August 15, 2013

‘A walking history book’

Pace honored for his contributions to Dalton

Rachel Brown

— When Mark Pace started his second career at North Georgia Electric Membership Corp. after retiring as a newspaper man, the former two-finger typist “took to a computer like a kid,” said company president and CEO Kathryn West.

West said Pace, the 37-year editor emeritus of The Daily Citizen, told his boss at the time that he needed a faster computer — and soon.

“‘Man, at my age, you don’t know how much time you’ve got,’” West recalled Pace saying.

Pace accepted an honorary membership to the League of Women Voters on Tuesday at the organization’s monthly luncheon at Western Sizzlin. League members recognized him with a plaque and many stories of appreciation for the work he’s done over the years.

League co-president Mary Lynn Burton told those gathered to recognize him that Pace had received so many honors in his 99 years they’d all be there until supper if she tried to list each one.

In addition to his work at The Daily Citizen, which netted many local, state and national awards, and his work at North Georgia Electric where he wrote several books about the history of the co-op and its work during the Blizzard of ‘93, Pace has also been honored by the Whitfield-Murray Historical Society, the city of Dalton and many other organizations.

“He’s a walking history book, and if you ask him a question, he still remembers,” Burton said.

Pace said his work in newspapers allowed him to see “life at its best” and “life at its worst.” OK

Yet in addition to covering murders and other crimes, Pace is also remembered for reporting the good in the community. Speakers recalled how he attended Dalton High School athletic events to support the students there and the way he took time with children and young adults to teach them about working in newspapers.

Margaret Ball said her grandson, Jamie, was influenced by Pace when he gave him a tour of the business as a child. Jamie Ball eventually went to journalism school and later interviewed Barack Obama during his first campaign for presidency. Jamie Ball is preparing to teach mass media at the University of California, Margaret Ball said, and he’s an assistant editor at a Nevada newspaper.

“(Mark Pace) was not only an editor and a teacher, but he influenced on young people to this type of work,” Margaret Ball said.

Pace lightly joked with League members and thanked them for the recognition. The organization also sent him home with a plant, which past president Jackie Renfroe said was symbolic of the way he had “colored all of our lives.”