Pace's Pioneer Legacy Honored - THE HOPEWELL NEWS - OCTOBER 17, 2008

Pace's Pioneer Legacy Honored


By Ken Munson


     At Tuesday's city council meeting, the council honored an entrepreneuial pioneer in the City of Hopewell.

     The proclamation was accepted by Hopewell citizen, Robert Pace Traylor on behalf of his late grandmother, Patricia Louise Pace, and the day care she founded in 1941. Mrs. Pace's Kindergarten ran for 45 years, with her daughter Sue Traylor taking over the family business in 1961. Sue's son Robert, who himself went into education, is trying hard to preserve his grandmother's legacy, which began in the early days of American involvement in World War II.

    In 1941, the world was abuzz about the bombing of Pearl Harbor particularly in Hopewell because of the nearby Fort Lee (then Camp Lee). With many of the men drafted into the military, women were called upon for the first time to take jobs and pitch in to the war effort on the homefront, meaning for the first time they were unable to watch their children during the daytime.

     "What [Pace] did was in 1941, on Ramsey Avenue in City Point, she started helping mother's who were helping with the war effort," said, Robert. "And she started accumulating more and more children, so she decided to create a day care center. Her's was the first in the City of Hopewell."

     Because of the army base, the city also began to attract a large number of foreign immigrants. Turks, Slavaks, Lebanese, Italians, Greeks and Syrians - many to whom spoke little to no English - got their first tast of American Education at Mrs. Pace's Kindergarten.

     "She always said, Children are very easy to understand. It doesn't matter if they speak English or not" Traylor said.

     Patricia Pace would run the school until her death in 1961, and the reins would be taken up by her daughter until eventually closing up shop in 1986, leaving a void in a city still suffering from lack of day care. Many local prominent citizens were cared for at that institution.

     "She was so inventive and creative," remembers Traylor. "The school was so unique because grandmother & mother instilled, dance, music, social contact, health and all the necessary support needs. I was proud of it."

     Madison street next to school in City Point was changed to "Pace Street" in tribute to his grandmother.



Robert Pace Traylor, author and son, will be happy to hear from you.