy (Laichalk) Beringer, Karen's oldest sister. I wanted to write earlier but found words hard to come by. I remember George from St. Boniface and through Father Brennan. I can still picture him at my house one time. Father Brennan would drop by on occasion and this time George was with him. I believe George would have been a senior when I was a freshman at St. Vincent De Paul High School. I thought he was so cute and if I hadn't been such a shy teenager I think I would have flirted with him.

I remember him doing the readings at Mass. Am I right in remembering that he did some homily as well? I remember thinking how well he preached for not yet being a priest. But after so many years I am not sure if that is a true memory or not. I still have the holy card from George's funeral tucked in my jewelry box and every so often I pull it out and say a prayer for him and remember. I remember when times were more carefree and when the times were so unbearably sad.

You and your family have done such a beautiful job at keeping him alive and loved by family and friends. It is a fine testament to him as a son, brother, uncle, and friend. I am sure he has kept a watchful eye on you all and has a direct line to God's ear. God bless and keep you all until we are all together in God's loving arms again.

From a friend,
Kathy (Laichalk) Beringer

17 May 2007

Dear George,

As time goes by, you are never forgotten. Knowing you at Saint Boniface and Saint Vincent parishes was a blessing. The memories are many and what remains with me is a real person who carried a smile, shared it with everyone, offered to help our parishes and schools anytime and anywhere there was a need, was always ready to go the extra mile and above all enjoyed the love of life.

As you continue with your journey in a different state of life, you also continue to remind us of the true meaning of friendship.

Your life has touched the lives of many of your peers at Saint Vincent High School, and whenever I meet any of them we always ask each other the question, "Do you remember George? He was quite a guy and we miss him!"

From there on we start to share so many stories about you and your family. All of us are still standing beside you with an open heart because your memories are alive with us to this day.

I have some movies of you, especially the one where you were washing my Ford which you were going to use for the Saint Vincent Prom. You looked so happy and appreciative.

Then there are those special times when you assisted me in celebrating Mass or sharing your thoughts about the future careers that you were considering. It is amazing that you should experience your death while assisting Mass in the field.

I wish you peace, my friend. I also wish this peace to your friends and especially your family as we remember you as a messenger of good news and a buddy to all.

Thanks for sharing your short but meaningful life with all of us who benefitted by knowing you.

You will never be forgotten.
May God bless you and may you rest in peace because we love you always.

From a friend,
Joe Lughermo

08 May 2007

George A. Pace, an Uncle that I never had the opportunity to meet in person, but invariably, feel like I have known my whole life. His legacy remains steadfast and strong, his honor celebrated and prized, and his name remembered and missed.

From his nephew,
Joseph G. Vaughan

17 May 2007

I met George when I was about 11 years old. (Darlene Pace Vaughan is my sister-in-law.) As a child, I remember everyone loving Georgie (as he was lovingly nicknamed by his family). From a child's perspective, he was to me a very handsome teen, energetic, very kind and loving ... a real gentle kid ... in other words, very cool!

One particular occasion I remember fondly. My brother, Bill, and Darlene arranged for the four of us to go out to dinner together. Although there was about a four year age gap, and despite the fact I was painfully shy and aware of the "older man" sitting next to me, George was wonderfully engaging and made me feel very comfortable and special!

Since his death, I have never forgotten George and his captivating smile. He was an extraordinary young man who lived large, loved greatly and died so that others could live!

George will forever live on in my mind and heart!

Darlene Vaughan Jones
Boston, Massachusetts

10 Jun 2007

George was a son, grandson, brother, uncle, friend, and patriot.

He was a man who brought the same positive energy, the same enthusiasm for life, and the same love of God into all of the above mentioned roles.

George was always in a hurry, both as a young boy and as a young man. I am sure all of us recall that he even spoke fast! In retrospect, we know why. It is as if he knew he had so much love, healing and good to bring to the lives of those he touched and so little time.

We are sure George had dreams and hopes for the future. We are just as sure those hopes and dreams involved bringing laughter, hope, joy, and faith to all he knew. Well George, you did just that! We are eternally indebted for those invaluable gifts you gave us so selflessly.

Through the years, we have shared many "George stories" with our children and now our grandchildren. Time and space have not broken our family bonds. Our love for you has never waned!

