Lt. Clifford Pace, US Navy (ret) passed away on June 26, 2020. With his passing only one member of his WWII Naval fighter squadron, VC 79, remains.
Clifford was born in Hamilton, Ohio and at a very young age developed a love of flying. This love for flying was fostered by many training flights at Hogan Field in Hamilton. When the opportunity arose Clifford joined the Navy to become a fighter pilot. He was assigned to the South Pacific arena of combat during WWII, and flew off the USS Sargent Bay. While on this combat assignment he flew the Grumman F6F Hellcat. Though his flying career would ultimately allow him the opportunity to fly almost a 100 different aircraft, including jet fighters, he would always say that the Grumman F6F Hellcat was his all-time favorite aircraft.
While still on active duty he married his childhood sweetheart Ogalie Sims. They would remain married for 76 years and raised three children: Steven, Sandra, and Sharon.
While in the Naval Reserves he was able to attend Spartan College of Aeronautics, in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He received his degree in Aeronautical Engineering, before moving back to Hamilton, Ohio, to pursue a career in Engineering.
Upon arriving in Hamilton, Clifford and Ogalie set about running a 127 acre farm, raising beef cattle. Clifford’s parents helped in this enterprise, which lasted almost 11 years. Yet, even with all the work associated with this farming enterprise Clifford continued his engineering career.
His engineering career was a diverse and unique series of opportunities. He would become involved in a number of research and development (R&D) projects which resulted in his being awarded two patents for his work, When he moved to Pennsylvania to continue his R&D work in engineering, he would obtain a Professional Engineering license from the State of Pennsylvania. Also, while in Pennsylvania, he and his wife Ogalie were among the founders of the St. Timothy Lutheran Church in Aston, Pa.
His engineering career allowed him and Ogalie to travel to Europe, the Middle East, and other locals where he would use these opportunities to pursue his hobby of scuba diving.
Upon retiring from engineering, his passion for flying remained and he built a Titan Aircraft power glider, that he flew out of Crystal River Airport, Florida. His love of flying and love for his Naval career never diminished. Throughout his life he would recount flying in the South Pacific off his carrier, night landings on the carrier, becoming a night fighter using radar to vector in on targets, and discussing the characteristics of all the aircraft he had flown.
While still physically able, Clifford enjoyed being a part of the Wings of Gold in The Villages, Florida.
Lt. Clifford Pace truly loved his naval career, he spoke of how honored he was to have served his country, and honored to have flown with the pilots of his squadron (VC 79) in the South Pacific.
Lt. Clifford Pace, last flight out June 26, 2020, wheels up 1214 hours. God speed and God Bless.
A private funeral ceremony will be held in his honor.