Clyde Wilson Pace, 90; FAA Official Was in Charge of Dulles, National

By Joe Holley
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, June 19, 2008

Clyde Wilson Pace, 90, a retired director of airport services and former chief in charge of Dulles International and Reagan National airports, died June 3 of a stroke at his home in St. Michaels, Md. Mr. Pace also was an Arlington County resident.

Mr. Pace was born in Jefferson City, Mo., and received an undergraduate degree in civil engineering from the University of Kansas in 1941.

He also received a mid-career fellowship from the government to study at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University.

During World War II, he was an Army Air Forces pilot and instructor on B-24 and B-32 aircraft and was squadron commander for B-29 flight operations over Japan.

He flew reconnaissance missions and was captain of the mission to identify a third atomic bomb site. He was awarded a Bronze Star Medal.

As a civil engineer, he concentrated on airport development and management.

He worked on aviation issues for the State of Missouri, the Civil Aeronautics Administration and Philadelphia International Airport before joining the newly established Federal Aviation Administration in Kansas City, Mo. He transferred in 1963 to Washington, where he was in charge of Dulles and National.

He played a key role in the development of parallel runways, advanced designs for terminal buildings, airport security and efforts to combat low-level wind shear. He also worked on the conversion of surplus military airfields to civilian use and helped develop statewide airport systems.

He concluded his FAA career as assistant administrator for the agency in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, with headquarters in Brussels.

He also served as the principal technical representative for the United States at the International Civil Aviation Organization, a U.N. agency with headquarters in Montreal.

Mr. Pace retired from government service in 1981 but began working as an international aviation consultant, with clients in places such as Lisbon and Hong Kong.

An avid sailor, he cruised in the Long Island Sound, the Caribbean and the Greek islands and once enjoyed a 51-day voyage on the Intracoastal Waterway.

He sailed extensively in the Chesapeake Bay and was a volunteer docent at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels.

He was particularly interested in lighthouses and, as a daughter noted, "enjoyed acquainting people with the bay, with St. Michaels and with a sailor's view of life."

A visitor to the maritime museum, writing in the Daily Telegraph of London this year, recalled Mr. Pace sharing local lore with a British group about how St. Michaels fooled their ancestors during the War of 1812 by hanging lanterns high in the trees, causing the ships' cannons to overshoot the houses.

"The real story," he told the visitors, "is that the British fleet came in to look at the town but didn't see anything interesting. So they turned around and left."

A lifelong Christian Scientist, he served from 1971 to 1973 as first reader at First Church of Christ, Scientist in McLean. In recent years, he was a member of the First Church of Christ, Scientist in Easton, Md., and chairman of the executive board.

Survivors include his wife of 67 years, Salli Pace of St. Michaels; a son, Clyde Pace III of Kansas City, Mo., and two daughters, Lynne Pace Robinson of Alexandria and Jean Anne Pace of Falls Church; two granddaughters; and one great-granddaughter.

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