Born in Omaha, Nebraska, Robert Lyle Wallace was a man full of love. Love for God, love for his family, and love for his country.
Raised on a farm, he spent summers with his grandparents in Kansas where he learned the value of hard work. Bob began working at an early age in a variety of tasks. He worked in Omaha as a delivery boy for Western Union Telegraph, where his dad also worked. Among his stops was future President, Harry S Truman.
In September, 1943, World War II was underway. Bob, now eighteen, enlisted in the United States Army as part of the Army Specialized Training Program that promised an education upon completion of service. Always an adventurous spirit, he set his sights on training as a paratrooper, but his thin frame, a bout of the measles and seeing one too many paratroopers sent home in wheelchairs altered that course. Bob had an innate gift for engineering and technology. As part of the 100th Infantry Division at Fort Bragg, he tested so high he was offered the opportunity for a possible appointment to West Point on the condition that he would sign for six years. He declined.
Instead, he was selected to be a part of a new field artillery group in Ft. Riley, Kansas where he served as a gunner corporal. He and his unit were disappointed they didn’t enter the battles of World War II particularly after rumors swirled they would be involved in the invasion of Japan.
In 1945, in spite of his initial reticence to serve longer than two years, Bob re-enlisted for three more years. He was sent to artillery school at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma where he trained to be a weapons instructor. He spent 18 months training soldiers, including former POW officers, on a myriad of weapons. Before his enlistment period ended in 1948, Bob was stationed with Occupation Forces in Korea. Upon returning home, and with the help of the GI Bill, Bob began studying at Jacksonville Junior College.
In 1949, he met Natalie ‘Boots’ Padgett. They married not long after and so, within a few short years, Bob made the quick transition from soldier to college boy to family man and father to his children Linda Wallace Maguire (Paxon Senior High School, 1966) and Bruce Leroy Wallace (Plantation High School, 1970.) .
Much as he had done with weapons in the military, Bob advanced quickly in the new field of computer technology. He worked as a computer specialist at Prudential Insurance Company for 32 years before retiring in 1989.
His love of engineering and technology did not diminish with age. He had a computer before either of his grandsons and relentlessly kept up with the industry.
Bob loved traveling with his wife and later with his grandchildren, Mark and Jonathan. Over several summers, they trekked across the United States on multi-week trips to see and discover the nation’s historical sites and natural wonders.
One of his favorite adventures was traveling with his son, Bruce and a few of his buddies to many major shooting matches across the country. Many years ago he enjoyed playing on the church softball team at Woodstock Park Baptist and also played for the Prudential softball team.
Bob’s daughter, Linda, always had her fix-it list ready when he came to visit and enjoyed telling everyone “my daddy can fix anything.” Bob’s love and talent for fixing things was also recognized by those who affectionately knew him as “Handyman Bob.”
Bob was a fantastic bowler and golfer. He especially enjoyed playing golf in his retirement years and fulfilled every golfer’s dream by recording two holes-in-one.
He loved gospel music and joyfully sang in church choirs across Jacksonville, including Allendale, Woodstock Park, Faith Memorial, Hillcrest, and First Baptist Church of Jacksonville. He served in various capacities in church and was always instrumental in bringing and welcoming friends to church. His caring spirit and love for others was evident.
Bob was a devoted husband to his wife, Boots, whom he called his Princess. His son, Bruce will miss calling him “Pops” and his daughter Linda, forever a ‘daddy’s girl’, will miss calling him “Daddy”. He was a wonderful PopPop to his grandsons, Mark Wallace Maguire (Jami) and Jonathan Maguire (Cecilia) and to his great-children Patrick and Andrew (Mark) and Natalie, Kayla, Victoria, Katherine, Danielle, Abby, and Matthew (Jonathan). He was known as “Uncle Bob” not only to his much loved nieces and nephews, but also to many friends and neighbors.
A committed servant of Jesus Christ, Robert Lyle Wallace is now home with his Lord and Savior whom he faithfully loved and served.
Interment will be at the National Cemetery in Jacksonville, Florida on January 19, 2024 at 2:30 P.M.
Jacksonville National Cemetery