Hazel Marie Pace
Hazel Marie Pace, 94, died Aug. 1, 2018, peacefully in her home at Plantation Place Assisted Living in Boise, Idaho. She had been in failing health since fracturing a vertebra a month earlier. Since 2006 she had made Boise her home, following the death of her beloved husband, Robert Maurice Pace, and their life together for 60 years in Bonners Ferry, Idaho.
Hazel, a registered nurse, completed her working career as director of nursing for the Bonners Ferry Hospital and nursing center. Her long association with health care, religious and community organizations in Bonners Ferry leaves a lasting legacy. “Bloom where you’re planted,” she said, and she did. Her Boise friends and her spiritual family at St. Michael’s Episcopal Cathedral learned much from her determination to not let blindness and deafness rob her of joy. She expressed her faith in her productive work of raising a family, helping those less fortunate, loving and being loved, all her life.
Born Hazel Marie Jacob on Sept. 5, 1923, in Helena, Mont., she was the second child of Loyd and Freda Jacob. She grew up in Anaconda, Mont., attending schools there and graduating from high school, then on to nursing school in Great Falls, Mont. She volunteered to be commissioned as a lieutenant in the U.S. Army nursing corps.
She was stationed at Dibble Hospital, a 5,000-bed veterans’ hospital in Menlo Park, Calif. In late 1945, she met Bob Pace in the hospital officers’ club. Bob was a recently liberated prisoner of war, having been shot down in his P-47 during the Battle of the Bulge in December of 1944. Bob’s extensive burns required many separate operations, which brought him to Dibble. Both Hazel and Bob had Montana roots, both shared the Episcopalian faith, and both knew a good thing when they saw it. They were married after a five week romance.
The newlyweds returned to Bob’s hometown of Bonners Ferry after Bob finished his degree at the University of Idaho in Moscow. They began a love affair with each other and their community. They entertained often, both at home and at their Robinson Lake cabin near Eastport. Hazel enjoyed engaging in the St. Mary’s Church, PEO Chapter AP, Girl Scouts and other clubs, serving as president of many, eventually. She received her 70-year PEO pin at the state convention just this year.
As mother to two sons and one daughter, she became a second mother to almost all her children’s friends also. The Pace household was a place of security and happiness filled with ski trips, baseball games, summers with relatives and hordes of kids at the lake. Hazel put up with it all gracefully.
Hazel was preceded in death by her father Loyd Theron Jacob in 1974, age 83; her mother Freda Davis Jacob in 1993, age 98; and her husband Robert Maurice Pace on Dec. 6, 2005, age 84.
She is survived by her sisters Annamerle Vandiver of Puyallup, Wash., age 97; Bette Neff of Sun Lakes, Ariz., age 93; and her brother Loyd Theron Jacob of Airway Heights WA, age 89. She is also survived by three children: Robert David Pace, Bonners Ferry, age 70; Willa Kay McLaughlin, Ketchum ID, age 67; and James Theron Pace, McCall ID, age 61; six grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
A memorial service will be 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 22, at Trinity Lutheran Church in Bonners Ferry. The family suggests, in lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to pastoral outreach at St. Michael’s Cathedral in Boise in honor of Hazel or a donation to St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Bonners Ferry.