James W. Wallace | Obituary

July 13, 1930 – December 27, 2020

James W. Wallace

All are invited to livestream Jim Wallace’s memorial service which will be held at 2:00 pm this Saturday, March 13. Just click on live.lacanadapc.org at that time. NOTE: This is livestream ONLY. Please do NOT come to the church.
James Wendell Wallace (Jim) was born in Norris, Tennessee, on July 13, 1930 and died on December 27, 2020 at age 90. Jim passed away peacefully of natural causes in his La Cañada home of 52 years, after holiday visits from all his children and grandchildren in his final days.
Jim was a kind, loving and generous man who had open arms, a warm hug and a helping hand for anyone that needed them. Jim was the ultimate optimist that enjoyed every day and every person he met. Jim valued family, faith and education above all else and demonstrated these values through his everyday actions.
Jim was a devoted husband to Jeanne Wallace, his wife and constant companion of 68 years when she passed in 2018. Jim was an equally devoted son, brother, father, uncle, grandfather, great-grandfather, and friend to countless people whose lives were made better by knowing him and basking in his spirit of joy and love.
Jim was born and raised in Norris, Tennessee, in the shadow of the Smoky Mountains. Jim, who was called Wendell by his family and his Tennessee friends, was the third of four brothers – John, Harold, Jim and Ken. Raised by humble schoolteacher parents in a small farmhouse with no indoor plumbing during the Great Depression, Jim’s hard work, intellect, integrity and generosity led him to a successful legal career and a fulfilling life.
Jim and Jeanne were married in 1950 at age 19 in a civil ceremony in Ohio after leaving Tennessee to tour the country selling magazine advertising door-to-door. Jim enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in 1951 and was sent to Syracuse, NY for intensive Russian-language training. Jim then served as a Russian language interpreter in West Germany until 1955.
Jim and Jeanne’s first child Karen was born in the Army General Hospital in Frankfurt, Germany in 1955. Following Jim’s USAF service, they returned home for Jim to complete his studies at the University of Tennessee. In 1958, Jim received his law degree from the University of Tennessee. Jim and Jeanne then moved to California to start his legal career in Santa Monica, where their son Michael was born in 1959.
Jim spent the final 21 years of his legal career with The Times Mirror Company, the publisher of the Los Angeles Times and many other publications. Jim served as Associate General Counsel and Corporate Secretary until his retirement in 1990. Before joining Times Mirror in 1969, Jim served stints as in-house counsel for California companies Guidance Technology, Varian Associates and Electronic Specialty.
Jim and Jeanne were active in the La Cañada Presbyterian Church for over 50 years, where Jim served as a Deacon and Elder and a member of the church’s Clippers social group. With the church, Jim made many trips to Tutwiler, Mississippi, to build homes with Habitat for Humanity, where he also helped sponsor and award an annual scholarship for students in Habitat families.
Jim was a Board member of the Salvation Army Los Angeles division and could be found ringing his red bell on the downtown LA streets every December. Jim also served as a member and President of Rotary’s La Cañada chapter and served on the Board of The Travelers Aid Society, among other volunteer engagements.
The Wallace family would like to thank all the wonderful caregivers that enabled Jim to enjoy his last three years in the comfort of his longtime La Cañada home. Among these angels on earth, we want to particularly thank Lori (angel-in-charge), Celia, Jeanie, Maricela, Lucrecia, Elvia, Cristal, Belinda, Jessica and Iping, each of whom spent hundreds of hours helping Jim enjoy his best quality of life.
Jim was predeceased by his dear wife Jeanne in 2018. Jim and Jeanne are survived by their daughter Karen Young (Scott) and son Mike Wallace (Laura), grandchildren Vanessa Burnett (Ryan), Monica Skeehan (Mark), Matthew Wallace, Eric Wallace and Andrew Wallace and great-grandchildren Andrew and Taylor Burnett and Owen and Rory Skeehan.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in Jim’s honor to the La Cañada Presbyterian Church, the Salvation Army or Habitat for Humanity.