The Bar News

Ole Bly Pace III 1939-2020

Ole Bly Pace III passed away beautifully and peacefully Tuesday, June 2, 2020 surrounded by his loving wife, daughters and caregiver. He was a grateful man and considered each day on this earth a blessing.

Ole’s life began in Bloomington, IL on April 6, 1939 as the eldest of three children. Ole was raised in Lacon, Illinois though he spent his early years living in various cities around the country as his father served in the Navy during World War II. A gifted student, Ole began his college career at the age of 16 when he left for Dartmouth University carrying a trunk of clothing and a cross-country train ticket. After two years, he joined the Army to gain greater maturity and life experience, and to serve his country. He earned the rank of Captain and then returned to the Midwest and received his undergraduate degree from Illinois Wesleyan University. At Wesleyan, Ole met the love of his life, Sheryl Sue Snow. They were married on August 19, 1962 following their graduation from college.

Ole received his J.D. in 1966 at The University of Illinois Law School. There he was elected to the Order of Coif- a national honor society for outstanding legal academic achievement. He was also the Editor of the Law Review. He chose to practice law and settle down in Sterling, Illinois. His career as a state and federal civil litigator spanned decades at Ward Murray Pace & Johnson (WMP&J). He was four-time Chairman of the prestigious Allerton House Conference on Improving the System of Justice and the 1989 winner of the Board of Governors Award. He served as Special Assistant Attorney General for two Illinois Attorney Generals and was law clerk to a highly regarded Appellate Court Justice. Ole admired and valued his partners, friends and colleagues and respected his adversaries. A highlight of his career was the Presidency of the Illinois State Bar Association. He was honored by the title and humbled by the responsibility. Ole had a desire to leave the world a better place which is evident in the many volunteer organizations he served and led- both in Sterling and beyond. He was an active and committed leader and the variety of his service shows the depth of his passions in faith, politics, mental health, law, education and community.

His and Sheryl’s marriage was a love story for the ages. He valued family above all else in this world. Their 3 children and 7 grandchildren were loved unconditionally, challenged, supported and celebrated. Through his actions and life choices he taught them to love and respect- God, family, nature, community, country and education. Seeing his children and grandchildren grow up and navigate life choices gave him boundless pride and joy.

Ole is survived by his beloved wife Sheryl, his daughter Paige (Pete) Temple of Geneva, IL; daughter Lezley Pace Harmon of Downers Grove, IL; son Jason (Mary Charles) of Nashville, NC; and daughter-in-law Kim (Pace) Taylor of Nashville, NC. His seven grandchildren; Mady and Pace Temple, Brennan, Logan and Riley Harmon, Rhiannon and Raven Pace. His sister Ann and brother in law John Sutton of Jacksonville, FL, sister-in-law Patricia Snow of Springfield, Sister-in-law Linda Pace Collins (Kevin) of Sebastian, FL, Sister-in-law MaryJo (Bernard) Manatee of Lake City FL and cherished cousins, nieces, nephews and grand dog Satchel. He is preceded in death by his parents O.B. & Pat Pace and brother Steven Pace.

In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to the Dillon Foundation ((for the preservation and betterment of their hometown of Sterling) PO Box 537 Sterling, IL 61081 or Fox Valley Presbyterian Church (for Stephen’s Ministry that provided weekly spiritual care) 227 East Side Drive, Geneva IL 60134. For more information, 630-232-8233 or


Posted on June 8, 2020 by Rhys Saunders
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Member Comments (1)

To Sheryl and the rest of the Pace family and friends:

Like countless others, I've known Ole professionally, as a consummate attorney and leader of lawyers, as a Bar Association junkie, whose commitment to improving our profession and the services we provide to the public never, ever was less than 100%, and as a voice of sound reason and judgement. But Ole was also much more than that. He is, not was, a healer and a friend, as generous and giving a human being as I've ever known. He will be missed, but his presence will never be gone. I'm so sorry that he left us so soon. I know you all have the treasure of his memory, his voice and smile, and hope they help carry you through these dark days. I am so grateful for the circumstances that brought Ole into my life. I know his last days were tough, but so is Ole. Now he's still Ole, and at peace, and I'm grateful for that too.

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