The two memories that come to mind frequently occured in the same time frame. George was around twenty years old and did volunteer work in the pediatric ward at Childrens Hospital. He came upon a little 4 year old boy who had one arm amputated and needed to be adopted. George thought we would be good adoptive parents. He came to our home armed with many pictures of this beautiful child, singing his praises and urging us to adopt him. The fact that I was in the midst of a difficult pregnancy made it an impossibility. George appreciated our situation, but did give it his all in his presentation. We're sure you are still looking after that beautiful boy (who is now a man) from your present vantage point in heaven.

On a lighter note, we recall the time George rang our doorbell. Upon answering it we found a large school bus parked in our narrow driveway, and George with around twenty kids in tow. He had planned a field trip and they were rained out. We all enjoyed an impromptu picnic in our basement. Our pool table had never seen so much action before or since. We all had a great time!

George was wise as a young man. He knew what was true and real in life. He gave so much with such joy.

We are sure the heavens have never been the same since they welcomed George forty years ago. What enthusiasm, what energy, what fun!!

We are grateful to God for sharing you with us. The pain of losing you was worth the blessings of loving you!

God Bless!

From your brother and sister-in-law,
Gary and Rita Pace

11 Jun 2007

George Pace and the life he chose to live continues to incite laughter and bring people together. Time has shown that an unforgettable spirit was revealed in the combination of his sincere, gentle kindness, quick, devilish sense of humor, his genuine compassion for children and his dedication to people.

Our family has always celebrated George's life. Our parents and Aunts and Uncles have always shared the stories of their lives together, and the unique, funny and giving things that Uncle George did. When great moments in our lives happen we think of him. When we have been frightened or faced real challenge we have spoken with him. When we need a prank to pull on a friend we have plenty of material from his catalog too. Now that I think of it I bet that cat's do not miss Uncle George or his brothers. He is an angel now, but I have heard he had his moments.

There is no greater reflection of George than through his Mother. Grandma has always, always loved sharing his stories with us. Her stories help us understand our own history. One of my favorite things to know about him was his dedication to children, especially children with health issues. How many young men take their own time to regularly visit children at hospitals, sharing his warmth, sharing their fear, sharing his faith and sharing their hope?

This July 4th will be the 40th anniversary of his death. It will be the 39th year in a row that our family and friends get together to celebrate the life of Uncle George. We celebrate a life that 40 years after his death still makes us laugh and still brings his family and friends together. How fortunate we are.

We love you, Uncle George.

From a nephew,
Gary Pace

12 Jun 2007

I have waited these 40 years to say anything about George. Each year I try but before I can finish I can't see the screen for the tears that are running down my face. George and I had many wonderful times together. I remember going behind Tiger Stadium and shagging each other behind an old car I had ("shagging" was pulling each other in the snow, holding on to the bumper).

George and I and Joe Lughermo took a trip to Washington D.C and New York after our senior year, and had a great time. Radio City, United Nations Bldg, Jack Kennedy's grave and so much more. But that will always be between George, Jack and Joe.

George stopped over to see Candy and I after our first son Michael was born, George was holding Michael and Mike like all little people burped up on George. I still have that on 8 MM movies. George took it all in stride.

George was one of the closest and best friends I ever had.

Joe Lughermo mentioned the prom, George and I put our heads together and wanted to be different, so we both wore a black rose bud as a boutonniere, which realy stood out against our white Tuxedos.

George will always be in my thoughts, in my heart and in my prayers.

Not that George needs the prayers, in fact I pray TO HIM.

Your Pal,
Jack Muscat

15 Jun 2007

I will always remember George as the kindest person. He was in Vietnam when I was in high school - I wrote to him regularly about every-day things - what I was doing, and whatever dance or party was coming up. I used to make up stories and draw pictures for him like a comic strip, to make him laugh.

After he died, his mom let me know he had every letter I wrote him during those years. She had them bundled together, and later on they were sent to me. I read them all one day and cried and laughed all at the same time.

I'll never forget the way he always made me feel grown up, and that he found what I shared with him as important - even if it was just a teenage girl's thoughts.

Deborah Matte

20 Jun 2007

Dear George,

Thought I'd drop you a few lines like I used to - over forty years ago.

So much has happened since that time and the one niece and three nephews you had then have grown up, married and have raised wonderful families. You now have 17 nieces and nephews and they have twenty nine children between them. Number 30 is due in August. They are all so cute - you would have so much fun with them. I go to all the little ones' birthday parties - they call me "Grandma Great". What a wonderful name.

So often I wonder what you would have done after you came home. Fr. Joe Ryan kept telling me you would return to the seminary and become a priest. Dr. John Hagen said he thought you might become a doctor because of the way you helped to care for the injured soldiers in Vietnam. It didn't matter to me - I just wanted you to come home! How I looked forward to that day - but it never came.

