Courtney C. Pace, 74, who retired this month after serving as administrative aide to Sen. James O. Eastland (D-Miss.) for 36 years, longer than any aide in Senate history, died of an aneurysm Wednesday in Jackson, Miss.
Mr. Pace entered Baptist Hospital in Jackson on Jan. 10, just one week after he had ended a half-century association with Eastland.
In an interview published in The Washington Post Shortly after both had retired, Mr. Pace said that although he had spent half of his life on Capitol Hill, "I'm a Mississippian."
He said he "was going back home... My friends (here) are all gone. It's sad, but without my Hill contacts, I'd have nothing here. My whole life has revolved around this office."
Mr. Pace was elected to the Mississippi legislature in 1928. Two other freshmen that year were Eastland and John C. Stennis, both of whom were elected later to the U.S. Senate.
In those early years, "we were liberal," Mr. Pace recalled in the interview. Then pointing to Eastland, he added, "but both of us have become very conservative."
Mr. Pace knew his boss so well that he often told reporters how the senator would vote on a given issue without bothering to check with him. He said he "forged" the senator's name so often that "I can't tell my copy from the real thing."
"I don't recall a single thing on which we differed," Mr. Pace said.
In the same interview, Eastland said he picked Mr. Pace to be his chief aide and confidant because he was "scrupulously honest. And he was my best friend. He had my complite trust."
The bonds between the two men extended to a second generation. Their sons, Casey Pace and Woods Eastland, grew up together in the Washington area. Today they are lawyer friends living in Mississippi.
Mr. Pace was born in hilly central Mississippi, but grew up in a delta town named for his father.
His wife, Charlotte, died in 1965.
In addition to his son, he is survived by a sister, Annabelle Taylor, of New York; a half-brother, James K. Pace, of Memphis, Tenn., and two grandchildren.