Joyce & George Wallace, A Retrospective on their 50th Wedding Anneversary

Joyce Reichert Wallace was born in Springville, Utah. Her mother was from the pioneer Mormon Law and Wing families. Her father's parents had joined the church in Germany and emigrated to the United Stakes in l905 when he was a baby. In l936, when Joyce was almost 4 years old, her family moved to Pocatello, Idaho. In Pocatello her parents purchased a Motel. In l947, her father decided he was tired of cold weather and they sold the motel and then purchased a 60-acre fruit ranch in Escalon, California. There were 3 children in the family: Orvel, Dorothy, and Joyce. Joyce was the youngest. Escalon was a small farming community with a total population of about 1200 people.

The Reichert fruit ranch had a large drying yard and processed a lot of dried apricots and peaches. The ranch raised peaches, apricots, walnuts and almonds. The children learned how to work hard and be resourceful. After some years her parents purchased the local Escalon Motel. They were tired of the unstable prices of farm goods: if the bugs didn't get you, the climate or the prices would.

George Leonard Wallace grew up in the Central Valley of California and was born in Escalon, California. His family had lived in the Nevada and California farming region for many years beginning with his grandparents who were pioneers. His grandparents started in Austin, Nevada and then went to Bishop, California. When the city of Los Angeles took the water from Owens Valley, they moved to Escalon. George was the youngest of 3 children. He has two older sisters Doris and Barbara. His father was a civil engineer who built many bridges within the state of California. His family was Methodist and they were very active in the local Masonic temple. George first developed his love for amateur Radio when he was in grammar school.

George and Joyce met when they sat next to one another in Spanish class. She was a freshman and he was a sophomore. They both attended Escalon Union High School. Joyce was in almost every available activity, including being president of the Spanish Club, was in Latin Club, was in the Honor Society and she was a Cheerleader along with her sister Dorothy. .

Joyce's father became involved in the politics of Escalon. His political involvement led him to eventually serve two terms as Mayor and to participate further in party politics and the city council. George's father had the reputation of being quite well to do -- as they had the VERY first car with a radio in little Escalon.

George was the first boy Joyce kissed. George would take Joyce to the movies and he could purchase her a child's ticket for the movies, as she was only l3. He always chuckled about this. George and Joyce dated off and on through out high school. They would date other people but always seemed to end up dating one another again.

George graduated from high school in l949 and attended University of Colorado where he majored in electronics. He completed a single year of school there. The Korean War was going on and George saw the draft in his future, so he signed up to be a Radio Operator in the Army. George and Joyce were engaged before George left for Korea.

Joyce graduated from high school in l950 with honors and had a full academic scholarship to the University of California at Berkeley. It was not good timing for her family -- and so she attended a local business school instead.

The same month George arrived in Korea, his unit was overrun and he spent two weeks behind enemy lines. He was able to repair the radio equipment and he and the others with him were rescued. Thereafter, George saw front line action in Korea for an entire year. When George returned from Korea, he was 6 feet tall and weighed 130 lbs. Upon his return from Korea, a Methodist minister married George and Joyce in a local Lutheran church on June 1 1952.

After marriage, they moved to Lompac, near Camp Cook, now Vandenberg Air Force Base. At Camp Cook, George was able to finish up his military obligation. Housing was very scarce and almost non-existent -- so they purchased a little trailer. Joyce got a job on base as a secretary.

Joyce wanted to show her husband how frugal she could be, so she fixed, tuna casserole one night, hamburger patties in tomato sauce one night, codfish balls the next and so forth. George was never hungry, so she saved money and decided to splurge and cooked a beef roast. George ate and ate like he was starved. That was when Joyce finally found out that he absolutely HATED tuna casserole and the other items she had fixed. She shed few tears and they NEVER had tuna casserole again at their house.

A few months after they married Joyce felt the trailer shake strongly. At first she thought someone had hooked the trailer up and was hauling it off, so she woke up George and he said it was probably a little earthquake. It was a HUGE earthquake. It was Joyce's first experience with an earthquake and this one caused lot of damage in the area but not to the little trailer.

One day their l947 Studebaker car would not start with a bad battery, so George and a friend were going to push it and Joyce was to shift gears in the front seat. George and his friend pushed and pushed and suddenly realized that the brake had been left on when Joyce was told to drive. George said nothing but went around the car giving each tire a kick. Joyce thought he was checking the tires. Later on she found out he was frustrated and he didn't want to hurt her feelings, so he went around a kicked each tire.