On July 7th, 1967 we got the news of your death. I was at work and still remember it well. Without any explanation, I was sent to the office of Mr. Hudson. I wondered what I had done wrong to be taken to the office of the president of J. L. Hudson.

As soon as I walked into the room, I saw two Marines and Fr. Brennan! I knew right away what had happened. I said, "It's George"! More a question than a statement. They all walked toward me, trying to figure out how to give me the worst news a mother could hear!

Suddenly, I thought of your Dad. He was at work too. Did he know? I got home before him. Feeling ill, I went into the bathroom. I was still there when Dad came into the house and saw the two Marines and Fr. Brennan. Of course, he knew immediately!! That was the darkest day of our lives! We didn't know how we could live through it.

Chaplain Fr. Joe Ryan sent us a tape which explained all that had happened on that infamous July 4th. It was so hard for him to do - and it was to hard for us to hear! How could we go on? God had blessed us with eight children and we had already lost three of them as infants. As you know, Dad has since passed on - and two of your brothers as well. I am with Dar and Bill now and just celebrated my 89th birthday. Just another page on the calendar to me, but everyone made a big fuss! It pleases me that we are such a close and loving family!

I can't believe you have been gone all these years, but that's because you are always with us. My eyesight is going, but I still can see your beautiful smiling face. You always looked like you had a friendly trick to play on someone! That's why we miss you so much. You were fun!

Do you remember the night you excommunicated the crowd of people crossing Michigan Avenue in downtown Detroit? You had just seen the movie "Becket" with your sister. The Volkswagen had stopped at a light and in a flash you popped your head through the moon roof and began to excommunicate all the people standing at the curb. Many had seen the same movie and knew exactly what you were doing. They laughed and applauded you. (Like you needed any encouragement!)

Well, my dear, guess I'll close for today. Got to leave some news for tomorrow. You always hear from me daily in my thoughts and prayers.

God bless you, Honey. We all miss you so much!


Jean Pace

20 Jun 2007

My Name is Nicholas McMullen and I am 13 years old. Marine Corporal George A. Pace is not only my great uncle, but my hero as well! I've known about him all of my life and he is so very real to me.

When I think of the Fourth of July, I don't think of it in the same way my friends do. They may go on picnics and celebrate by watching fireworks. For them, that is the true meaning. Not so for me and my family. We think of it as a day of remembrance of what took place in the Vietnam War and all the great soldiers who gave up their lives for this wonderful country we call America!

A few years ago, my grandparents, Bill and Darlene Vaughan, took my sister and I to see the Vietnam Wall in Washington, D.C. It was a trip I will never forget! So many panels, so many names. Except for my Uncle George, faceless names - but all of them heroes!

I am so very proud my Uncle George served in the Vietnam War just so our family and other fellow Americans can sleep at night knowing that we are still free, independent and the safest country in the world.

In conclusion, all I have to say is, "Thank You, Uncle George. God Bless You, God Bless America and God Bless our Troops!"

From his grand-nephew,
Nicholas McMullen
E-mail address is not available.

22 Jun 2007

I am a niece of George Pace. I wanted to write this tribute to a man who is very much a presence in our lives. As long as I can remember, stories of Uncle George have circulated around our home. We have smiled, laughed and shed a tear over the years. I have often thought about him as an inspiration in my life. Even though I was never able to meet him, I was not born when he passed away, I have always looked up to his dedication and bravery.

I believe the thing that impacted me the most was how his memory never waivered and his parents and siblings remained committed to make that happen. What a testament to an individual. I equally look up to my grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles for giving that to us kids, and now our children.

We look forward to the celebration of life on the fourth of July. It is a fun occasion for my family. It also teaches my kids about honor and courage. We can not say enough how lucky we are to have people serving our country and fighting for our freedom. It is truly an honor to be in a family that holds these beliefs close to our hearts.

Thank you to an uncle who is loved and cherished not only as a hero, but mostly for just existing and touching our lives in his short time on earth.

The Murphy Family,
Doug, Nicole (Pace), Kailey, Allyson and Ryan

23 Jun 2007

Our family lost my uncle, George Pace, four years before I was born. To the great credit of my grandparents, parents, aunts, and uncles, I have been fortunate to laugh with and learn from my uncle through countless shared memories. Because of the person he was and my family's faith, his spirit has remained very much alive all these years.

