Alice and Daniel Pace laugh as they recall how they met.
“We met in a mud hole,” Alice says. She explains that Daniel’s car was stuck on a dirt road in the mud after a rain. Alice and her sister went down to help him get out.
It was love at first sight between the Alton natives as they met in March and were married that July. Their marriage has lasted for 63 years, seen four children, six grandchildren, six great-grandchildren and three great-great-grandchildren.
“With one more great-great-grandchild on the way,” Alice says, smiling.
Alice and Daniel, respectively age 80 and 82, recall a lifetime of shared experiences which include Daniel’s military service, raising children, working active careers and pursuing creative and charity efforts in retirement.
Daniel enlisted in the Army and served in Korea. He was involved in Operation Glory, which brought back the bodies of American servicemen from North Korea. He remembers one tense situation while meeting with North Korean officers when North Korean troops around him readied their machine guns on the verge of a firefight.
“Fortunately, things cooled down and there was no shooting,” he says.
Daniel worked a number of jobs around Alton after his military discharge and eventually hired on with the city of Alton in 1963. After working in numerous departments, he was appointed supervisor of public works in 1972. He worked in that position until 1986.
Alice recalls the house they live in north of Alton Square Mall was out in the country when they moved there.
“We moved here to have room to raise our family,” she says. “The mall was not here then. It was all rural at the time.”
Daniel worked in construction inspection and engineering after leaving the city of Alton. Alice worked for 10 years in retail. She also served as president of the school PTA organization and Mother’s Club and served as secretary at her church.
In their retirement, the Paces have pursued many interests and activities. Most notably, they performed as the duo Sweet Thing and Grumpy. Alice sang Patsy Cline songs while Daniel accompanied her on the guitar.
The act started at their church, but they went on to perform regularly at nursing homes, senior citizen centers and other venues. They performed annually at Beverly Farm in Godfrey, where they say the residents eagerly looked forward to the show.
The Paces also took up ballroom dancing in their retirement, doing dance demonstrations for senior organizations. Additionally, they were active in programs for Oasis Women’s Center and Senior Services Plus in Alton. Daniel is a member of the veterans group at Senior Services Plus and they both note the tremendous work that organization does for senior citizens.
Some couples engage in stimulating activities at every turn in their lives. Alice and Daniel Pace have found their journey together has always held something interesting and engaging. And that feeling they had when they first met holds fast over six decades later. As they pose together for a picture, Alice leans against Daniel and remarks, “I love this guy.”