Photos of Dick (and his CFOA family) at a surprise 85th birthday party can be found on the photos page under the 2013 heading.

Richard "Dick" Pace

1928 - 2016

Richard "Dick" Pace passed away on the 6th of January after an extended illness at the age of 87. He was born in Tavares, FL. He was preceded in death by his parents Murl and Leola Pace. Upon graduating from high school, he received 39 sports scholarship offers and selected the University of Florida where he played football, basketball, and baseball. He was elected to the UF Hall of Fame in 1987. Additionally, he was elected to the Hall of Fame for the Florida High School Activities Assoc., Florida Citrus Bowl, Central Florida Officials Assoc., National High School Sports, and Florida sports. He started officiating sports in 1950 at the high school level and joined the Southeastern Conference where he worked for 29 years. He worked 20 major college bowl games including the Sugar, Orange, Fiesta, and other major bowls.

He was President of the SEC Officials in Football and Basketball. He served as the Commissioner of the Sunshine Conference for 9 years and Supervisor of Officials for 15 years. He was President of the Orlando Touchdown Club where he was given the Dr. Frank Gray Award. He was the owner of Pace Insurance and was President of the Florida Independent Insurance Agents. He served his country in the US Air Force at various locations.

He is survived by nieces Merle Skinner, Jane Hardy, Mary K. Cooper, Shirlene Parker and Carole Walston; nephews Lynn "Bud" Hardy, Jim Pappas, Dick Pappas and B.E. Pace. A celebration of Dick's life will be held at the Asbury United Methodist Church in Maitland on Friday, the 29th of January, 2016 at 12:00pm. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Asbury United Methodist Church, 220 W. Horatio Ave, Maitland, FL 32751.

Published in the Orlando Sentinel from Jan. 23 to Jan. 28, 2016

Richard "Dick" Pace

Contest Official
Inducted 1992


Dick Pace

Richard "Dick" Pace devoted 35 years to high school officiating in Florida, working 1,100 regular season football games and 1,300 regular season basketball games.

Pace, known as "Mr. Official," also worked five state football championship games and 23 state basketball tournaments.

Pace, a Florida native, began his officiating career in 1950 and retired from active officiating in 1985. He served as an advisor/observer for the Central Florida Officials Association, which he helped found.

In football, Pace worked 15 district championships, 12 regional championships, six sectional championships and five FHSAA all-star games. In basketball, he worked 75 district contests, 40 regional games, 10 sectional championships, and 17 consecutive state tournaments among his 23 total.

Pace also was a Southeastern Conference football and basketball official for almost 30 years, and he was an official in 23 bowl games, including six Tangerine Bowls, four Orange Bowls and four Gator Bowls.

He is a past supervisor of officials for the Sun Belt Conference and the Sunshine State Conference. He officiated three NCAA basketball tournaments and four National Junior College Athletic Association tournaments.

His off-the-field accomplishments include the development of a recruiting and training program for officials that is run through community school evening programs and the junior colleges, both for credit and non-credit.

Pace was inducted into the Florida Citrus Bowl Hall of Fame in 1981, the Florida Sports Hall of Fame in 1985, and the National High School Sports Hall of Fame in 1991.

Pace was born June 12, 1928, in Tavares, and resided in Maitland, where he owned and operated Pace Insurance Company.

Classmates To Honor Dick Pace On Dec. 28

Sports - Lake sports
December 17, 1991 By Joe Williams of The Sentinel Staff

The man who has been honored nationally and throughout the state for his dedication to high schoolsports officiating will be honored Dec. 28 by his own high school.

Dick Pace, who is known around Florida as Mr. Official, will be honored during the annual Tavares High School Alumni Reunion, which will be held at Vic's Embers in Leesburg, beginning at 6 p.m.

For Pace, finding time in his hectic schedule to attend the dinner will be difficult. But, he said, nothing will mean more to him than being honored by his fellow classmates.

''To be honored by your compatriots is an extreme honor,'' said Pace, who runs an insurance businessin Maitland. ''As far as I'm concerned, the hall of fame of all hall of fames is to be honored by my friends who I went to school with.''

Pace, 64, has had a distinguished playing and officiating career. To list all his accomplishments would take a more than a page. But, here are the highlights:

  • He graduated as salutorian of the Tavares High School Class of 1946 after receiving 16 athletic letters, being named all-state in basketball twice and once in football and was named to the 1945 All-Southern high school team.
  • He played football, basketball and baseball at the University of Florida before graduating in 1950.
  • During his 35 years of officiating, he worked 1,100 regular season football games, 1,300 regular season basketball games. He retired from active officiating in 1985. He is commissioner of the Central Florida High School Officials Association. He has officiated 23 state tournament games in basketball, including 17 in a row.
  • He was a Southeastern Conference football official for 29 years and basketball official for 28 years.
  • In football, he worked six Tangerine Bowls, four Gator Bowls, four Orange Bowls, two Sun Bowls, and one Sugar, Peach, Fiesta and All-American bowl games.
  • In basketball, he officiated three NCAA tournaments and four National Junior College Athletic Association tournaments.
  • In 1981, he has been inducted into the Citrus Bowl Hall of Fame; in 1985, the Florida Sports Hall of Fame; in 1987, the University of Florida Sports Hall of Fame; and earlier this year into the Central Florida Sports Hall of Fame and the National High School Sports Hall of Fame.

But, of all the accolades that have been bestowed on Pace, this one will be one of his most memorable.

''I'm and old country boy, I was born and brought up in Tavares,'' said Pace, who is somewhat embarrassed by all the attention he has received over the years. ''Back, when I went to school there, Tavares was like one big, happy family. That's why this means so much to me.''

Pace is usually pretty busy this time of year and this year is no different. He is director of the Citrus Bowl Association pertaining to football and basketball tournaments and that keeps him pretty busy, especially with the bowl game coming up on Jan. 1.

If playing three sports at the University of Florida wasn't enough, Pace started his officiating career while still going to Florida. He would pick up $3 here and there by officiating high school games in some of the small towns around Gainesville.

Pace has done a lot and made a lot of calls, but one of the easiest calls he has ever had to make was to rearrange his schedule to find time to attend the banquet next week.

''This is going to be just like putting the icing on the cake,'' Pace said.

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