Some of my fondest childhood memories are of those spent celebrating Uncle George's life. There has never been a time in my life that I have not felt Uncle George's presence and love. My prayer is that he has felt our love too.

From his niece,
Monique Chandler
E-mail address is not available.

29 Jun 2007

Our Prayers are with all of the family on this the 40th anniversary of George's death. We have reflected many times, however, on his life and the joy he must have been to his parents, sister and brothers as well as the entire family. Our vivid last memory is of seeing George at Gary and Rita's home on Fenton. We can still see his intense eyes sparkling and his broad smile, so friendly and full of enthusiasm for the coming service of his country. We prayed he would be safe and bid him farewell. He did not want to make a "big deal" out of serving - but to us it was a big deal and he was too.

We have many memories of Jean Pace and her strong love for all her family. She is an example to all who have lost children and loved ones. We are thankful to have known George and ALL the Pace family and most of all thankful in their example of how to happily remember our "passed" family members.

From family friends,
Vincent and Yvonne Muscat and all our families
Walter and Gertrude Grysko and all their families
E-mail address is not available.

30 Jun 2007

My Uncle George was killed in Vietnam shortly before I was born, but I have been told about him and his charming personality by my parents, grandma, aunts, uncles and friends. Through their stories and pictures the memory of Uncle George, and in a way he himself, lives on. Our family celebrates his life when we get together, but most especially on the 4th of July, the anniversary of his death. Through this day of family celebrating our blessings and memories, the children that would be his great nephews and nieces also carry his memory with them.

One of my favorite stories was told to me by my Grandmother, Jean Pace (George's Mother). Uncle George would find it great fun to stuff clothes with the dirty laundry and a football helmet as the head. He took special pride in doing things like putting ketchup on the dummy with a knife conveniently lying nearby to scare my Grandma when she was collecting the dirty laundry. One day my Grandma saw the dummy lying in an upstairs room (no "blood" or knife) and was yelling for Uncle George to come get the dirty laundry out of the dummy. After yelling a couple of times, right when she was near the dummy, it all of a sudden got up and started walking towards her! Of course, at first she was terrified and startled, but it didn't take her long to figure out that Uncle George was in the uniform. Although it took a few minutes, she did eventually find this stunt hysterical and as she retells the story to this day, it still makes her laugh (and it is a beautiful contagious laugh).

From many of the stories and things I have been told, I think my Uncle George had a wonderful sense of humor, a big heart and loved life. We are all blessed to have had him in our family and he continues to be in our family and in our hearts 40 years after his death.

From his niece,
D'Ann Schneider

02 Jul 2007

I was fortunate to know George for just a few years. As time has passed, we have all found ways to celebrate our fondest memories of him. It's as though our loved ones never really part because they live eternally inside our heart ... and this is the way it has been these last 40 years with George.

With every loving thought,
Mary Lou Vaughan Benson

03 Jul 2007

Every Fourth of July is "George's Day" in my book. I think of him many times during the year as well, but on this day he is in the forefront of my memories. It has been this way for 40 years. I will never forget someone who has given so much for his country - I never will. With Father Ryan now gone, I guess I am the only one left to remember that fateful day. I was the surgeon the day George was wounded and I will never forget the Marines who were standing in a long line to give George their blood. It was a long and difficult surgery. When it was over, George woke up and asked me what had happened. I told him and he thanked me. He always thought of the other person and never of himself. He died later that night from his massive cardiac injuries. It was a sad time for us all.

He was always visiting the hospital to check up on the wounded Marines. He was always in a good humor and loved to talk and joke with the men. He organized a "Social Club" so the Marines would have a place to meet and play cards. Everyone loved him and his many ways to make you laugh.

George was an outstanding Marine and a credit to his family. All should be proud of his service and dedication to his country. He is in good hands now, I'm sure, with many of his fellow Marines beside him.

Semper Fi

Donald J. Hagan
Capt (Medical Corps) USNR Ret.
(George's Friend and Surgeon)
(Dang Ha Vietnam 7/4/67)
8205 Nw Hwy 225, Ocala, Florida 34482

15 Aug 2007

Thanks again, for your help. I know you're in heaven looking out for fools like me. Thanks.

Captain Bernie Kenney
E-mail address is not available.

2ND BN, 9TH MARINES 2ND BN, 9TH MARINES George Alexander Pace,
Corporal, USMC,
is remembered by the men he served with in the
2nd Battalion, 9th Marines

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 29 Oct 1999
Last updated 08/10/2009