Mallie Wallace 1910-2002
The Last of the "Old Wallaces"
Biography written by granddaughter Jenny Chriscoe Purvis
Mallie L. Wallace was born May 31, 1910 to Lucian and Nancy Jane
Williams Wallace. He grew up a farmer's son and was at heart a
farmer himself. He married Clara Cockman and was the father to
four girls: Jacqueline, Chloe, Doris and Patricia.
A textile mill worker who raised hogs and grew crops as well, he
knew how to enjoy life. He delighted in the simple things.
Rabbit hunting, auction houses, pumpkins in the fall, and
flowers in the spring were among his favorite things. He enjoyed
"riding around" and sharing details of old home places and names
of creeks while looking at how the crops were doing. He always
went home a different way than he came even if it meant taking
the long way around. We never, ever saw him rush around or get
in a hurry. He savored his time with each of us.
Above all he enjoyed his grandchildren. He taught us about life,
how to be positive, laugh, and have a good time. He always kept
a "quarter jar" and would take it with us to the beach each
year. We'd dump all those quarters in a big pile and divide them
out among us. Those were ours to spend however we wanted and boy
did we feel rich. He gave freely of his time and love, showed us
what things were most important, and taught us to keep a penny
in our pocket so we'd never be broke. In his presence, you
always had the feeling that you were his favorite. We never
doubted Papa's love.
His house was the Sunday meeting place. Roasted peanuts, Cracker
Jacks, and little Cokes in glass bottles were always enjoyed by
a big fire in the fireplace or out in the yard in his
"tree-house." It was there we listened to him sing songs like
"The Man That Rode the Mule around the World" and heard
wonderful stories from his life. One of our favorites was when
he and his daddy traveled by wagon to Sanford and he got to see
electric lights for the first time as they topped the hill that
night. It was also there that we learned about our family
heritage. Papa was proud of being a Wallace and wanted the
younger generations to know their roots and heritage as well. He
was the one to ask if you needed to know who was related and
Our Papa died in July of 2002, but his life lessons and love
live on with us daily. We were so blessed to have such
wonderful, unconditional love and support and will forever miss
his knowledge and wisdom of life.
Eulogy given by grandson Morgan Jackson
We gather today to celebrate the life of Mallie Lester Wallace.
I truly believe that celebrate is the most appropriate word to
use for the man that some of you knew as Mr. Wallace, some as
Mallie, but to us - he was "Pop." Papa was a man who lived life
to the fullest, a day at the time.
First of all, I would like to give you the specifics of his life
-- he was born in Robbins in 1910 to Lucian and Nancy Jane
Wallace, the fourth of seven children. Like most in his day, he
grew up on the family farm, and later went to work in the
textile mills. But unlike most, he was one of those lucky men
who got to marry the prettiest girl he ever met. He and Granny
were married for more than 54 years when she passed away. Pop
spent most of his working life teaching weavers in mills all
over North Carolina.
But this does not tell Papa's real story -
His real story has a lot more to it. Pop was a man who welcomed
each day with a smile and a little song. He was a man who loved
his family and who taught us all how to enjoy life. Pop had that
special ability to make each of us truly believe that we were
his favorite and we all still do. He was a grandfather who
always had a dollar for the candy store.
He had such a great way of looking at things. He was a man who
believed that the good ol' days were today and tomorrow. He was
a man who knew everyone and everything - and most importantly he
knew everything about everyone. But he never judged anyone; he
believed that every person should live their life as they wanted
- as he did.
He loved to talk about those "old" people who just happened to
be younger than him. When you asked Papa about his own age, he
would tell you that he was signed up for Social Security and he
would get his check the first of next month. What he wouldn't
tell you was that he had signed up 25 or 30 years ago. He was
not old, he would say, just been here a long time.
Over the years, he worked in so many places; from Swepsonsville
to Red Springs, from Graham to Rockingham, from Cheraw, SC to
Galax, VA - Papa loved to talk about the places he had been and
the people he had seen.
He also loved to sit on the porch and enjoy the coolness of the
morning and the calmness of the night. He loved to talk of the
dances and corn shuckings that he and Hurley used to go to. He
loved to eat at those little cafes, but his favorite place was
Hardees - where you could find him everyday at two o'clock.
He loved to tell stories about the old Wallaces and prided
himself on being the oldest Wallace living. Papa loved to ride
around; Lord, did he love to ride - he was so proud - he had
just gotten his driver's license renewed for five more years.
And he had just returned from the beach. He loved going to the
beach and loved the ocean -- or maybe, it was just all the girls
in bathing suits. More than anything he was a man who always had
a good time.
I hope you will take notice of how many things that I have
mentioned that Papa loved to do. We could all learn a lesson
from Pop about the preciousness of life and how we need to
embrace each morning and live each day to its fullest. So today
- we should not mourn for Papa - we should celebrate his life,
because that is exactly what he would do.
To end his story - he was a man who married the love of his
life, was a wonderful father to four beautiful daughters,
grandfather to eleven, great-grandfather to thirteen and
great-great grandfather to two - but most importantly he was a
friend to us all.
And we will miss him.