Saturday, December 9, 2017
10:00 AM to 11:00 AM EST
Life Story Funeral Homes - Rupert, Durham, Marshall & Gren
409 South Main Street
Vicksburg, MI 49097
Life Story / Obituary
Throughout his rich and rewarding life, Jess Wallace made the most of the days he was given while holding his loved ones near. He was a hardworking man, but it was his family that was his primary focus. A more loving and devoted husband and father would be hard to find, and Jess was happiest when surrounded by the wife, children, and granddaughter he adored. A longtime resident of the community he loved, he enjoyed supporting those around him in ways both great and small. Life will never be the same without Jess here, but he leaves behind a priceless collection of memories that his loved ones will forever hold near and dear to their hearts.
Life during the 1930s was anything but easy as the entire decade was cloaked in the hardship of the Great Depression. Jobs were scarce, which drove the unemployment rate higher than it had ever been leaving countless American families without much hope. Despite the trials around them, Grant and Minnie (Zarfos) Wallace were able to focus on an exciting time in their own lives as they were eagerly anticipating the birth of their new baby as November dawned in Craley, Pennsylvania, in 1938. The big day finally arrived on November 12, when the baby boy they named Jess drew his first breath. He was the youngest of 10 children as he was joined in his family by his siblings, Donald, Joseph, James, Patricia, Sonya, Nancy, Larry, Judy, and Jean. Jess was a typical young boy of his generation, and his father worked as a schoolteacher and justice of the peace while his mother had more than enough to keep her busy at home. He attended school in Red Lion, graduating from Red Lion High School in 1955.
After graduating from high school, Jess was ready for all that life had in store. A man of honor, he served in the United States Army. He served in the 4th Missile Battalion, 65th Artillery and was honorably discharged on July 19, 1962. With his military duties fulfilled, Jess worked at Bendix, which made military parts. From there he worked at Automatic Electric/General Telephone, installing telephones, and eventually becoming a telephone engineer. Jess worked for General Telephone (GTE) until he retired.
It was while working at GTE that life took an exciting turn for Jess when he met the woman of his dreams. Her name was Karon Baker, and they met while he was working in Crystal, Michigan and staying at the resort that her parents owned. She had just recently had a baby at the time, and her husband had unexpectedly died. After her husband’s death, Karon had learned that she was pregnant with Stephanie, so when Jess proposed it was with the condition that he would be able to adopt Stephanie. Karon agreed, and the sweethearts were married on February 23, 1963. In his eyes, Jess always had three daughters, Stephanie, and the two daughters they had together, Monique and Jessica. Later in life he was blessed with one granddaughter, Miranda.
Over the years, Jess was very active. He loved being part of the Schoolcraft community in a variety of ways. A sports fan, especially when it came to football, Jess enjoyed being there to support Schoolcraft High School sports and attended most of the games. He also loved the Penn State Nittany Lions, and the Pittsburg Steelers. Jess loved Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and was a huge Civil War buff. Jess proudly served on the schoolboard in Saugatuck/Douglas and was also a member of the village council in Schoolcraft. Jess loved cars, was a member of the Gilmore Car Museum and worked hard to restore his MGB. When it came to music, he liked Irish music and gospel music.
With a heart that was as big as they come, Jess Wallace was a blessing to those around him. He was funny and had a great sense of humor, which made him so much fun to be around. Jess was energetic and enjoyed pursuing his interests, but what made these experiences so extraordinary was sharing them with the ones he loved. Deeply devoted to his family, he had a way of making his loved ones know they were each uniquely loved. He will never be forgotten.
Jess A. Wallace, of Schoolcraft, passed away on Wednesday, December 6, 2017. Jess is survived by his wife, Karon; three daughters: Stephanie (Rick) Hambright, of Vicksburg; Monique (Calvin) Bradshaw, of Lawton; Jessica Wallace, of South Haven; one granddaughter: Miranda (Dr. Matthew) Mayiuers, of Troy; three sisters: Patricia (Lee) Rittenhouse, of PA; Nancy Nishwitz, of PA and Jean Hawkins. He is preceded in death by siblings: Donald Wallace, Joseph Wallace, James Wallace, Sonya Sprenkle, Larry Wallace, and Judy Barsinger. A funeral service will be held on Saturday at 11 a.m. at the Life Story Funeral Home, 409 S. Main Street, Vicksburg (269-649-1697). The family will receive friends one hour prior to the service starting at 10 a.m. at the funeral home. Burial at Schoolcraft Cemetery. Please visit Jess’ webpage at www.lifestorynet.com where you can sign the guestbook and share a memory. Those who wish may make contributions to the Kalamazoo Gospel Mission and/or the Disabled American Veterans.