James Wallace, Jr.

NO. 17624  •  6 Jun 1926 - 16 Mar 2005

Died in Alexandria, VA Inurned in Grace Episcopal Church, Alexandria, VA

James Wallace, Jr., was born in Toledo, OH, the elder of the two sons of James Wallace III and Fidelia Latimer Mills. Along with his brother George, Jim attended Toledo public schools, but Jim's last two years of high school were at The Hill School in Pennsylvania.

Jim's father was a civil engineer who earned his wings during World War I through the Aviation Branch of the Signal Corps. Jim's uncle, MG Ralph H. Wooten, was an Army Air Corps pilot. Wooten suggested that Jim consider West Point if he was interested in a military career. Heeding that advice, Jim applied for and received an appointment from Rep. Homer A Ramey of Ohio.

Well liked at the Academy, Jim participated in many activities, including the Howitzer, Pointer, 100th Nite Show, the Debate Society, and the Ski, Radio, and Model Railroad Clubs. Considered a walking encyclopedia, Jim was often called upon for obscure information. He was not a "star man" but graduated in the upper half of his class academically.

Because his father and his uncle had been pilots, Jim chose the Air Force upon graduation, but being a fighter jock was not in his future. He graduated from basic flight training flying the T-6 and then went to B-25 school, only to be washed out after 200 hours of flying time.

Jim next attended the Armament Systems Engineering School at Lowry AFB, CO, and was assigned as an aircraft maintenance officer for P-47s at a NY National Guard unit in Niagara Falls, NY. To improve his skills, he completed a five-month Training-with-Industry assignment in fire control systems at the Hughes Aircraft Corporation in Los Angeles.

There, Jim met Barbara "Bobbie" Frances Brooks after attending church one morning. As a good-looking six-footer in uniform, he garnered much attention. They saw each other often, but he soon left California, returning to New York briefly before being reassigned to Otis AFB, MA, where he worked as an aircraft maintenance officer and a personnel officer.

Although Jim and Bobbie had discussed marriage before he left California, he never proposed. After leaving, Jim missed Bobbie, so he called her and popped the question over the phone. On 27 Feb 1954, they were married in Flint, MI, where Bobbie had moved after Jim returned to the East. Their first home together was in Massachusetts.

The sudden change from maintenance to personnel prompted Jim to reevaluate his career path. He applied to the Air Force Institute of Technology and graduated in 1956 with a master's degree in electrical engineering. He was immediately assigned to the Snark missile development office at Wright-Patterson AFB, OH.

All of Jim's official papers identify him as James Wallace, Jr., but he actually was James Wallace IV, and James Wallace V was born in Ohio on 30 Nov 1956. Jim next attended another Training-with-Industry program at the Rand Corporation in Santa Monica, CA, in anticipation of work with the Air Force Space Systems Division in Los Angeles.

After three successful years at Space Systems Division, Jim, Bobbie, and Jimmy headed back east to the Office of the Air Force Deputy Chief of Staff for Research and Development at the Pentagon. On their second day in town, they bought the first house they saw, a good decision because they lived there for many years. After serving at the Pentagon, Jim served as an Air Force officer at the Central Intelligence Agency and, after his retirement in 1970, continued with the physical sciences offices of the CIA as an expert in infra-red technology. During his service, he earned three Commendation Medals, a Meritorious Service Medal, and the CIA Black Award.

Even before he retired, Jim and the "clan" were busy in the theater, all appearing on stage in various shows. Jim and Bobbie even produced a play, and Jim was elected to the Little Theater of Alexandria Board of Governors, Jim's first civilian job was in real estate, and he became incredibly knowledgeable of the Old Town Alexandria market. When John McEnearney (USNA '49) left their firm to start a new company, he invited Jim to be one of their first agents. He was a professional agent with a sense of humor and a great asset to John's company. Upon seeing a "For Sale by Owner" sign, he remarked, "Before long, people will be taking out their own appendixes." In the '80s, Jim put his real estate knowledge to good personal use when he and Bobbie bought four run-down waterfront cottages on the Chesapeake Bay in North Beach, MD, and assisted the town in a major improvement program, including the restoration of his cottages. He and Bobbie did much of the restoration themselves and were gratified to see their efforts "help improve the North Beach image." Living in Alexandria, they nevertheless spent much of their time at their North Beach cottages.

Although very busy, Jim used a newly obtained computer to do income taxes for some clients, manage his real property and that of his son and daughter in law, and assist Bobbie with her writings. She is a highly successful author of more then 20 children's books.

In 2003, Jim developed cancer. After two years of combating it with chemotherapy and radiation, Jim died on 16 Mar 2005. He is inurned in the memorial wall at Grace Episcopal Church in Alexandria, the church he and Bobbie attended for 40 years.

Bobbie now lives in McLean, VA. Their son and daughter-in-law, Christine, and two granddaughters, Victoria and Elizabeth, live nearby.

At the time of Jim's death, John McEnearney wrote of him, "Above all, he was a kind and gentle man; a true gentleman, who was always ready to help ... in any way he could.... Jim will be sorely missed by all who knew and respected him."

-- Classmates, family, and friends