After receiving the High School Woman of the Year award from St. Mary’s in Akron, Ohio, Pace received a four-year Knight College Scholarship and the Monsignor O’Keefe Scholarship to attend Marygrove College. While a Marygrove student Pace was elected to the Iota Gamma Honorary Society.
After graduation from Marygrove in 1952, Pace returned home to assist her parents financially and in other ways. She took a job at Goodyear Aircraft in Akron, Ohio. After three months of training in a class of 10 women, she was hired as a draftsman and was one of the few women to work in the aerospace division of the Goodyear Aircraft Company. After a successful year in this area she transferred to cartography, planning, and scheduling.
“My experiences at Marygrove opened doors that I never thought were possible. I became more self-assured and more assertive,” she said. “Without that education I would not have had the latitude that I had in industry, education, and my personal life.”
In 1957 she left Goodyear to work on her teaching certificate and taught two years at Ss. Peter and Paul Elementary School in Doylestown, Ohio. Heeding the call for inner-city teachers, Pace transferred two years later to Goodyear Junior High in Akron, Ohio, where she taught for six years. After her marriage in 1965, she accepted a position as a K-6 art instructor in the Parma Public School District.
“She knew how to draw out the latent talent of children and introduced them to the beauty, goodness, and joy of true art,” said Dr. Josephine M. Sferrella, IHM, who nominated Pace.
Though Pace’s career in art education came to an end with the birth of her children, her commitment to art and giving did not. In addition to chaperoning, chauffeuring, and volunteering for school functions for her own family, Pace also worked for the good of other families in her community. Her strong faith led her to ask the Diocesan spokesperson for religious education to reevaluate a stagnant confirmation program in her own parish.
In 1973, Pace became an active member of the Christ Child Society in Cleveland, Ohio, volunteering her time to make layettes and tend a resale shop for the poor. With a good friend she initiated a volunteer service program, enlisting children to serve the elderly residents of a senior citizen home. Each week she checks on several elderly friends, often taking them meals and treats.
“My friends tell me that sometimes I am too generous, but God has blessed me with so much-a good husband, children, a lovely home, and a multitude of friends and relatives, so I have a desire to share things with others,” said Pace.
Pace values education and life-long learning and became a member of the Stan Hywet Guild in 1984. She shares her artwork with family and friends, and continues to work in various media. She also enjoys quilting, weaving, needlework, and sewing. In keeping with the times she has become competent in computer-generated art and photography, and she is also working on a family genealogy.
“The family is the backbone of human life in any civilization. It is the citadel of love, respect, and peace. Gilda Pace lives the ideals of Marygrove as a wife and mother, family member and friend,” according to Sferrella.
“My mom always told me that whatever you do it will come back to you. There is always a great feeling when I have done something good for someone else,” Pace said. “Give the best that you have to give,” she continued. “And then give some more.”
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