When Joyce was about 2-3 months pregnant with their first child (Ladene), everyone was notified that Camp Cooke was closing and they were transferred to Fort Lewis, Washington. Housing was very plentiful so they rented a little cottage at Tillicum. It was cheaper than renting a spot for the trailer. Because Joyce was pregnant, she could not get a job at Fort Lewis. They learned to be very frugal. They could live on $7 a week for food, or if they splurged, they could spend $10.

Their first child, Ladene was born on May 30, l953 at Madigan Army Hospital. Madigan had a new plan called "rooming in for new mothers." The total hospital bill was $12.25. Shortly after Ladene was born, the army got George's pay all messed up. Some auditor thought the Army had overpaid him while he was in Korea. Unfortunately, the records had been burned in Korea and it was difficult to correct the mistake.

Since the Army stopped George's pay while the Army straightened out its own mistake, when Ladene was a few months old, Joyce went to work as the secretary for the Post Dental Surgeon at Fort Lewis, Washington. Later the records were straightened out to the Wallace family's benefit, but it was another hard lesson on how lack of money affects a little family.

George got an honorable discharge in l954. He wanted to further his education so he returned to California and enrolled at Modesto Junior College. George worked at KMJ radio at the transmitter during the summer and Joyce worked at Wells Fargo Bank. With both of them working they were able to purchase a new black l955 DelRey Club Coupe Chevrolet for $1500 at 3 percent interest. They got such a good deal because Joyce worked for the bank and got a discount on interest.

George transferred to Fresno State College; Joyce worked at a local bank there. George graduated from college in January of l957 with a Bachelor's of Science degree in Applied Physics. He passed his boards and received his license as a professional Electrical Engineer. They moved to a suburb of Seattle and George worked for Boeing. Joyce was a stay-at-home mom to Ladene at almost 4 years of age.

In Seattle, the stake missionaries came and visited. George was baptized at the Renton Washington chapel in summer of l957. The chapel had a baptismal font in the back of the stage where they had a lid that opened up so that they could close the lid when they weren't doing baptisms and have a flat stage. Ladene thought for sure her Daddy would go down in the water and the men would shut the lid which was a great concern to her.

In the fall of l957 George decided to leave Boeing and move to Sacramento and work for Aerojet.

Reasonable housing was still scarce, so Ladene and Joyce stayed with her parents until some housing could be found. While they were staying at her parents, Joyce had visited some farm friends and the lady gave Ladene a fresh egg from a nest. The next day, Ladene came running and crying "Momma, Momma." She had decided to sit on the egg so it would hatch and of course, it broke on the sofa. Ladene was devastated but the mess was cleaned up and everyone had a good laugh!

George found a little cottage out in the boonies in a terrible state. Since the rent was so modest, Joyce and George decided to rent the little cottage and clean it up. Joyce's mother helped her fumigate, paint and clean up and the Wallace family moved in as a little family. They had a lot of work to do even after the fumigation and painting were finished. They mowed the weeds, put planter boxes around and when they were finished burning the huge pile of debris, they had a very small and modest but very clean home. They were happy to be a little family together again.

When George's folks same to see them, George apologized that this was such a modest home. And George's mom said, "Oh, don't be worried about it, we have lived in worse than this." George's father piped up in a loud voice and said "WHERE?" There have been many laughs over that comment over the years!

George and Joyce later moved into a larger old farmhouse nearby to fit the growing family. The farmhouse was near the outskirts of Sacramento, California. It was at Mercy Hospital in Sacramento where the rest of the children were born: Andrea Maureen born in l957, a stillborn in l959, George Theodore l960, Winifred Lenora l962 and Bennett Leonard in l964. George and Joyce were married in the Los Angeles Temple in February of l963.

By living in the farmhouse, they were able to save money towards a new house and had a new house constructed in Fair Oaks, California, a suburb of Sacramento. Joyce had a visiting teacher that didn't really like to visit her in the old farm house, even though the house was clean and tidy. When she found out that the Wallace family was building a nice home in a nice area, she suddenly wanted to be Joyce's friend. This was a learning experience for Joyce. It is what you are, not where you live that counts, and people who act otherwise are not your friends.

The Wallace family finally moved into their first new home. One day the new Bishop called them and wanted to have them come visit him. George was working night shift, so Joyce went to talk with the Bishop to get acquainted.

When asked, Joyce said that her father had gone on a mission to Germany, and that a cousin was a stake President. Then the Bishop asked: "And what have you done for the Lord?" Joyce had to answer that other than teaching primary, she hadn't done much. This question rang through Joyce's mind many times in the years to come. She has concluded that it is not what others do or are, but what kind of person you are and what you do that counts with the Lord.

George has always been interested in Amateur Radio. Wherever he lives, he has enjoyed his hobby -- even in Brazil. He has always had Ham radio in the car and at least one rotating antenna outside his house so that he could talk to people around the world. He has really received great joy from that.

