By Laura Cravens and Hadyn Bailey
On March 7, 2018, Boone County Family Resources lost a longtime friend. Caye-Jean Pace, known as “CJ,” passed away at the age of 55. Her loss was deeply felt by her family and many friends.
CJ was born in Columbia and lived there her entire life. Her parents, George B. and Dorothy Yaeck Pace, and a sister, Mary Douglas Lee, all preceded her in death. She is survived by her sister, Dr. Caroline Pace and wife Patti Tuttle, and her brother, George Pace, and his wife Sarah. Dorothy Pace was an early advocate for people with disabilities and was a charter member of the Friends of Boone County Family Resources.
CJ received supported living services with Boone County Family Resources for 35 years. She moved into one of the first few group home residences in 1983. CJ worked at Central Missouri Subcontracting Enterprises for 29 years before retiring last October. After retirement, CJ attended Palmer’s Day Program to socialize and have fun with her friends.
A joyous and festive celebration of CJ’s life was held on March 9 with many people she loved. The gathering included family as well as several friends from work, neighbors, and past and present BCFR staff members. The attendees shared stories of CJ’s humor, trickery, compassion, and interests. In her honor, some staff members wore footed pajamas, one of CJ’s favorite clothing items. CJ’s sister, Caroline, ensured CJ’s memory was honored by serving her favorite food, Taco Bell. As a final send off to CJ, everyone was asked to sing along to a remake of CJ’s favorite song, “YMCA,” which became “YMCJ.” Lyrics are:
“CJ, you’re always joking around,
I said CJ, you turn our frowns upside down,
I said CJ, you’re always Taco Bell bound,
And you love your foot-ty PJs.
It’s fun to laugh with our YMCJ,
It’s fun to laugh with our YMCJ.
You have everything to make us smile,
Who can match your silly style?”
We will miss you, CJ. Rest in peace.