Althea Clair Higginbotham Pace

January 5, 1931 - November 30, 2023

Althea Clair Higginbotham Pace November 30, 2023
Althea H. Pace, 92, of Orange died November 30, 2023 at her home. Her daughter and three grandchildren were with her. Born on January 5, 1931, in Amherst County, she was the daughter of the late Samuel and Gladys Higginbotham. She was also preceded in death by her husband, Sidney R. Pace, her son, Samuel Pendleton Pace, a sister, Hester H. Hall, three brothers, Norman T. Higginbotham, S. Page Higginbotham, J. Hunter Higginbotham, a niece Susan Hall Delano, and a nephew Norman Brent Higginbotham.

Althea attended Mary Baldwin College in Staunton, Va. for two years and then transferred to The College of Wooster, Wooster, Ohio. She studied voice, piano, and organ at Wooster and received a degree in public school music with a major in piano. After college, she married Sidney R. Pace, her devoted husband of 48 years. She dedicated her life to family and church; and enjoyed teaching and involvement in varied musical activities in the Orange community. She taught music in the Charlottesville schools before moving to Orange in 1954. Here she taught piano for many years. An active member of the Orange Baptist Church, she served as organist and subsequently as organist and director of the music ministry for 43 years. A highlight of her ministry at Orange Baptist was the creation and presentation of the first Singing Christmas Tree in 1974. She continued the program each Christmas until her retirement in 1997. Today, it appears that the Singing Christmas Tree has become a yuletide tradition at the Orange Baptist Church. Althea’s retirement from Orange Baptist lasted only 6 years, and in 2003 she went to Rhoadesville Baptist Church and there served as organist for 15 years. She was also a long- time organist for Preddy Funeral Home in Orange.

Survivors include a daughter, Beth Pace Johnson and son-in-law, Jeff, a son, Bobby Pace and wife Teri, a daughter-in-law, Marion Sykes, also eight grandchildren, Courtney Elizabeth Johnson, Rob Johnson, Sydney Claire Johnson, Justin Maria Pace and husband Clayton, Sidney Robert Pace III and wife Meredith, Gretchen Louise Pace and husband Will, Samuel Pendleton Pace III, and Watson Powell Pace, three greatgrandchildren, Copernica Purcell, Wallace Purcell, Eleanor Blickley, and three nieces, and four nephews.

The funeral, conducted by the Rev. Nancy Stanton McDaniel will be held Friday, December,8, 2023 at 10:00 AM at the Orange Baptist Church. Burial will be at the family cemetery in Amherst, Va.

For those wishing to remember Althea through a memorial gift rather than flowers, please consider a donation to the Orange Baptist Church, 123 West Main Street, Orange, Va. 22960 or the Rhoadesville Baptist Church, 26042 Lafayette Drive, Rhoadesville, Va. 22542