In l966, George started to work for Kaiser Engineers and the family built a home in Walnut Creek, California. They kept the home as a home base until l987, over twenty years.

In l975 George went to Campinas, Brasil with Kaiser Engineers, designing electrical systems. Joyce followed in January l976 with the four youngest children. Ladene did not come because she was married and in college in Utah. Two years later they were transferred to Curritiba, State of Parana on a huge dam project (Itapu -- the largest dam in the world.  George was brought in to be in charge of the project.  Coincidentally, they lived for a while in the same apartment building featured in the movie The Emerald Forest.). Joyce came back in the fall of l979 to enroll kids back in American Schools. George returned in l980.

In l982, George was asked to go to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. This time Joyce and George went by themselves as children were in college and on missions. Joyce and George returned in l984. Before returning to United States, they were able to spend 3 months visiting Portugal, Spain, Italy, India Egypt, Nepal, Hong Kong and Japan on a round the world trip by themselves rather than going on a tour.

Ted went on a mission to Australia. Ben went on a mission to British Columbia.

In 1985 George finished up the outside evaluation of the Northwest United States Power Grid on January 27.  January 26 he took off for Win & Steve's wedding, proving that family comes first.

In l985 The Chinese government made a request to the US Government that George be a electrical/powerplant design consultant for them on their huge Three Rivers Gorge Hydro electrical Dam Project on the Yangtze river. Because of the request, during June and July of l985, he went to China. He was able to see many interesting things and appreciated the American way of life even more.

One day he saw a pig and dog tied up in back of the hotel and a cage full of ducks in the alley behind the kitchen. Then one day they had pig for dinner, and the pig was missing from the alley. The next day they had ducks and the ducks were missing. The next day he decided not to eat dinner because the dog was missing. The government kept the foreigners in a special hotel away from the Chinese nationals and if a Chinese citizen ate dinner with them, the Chinese was charged double the price. This practice was to discourage friendships.

George was transferred to the Hanford Nuclear Plant in Richland, Washington in l986. George and Joyce purchased a home in West Richland in l987. Joyce worked for Dr. Villanueva ("Dr. V"), an OB-GYN in Kennewick while Ben was in college. She and "Dr. V." and his wife became good friends. Joyce ran for City Council and won. She became a member of the West Richland City Council in 1989.

George was able to take early retirement, so in l989 so he retired. Over time the blowing sand and dust in Richland started giving George eye infections and allergies, so they decided to move. George and Joyce purchased a lot in Chewelah near their favorite fishing area of North Twin Lakes.

In fall of l992 George and Joyce moved to Chewelah and watched their home being built. They moved into their home in October of l993 -- a very happy occasion. Shortly thereafter, Joyce studied and took her amateur radio's license. She finally had her license! Now George and Joyce could talk to each other via ham radio. George could hardly believe it.

Today, George and Joyce are nestled down in their home in Chewelah with the deer, wild turkeys and an occasional mountain lion and raspberry bushes. She is Stake Relief Society President and they are very happy in the beautiful Chewelah area with their many friends and feel blessed. How fast the time passes.

Their Children:

Ladene recently completed her Master's Degree and works as a teacher for the School for the Blind in Colorado Springs, Colorado She has five children and was National Teacher of the Year for the Multihandicapped.

Andrea is married to Claude and she has had six children. She and Claude own a decoupage/art supply business in Florida.

Ted Wallace is a Mechanical Engineer in Research and Development at Texas Instruments in the Dallas Texas area.

Win is married to Steve and they have had five children. Three are deceased. Win is a registered nurse. She will complete her graduate work in Anesthesia this fall and will graduate in Texas in December 2002. Steve is an attorney with Travelers Insurance in North Dallas, Texas.

Ben is married to Lenise and they have 3 children. Ben is a Mechanical Engineer working at Hanford. Ben and Lenise just moved into a new home in West Richland that they built themselves, doing most of the work. Ben's eye for precision work is evident through out their home.

Mom and Dad Wallace stated that they feel blessed with their children and their goodness. As one of their children, I feel blessed to have had the many opportunities that my parents have given me -- blessings of food, housing, clothing, education, hard times and good times -- and an appreciation for both.

Their Progeny include: 5 children, 19 grandchildren, and 4 great grandchildren.

Journal Entries Index
Robin Journal One
September-October 1997
September 1998 to February 1999
August-November 2000
November/December 1997
May-August 1999
January-July 2001
A New Year
2003-2004 Memorial Day
December 1997 to March 1998
Alumni Questionnaire
October-November 2001
Leave me a comment
March 1998
August 1999 to February 2000
my blog:
March-July 2000
Wallace 50th Anniversary

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