Elder Glenn L. Pace Eulogized for Spiritual Insight, Life of Service
Contributed By R. Scott Lloyd, Church News staff writer
In eulogizing Elder Glenn L. Pace at a funeral service May 20, Elder M. Russell Ballard recalled a miracle that occurred when the two were on assignment in drought-stricken Ethiopia in 1985.
Elder Pace was not yet a General Authority then but was managing the Church’s Welfare Services.
“We walked in that far-off land as two high priests bearing the holy Melchizedek Priesthood,” said Elder Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. “We knew that there was one other who was there [who held the priesthood], and we sought him out.”
The man was Harry Hadlock, the only Church member of record living in Ethiopia. The three men held a sacrament meeting in Brother Hadlock’s apartment.
“It was a tender moment as you can understand, particularly for him, as we blessed the sacrament and passed it to each other. Tears were streaming down Brother Hadlock’s cheeks the whole time.”
At the conclusion of the meeting, Elder Ballard pronounced a blessing on the land of Ethiopia and, in words that frightened him as he contemplated them later, commanded by priesthood authority and in the name of Jesus Christ that the elements would change and rain would come to the land.
“That was a very hot morning, not a cloud in the sky,” he related. “And yet, later in the afternoon, the thunder clapped and the rains came.”
As Elder Pace related later in a book he authored, they looked out the hotel window and saw the people rejoicing, splashing in the rain, trying to capture it in their hands or in cups. It rained for five or six days, every day they were there.
“When we separated and he stayed for a few days and I went on to Kenya and down into Ghana and Nigeria, we were changed,” Elder Ballard said.
“I looked into his eyes, and I said, ‘Glenn, prepare yourself. There is more for you to do than just managing welfare.’”
Two months later in general conference, he was sustained as a counselor in the Presiding Bishopric to Bishop Robert D. Hales, who is now a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Later, Elder Pace would serve in the First Quorum of the Seventy for a combined 35 years as a General Authority before receiving emeritus status in 2010.
Having endured heart problems for 14 years, Elder Pace died May 16 in Bountiful, Utah, at age 77. His funeral was held at the meetinghouse of the Bountiful 13th Ward, of which he was a member.
“I very humbly ask our Heavenly Father to bless all of us that we will always appreciate the tender, special, spiritual insight of Glenn Pace,” Elder Ballard said.
The Apostle read a letter, signed by the First Presidency, written to Elder Pace’s widow, Sister Jolene Pace, that reads in part: “We rejoice with you in his life of devoted service. Elder Pace blessed many lives as he compassionately ministered to those under his watchful care. His devotion as a husband, father, grandfather, and servant of the Lord influenced the lives of loved ones and all with whom he came in contact. …
“We appreciate Elder Pace’s dedicated service in the Church, particularly his many years of service in the Welfare Services Department, as president of the Australia Sydney North Mission, counselor in the Presiding Bishopric, and the numerous assignments he willingly fulfilled as a General Authority.”
Many members of Elder Pace’s large family spoke or performed music at the service.
In a tribute, Coleen Farrer, a sister, said that when her children were married in the temple, they would ask her brother to perform their ceremonies. In his humorous way, he would at first embarrass the prospective spouses, then win them over with his love.
Six of the Paces’ 35 grandchildren each gave a very brief tribute, representing his or her respective family among Elder and Sister Pace’s posterity.
Jo’ell Lindquist, a daughter, quoted her father as saying to ward members last Christmas Day, from that same chapel pulpit, that he had found the Savior “in the eyes and in the hearts of the people I serve. My life’s greatest joy is when I can feel the Savior’s love flow through me and into someone else.”
Brandon Pace, a son, said, “Dad built a legacy of family who loved each other and loved to spend time together.”
He added that last Sunday and Monday, the Pace family gathered around Elder Pace’s bedside, either in person or by electronic device. He told each something unique. He said to Brandon, “You told me as a young boy you would never move away, and here you are having stayed nearby. I love you.”
Darin Pace, a son, shared an incident in which Elder Pace found himself talking to his own deceased father, asking why he couldn’t have stayed a little longer so they could have gone salmon fishing in Alaska or attended Jazz basketball games together. The father’s voice came into his mind, saying, “Oh, son, you should see what I’m seeing! I can’t wait to show you a few things.”
Korey Pace, a son, recalled the occasion when the family was departing for Church and saw a neighbor family washing their boat and having a good time. He asked his father why the Pace family had to go to church while the neighbors would have fun boating. He replied, “Oh, son, they’re not really happy.”
As then-Bishop Pace recounted the incident in an October 1987 general conference talk, he said it became a family joke, such as when they would see a teenager driving an expensive sports car and he would exclaim to his sons, “Now there’s one miserable guy.”
Korey said he discovered through his life that his father was right in that one can enjoy oneself even while living a life centered on the Savior, Jesus Christ. He said he also found from his father’s example that he can find deeper and longer-lasting joy in truly loving God with all one’s heart.
Daughter Rikki Riggs said a beautiful blessing the family has enjoyed is that their father was a sealer in the temple and could perform the sealing of all six of the Pace children and extended family members. “These temple ceremonies were celebrations … of forever families.”
She added, “Dad knows that the temple is a place where we can connect with our loved ones in the spirit world.”
She shared a text her daughter Leslie sent to Elder Pace as he lay in the hospital. She wrote: “Grandpa, I have always imagined that you would perform my sealing. I’m beginning to feel worried in realizing that might not be a possibility. But tonight, something powerful has hit me, and I know that you will be in that room when I am married, whether it’s in body or spirit. The Spirit has witnessed this to me, and because of that I am full of joy and gratitude.”
Kyle Pace, a son, said he was a missionary serving in the Cook Islands when his father was called into the Presiding Bishopric, and Kyle did not hear about it for a month. When he finally heard the news, he thought it was a mistake, because his father had always been fun, “an ordinary guy.”
“But after a few days, I got to thinking about it and decided that in my eyes, Dad was the best husband, the best father anybody could ever be. Who better to serve as a General Authority?”
Bishop Mark D. Mason, who conducted the funeral service, said, “I know what Elder Pace would say, having spent 10 years getting to know him. He would say, ‘Thank you for all of your wonderful thoughts, but it isn’t me. I’m like the moon that reflects the light of the sun. That’s what I’ve always been about. That’s why all of you are here today. It isn’t about me; it’s about Him. It’s about the Son of God.’”