Richard  Wallace
"If I wish my life away, where would I be today?" - words that were so often quoted by him during times of interactive dialogue about life situations requiring courage to navigate.
The story of his own life, had taught him that wisdom. He came from a small nuclear family, nested within a very large extended family. These were people who had once been immigrants, modest farming people, who worked hard to make a living and saw their sons go off to war. Some returned and took on practical, modest jobs, such as plumbing-jobs that required dedication to developing skill. In these times of our collective history, many lived and thrived in the very community in which they were born... but he was a little bit different.
As a young man, he ventured away from the Midwest and went to Florida, where he explored professional endeavors, which required courage, critical thinking, forthrightness, and benevolence to be expressed in systematic ways. In his later years, he would often share stories of his experiences as a police officer in Immokalee, as well as recounting the skill of craftsmen as they restored brick paved streets in old Tampa. Richard found his leadership forte within the profession of finance, and served as comptroller for several organizations, including City of Danville and McDonald's. He also founded his own business, Blimpie Subs and Salads, locally. Over the years, he also volunteered in board-appointed leadership for both the Danville Symphony Orchestra and the Danville Public Library.
As Richard pursued success in his own business ventures, he concurrently served as an active business partner to his wife, Marcella, in the joint venture, Creative Designs Salon, which once upon a time, became advertising enigma on D102 Radio as the DJ would tell custom and entertaining tales about, "The Big Blue House," a place where Wizards worked and conjured up magical hairstyles for both men and women. In those days, it was not as common for men to go to salons, but rather to barbershops. Never intimidated or overpowered by her prominence as the primary public figure at the salon, he had unassuming aspects of a Renaissance man, always working alongside her, managing the clerical must-do's behind the scenes, toward the achievement of her own success as an accomplished professional. He was dutiful to this partnership even in his final day.
Richard was an imperfect but very dynamic man, who was both tough and sensitive. Whether personal or professional, his demeanor was consistent with the authentic expression of himself. Tenacious and willful, he had a strong sense of integrity and stuck to his principals. Articulate, he was appropriate to conversation at hand, but not shy to express his real thoughts and opinions on the subject matter. Sometimes, this created friction with other people who might have otherwise assumed that he would automatically, "Go with the flow." - in other words, passively follow group mentality in times when it presented conflict with his sense of ethics and morals. However, for as direct and stubborn as he could be, he could also, "agree to disagree." Conscientious and compassionate, his ultimate goals were not selfishly engineered, but rather intentioned towards constructive outcomes within family and community.
"Now you've got two choices - you can either learn the easy way, or the hard way," were the often-chimed words of wisdom he imparted to his children.
As a father, he was firm on discipline and structure, yet he also allocated space for each one to develop in their own unique ways. He maintained an active interest and dedication to being relational with each one, and even during the so familiar episodes of parental "tough love," he held each of them in loving esteem with hopes that their trials would pass in favor of accolades. He had a reserved tenderheartedness for them, which was always present, but not always recognized.
As a grandfather, he was doting, and had a deep desire to have an active relationship with each of his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He often felt the frustration of akin to the peculiar contemporary standard of families, both nuclear and extended, of being physically separated by either divorce or geographic encumbrances. However, he relished each moment spent with them, and particularly enjoyed telling them silly stories, watching them ride bicycles, teaching them to mow the lawn, and sharing the wisdom of strategy, focus, and sometimes playful cheating, through the game of chess.
He was devoted to his family, and believed that the strength of a community is interdependent on the soundness of the family unit. He had a special concern for the welfare of children in the world, particularly those who were abused, neglected, underprivileged, special needs, and/or fatherless. Accordingly, he participated in a number of Youth Development outreaches in town, including establishment and maintenance of Community Gardens, Ambucs, Special Olympics, and Indian Guides. He was especially endeared to his longest term of mentorship, where he served as a Sunday School Teacher for preschoolers at Second Church of Christ. It was not uncommon for these once 3-year old attendees to enthusiastically shout, "Grandpa!" as they came into the classroom, and continue to address him as such as they grew into young adults.
Richard had deep spiritual centeredness, and his sense of belonging to God was not dependent on orthodoxy, though he deeply appreciated the ritual of his upbringing as Catholic, he was equally enriched in his relationship with Christ within his practice as a Protestant. He often attributed his ability to navigate admittedly difficult life events to his Faith and Trust in God, as well as to the power of prayer.
Unattached to earthly structure, Richard's desire upon death was to serve humanity through whole body donation to medical science. Accordingly, his remains were entrusted unto Southern Illinois University School of Medicine. Generosity such as this is essential to comprehensive study of functional anatomy, as well as compassion so vital to the development of future physicians.
Richard, thank you for the gift of Life that you gave to us with your dynamic presence during the times we shared together. We so often feel your presence with us, but at the same time, we miss seeing you and sharing new life experiences with you physically. Our wish for you is that you are resting in peace, assured that the Legacy of your life is the impartial lovingness that you imparted in so many ways.
Richard "Dick" Wallace, Sr. passed, unexpectedly, into eternal rest on Aug. 23, 2019. Born in Champaign County on Dec. 18, 1939, to Francis Isaac and Beulah Mable (Vaughn) Wallace. He is survived by his wife, Marcella; and three of his four children, Richard (Yvonne) Wallace, Jr, Jamie (Pandora) Busby, and Alexis Bergan-Guzman; nine grandchildren, Jamie Lee, Robert, Nicholas, Marissa, Aidan, Kylie, Kayleigh, Oskar and Alma Lucia; 10 great-grandchildren, Olyvia, Gracie, Caroline, Bryson, Olivia, Harrison, Rowdy, Gunner, Nesta and Ailya; as well as numerous extended family and loved ones, including his sisters, Kay Cunningham and Ruth Ann Brown. Dick was preceded in death by his son, Jonathan G. Wallace.
A Memorial and Celebration of Life Service will be held on Friday, Nov. 29, 2019, at 11 a.m. at Second Church of Christ in the Kids' World Chapel (Door 1 of Main Parking Lot is closest entrance) 3350 E. Voorhees, Danville.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made In Memoriam to one of the following community organizations, actively involved in youth mentorship and development: Kids' World, Second Church of Christ, Attn: Rick Clark, rick@secondchurch.com, (217) 442-7306. Or, Schlarman Academy, info@schlarman.com, (217) 442-2725.
Additionally, Richard's family would like to thank each of you who have sent condolences and gracious forms of support in initial phase of this transition. Your kindness and thoughtfulness are heartfelt. Lovingly, In Christ. -abg
Online condolences may be left at www.roselawnfuneralhome.net
Published on November 26, 2019

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