■ BY SUE ERWIN
Pace Ervin Taylor was a 19-year-old, fun-loving, free spirited kid who enjoyed everything about life, and he especially loved fishing in Boca Grande. He would come here every summer and on spring breaks with his family, who all adored the special quality of this island.
Pace was a lifelong resident of Tallahassee, Florida and a 2017 graduate of Chiles High School. He was a rising sophomore at Valdosta State University and was so excited to be moving out of the dorm and into his new house with his friends.
Tragically, Pace lost his life Saturday, June 30, 2018 in an accident in Memphis, Tennessee.
Pace had a passion for the water and spent every moment he could on it – fishing, boating, wake-boarding and other activities in and on the water.
His parents, Jennifer and Todd, younger sister Briley, and older brother Mabry are visiting Boca Grande this week for their annual summer vacation.
“When we arrived in Boca Grande on Saturday, complete strangers struck up a conversation with us on the dock, and we immediately remembered why we call this our second home,” said Jennifer. “For 25 years, we have made the trip across the bridge to find our quiet fishing spots and bright blue sunning sands.”
At 5 years old, Pace picked his “sprinkle spot” on Cayo Costa because he wanted to be where the big fish swim.
“As the sun set on Sunday, a dozen of us gathered on that exact spot to say goodbye and fulfill his request,” Jennifer said. “We will eat at the Loose Caboose, The Temp and the Pink Pony, and each menu will remind us of him. I will admit that I shed a few tears as I walked into Hudson’s and felt regret for every declined request for ice cream in years past. Our freezer is full today in honor of his sweet tooth.”
To honor Pace, his family plans on building an artificial reef through the Coastal Conservation Association.
Jennifer said that once enough money is raised, they will pick a spot for the reef. The process takes about a year to complete.
The family plans to spread Pace’s ashes in Boca Grande Pass.
“It just seems appropriate,” Jennifer said. “While we are devastated by the loss of our son, we are looking forward to years of memories made as we tell stories about him.”
Jennifer said her son’s first love was his family.
“His little sister was the star in his eye, and he always wanted to be around his big brother Mabry.”
The Coastal Conservation Association will help pick the spot for the artificial reef, and the family hopes it will be between Cedar Key and Boca Grande.
Contributions to the Pace Taylor Memorial Fund can be made via GoFundMe under the Pace Taylor Memorial Fund page.
“Ain’t Life Grande” T-shirts are also available through the PayPal account for $20. All shirt proceeds go to the reef project.
“Pace was an avid fisherman and loved his life in the water – there is no better way to honor his passion.”
For more information, send an email to PaceTaylorMemorial@gmail.com.