Life Story for
Denny was born January 9th 1920 to Presley Denny Pace and Agnes Judd Pace; he was the sixth of twelve children. He was raised from an infant to around five years of age on the family homestead at Springdale, Idaho. The family moved to the nearby town of Burley where Denny attended grammar school. He spent his youth exploring the Snake River area by foot and on horseback, fishing, sailing, and playing lots of sports. At Burley High he was captain of the football team and a 3 year letterman. Higher education was attained at Albion State Normal and college breaks were spent working at Sun Valley for Union Pacific Railroad, as a busboy and later a waiter. During that time at a get acquainted Ball; he met a "pretty little auburn haired girl" named Wilma Winder, and the courtship soon followed. With WWII on the horizon, he signed up for the Army Air Corps Cadet Training program graduating with wings and bars as a 2nd Lieutenant. He invited Wilma down to California for graduation and they were married in San Mateo, Ca.
Denny flew a twin engine Lockheed P-38 Lighting out of North Africa in WWII for 50 missions over Sicily and Italy, becoming a true hero to family and friends. Returning stateside he flew most of the planes the Air Force had in its inventory, running acceleration tests on the first fighter jets, and becoming part of the first jet squadron. As the story goes, Denny piloted the first jet over Idaho, and surrounding states. Returning home to Idaho with a hero's welcome, he went back to work for Sun Valley. Denny stayed active in the reserves as he built a log home on Garnet street south of Ketchum for Wilma and their children Patti, Pam, and John. The military soon called him back with the return of war in Korea, training Pilots in combat. He later volunteered and was sent to Vietnam, as a wing commander. In Vietnam he flew multi engine C-123 Cargo planes dropping flares at night for the fighters, and hauling cargo for the troops. Peacetime assignments included multiple tours to Europe, Iceland, South East Asia and both coasts of the United States. Towards the end of his career he was honored with and assigned as Base Commander to the Air Field at Zaragoza, Spain. During his military service Denny was awarded 16 air medals, the Legion of Merit, Two Distinguished Flying Crosses, and a Medal from Generalissimo Franco of Spain. Denny retired from an honorable and successful 30 year military pilot career in the United States Air Force as a Colonel in 1970.
Denny returned to the log cabin he had built in the late 1940's. At first Denny spent his time remodeling his house and working for a friend in his catering business. He loved to ski Sun Valley and hike the Idaho back country, and soon discovered white water rafting. What followed for River Captain Pace were many trips down the Middle Fork of the Salmon and Rogue rivers with friends and family. He also attended most First Fighter Group reunions and was highly involved with local American Legion Post 115, being appointed Post Commander for many terms. He also served as a board member of the Ketchum Cemetery District.
The last and what may be the most enjoyable part of his life was spent with his present wife Aubrey. Aubrey was the love of his life, and he was very thankful to be with her. For the past 27 years, they shared the golden years together. Traveling in the RV, or car, boat, train, plane they explored parts of North America, Europe, Africa, South America, Australia, and too many other Islands and locales to name. They lived north of Ketchum in Aubrey's home, and through the years they worked together adding on to, and doing upkeep to the house and surrounding gardens.
Denny is survived by his wife Aubrey, children Patti (Dean) Anderson, Pam (Steve) Rayborn, & John (Valdi) Pace; Step children Keith Leslie, & Jennifer (Paul) Craig. Grandchildren Angie Rayborn (Joe Miczulski), Stacie (Dale) Bickel, Brooke (Mike) McKenna, Lanette Anderson (Jason), Tawny (Peter) Sterios; Step grandchildren John & Nick Leslie, John, Daniel, & Brian Craig. Great grandchildren, Jake & Zack Miczulski, Bodie Bickel, Athena Sterios, Jack & Sam McKenna. His surviving siblings are Faye (late Frank) Miller, Margaret (late Chuck) Higgins, and George (Diane) Pace, as well as numerous special nephews and nieces. Denny had a special relationship with his nephew Forrest (Cheryl) Hymas. Denny was preceded in death by his parents, his first wife Wilma, four sisters, and four brothers.
Donations can be made to a charity of your choice.