David E. Pace, a pioneer in the hot sauce industry and creator of the original Pace Picante Sauce in 1947, has died. He was 79. Pace died Monday of heart failure. He had been hospitalized on Christmas.
His famous hot sauce received a gold medal in the Monde Selection, in Brussels, Belgium, and was named best picante sauce in the world three times. A native of Monroe, La., Pace was the son of a manufacturer of maple syrup and jellies.
Pace earned a football scholarship to Tulane University, where he played tackle. He was named to the All-Southern football team and played in the first Sugar Bowl.
In San Antonio, after coaching football and serving as an Army test pilot, Pace entered the food business. He cooked and bottled jellies, jams and syrups in the back of a rented liquor store. Pace later decided the real syrup of Texas was picante sauce.
He and his then-wife Margaret Bosshardt formed Pace Foods with a family recipe of jalapenos, onions and garlic, which he perfected by adding tomatoes. The Paces were divorced in 1976. Shortly afterword, Pace sold the company to his former wife. In 1989, Kit Goldsbury, the Paces’ former son-in-law, became sole owner of Pace Foods, where he had worked since 1969.
Pace, an entrepreneur in other areas as well, patented an executive chair in 1967 that could be opened flat for taking a nap. He was president of Pace Chair Co.
Services were scheduled for 11:30 a.m., today in St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in San Antonio with burial in Sunset Memorial Park. David E. Pace and Imogene Pace’s father Amos Gideon Pace invented Pace’s Picante Sauce.