The Heroines

Velma L. Wallace

is honored with a Large Bench from Sarah Wallace Bracco, Karen Wallace Johnson, Linda Wallace Jones, and Diana Wallace Wilkonson.

 Velma L. Wallace "Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're going to get." (Forrest Gump) Mother, who dearly loves chocolate, could never have dreamed how many "bites of life" she would have the opportunity to sample.

Velma Lunt Wallace has walked with captains of industry, dined with celebrities and astronauts, received honors and accolades and even met two Presidents! But, her heart and soul, her life, her loves, and her tireless community efforts and philanthropy are entwined with Wichita.

She and her partner in love and life, Dwane Wallace, shared 47 years together. Theirs was a union in which they grew and worked together, forging a relationship based upon love, hard work and dreams.

Velma and Dwane reared four absolutely wonderful daughters. In turn, the girls presented them with nine extraordinary grandchildren (six boys, three girls).

As the mother of four daughters, Velma was on-call 24 hours a day. She never knew when she would face an emergency which required her to give shots to dogs, cats or horses, to put out fires from cooking experiments or copper enameling kits, or to revive comatose hamsters in the wee hours of the morning with a dropper full of the Wallace secret elixir. In the evening during our "homework hours," she could often be found in the kitchen talking on the phone. It was her "friend" time... a time when Velma gave a word of support to a friend, planned a birthday party, or organized a casserole schedule for a sick friend. At the same time, she, as a busy mother of four, also received loving support from her friends. Mother's "friend time" was a model for us to emulate. It taught us the importance of making time for friends, and for taking time to volunteer for causes important to ourselves and others.

When Daddy died, she did not shut down. She took on more! With capable tutors, she continued the hard-work and philanthropy which she and Dwane had begun. She received accolades and awards with humility, grace and poise. She gave speeches in front of large crowds with sincerity and humor. She has snow skied and para-sailed, has taken safaris and can still beat any of us at tennis. An accomplished pilot with a multi-engine rating, she now flies from board meeting to charity fund-raiser to music theater in the course of a typical day.

And, she had a dream! Velma dreamed of a place that would make science accessible to children and which would have a positive impact on Wichita and the region. She has pledged herself to see Exploration Place to completion, and has dedicated herself to all aspects of its development. Velma has been untiring in her support of programs which offer encouragement and educational opportunities to young people. She says it keeps her young to meet and become involved with these young people, many of whom continue to correspond with her beyond graduation.

Mother has been an inspiration to us with her incredible stamina and energy, her loyalty to her family and friends, her devotion to worthwhile causes and her willingness to take on new activities and challenges with courage, humor and determination.

Mother, it looks like you are already on your second box of chocolates!

Submitted with respect, honor and love by Linda, Karen, Diana and Sarah

September 18, 1998