Parents: Jim Wallace & Ellen Grant Wallace of Cuba, Alabama. Johnnie is the oldest of five
Johnnie’ favorite scripture was Proverb 3:1-12
Siblings: Willie, Leola, Lieutenant, and Arbell, all preceded him in death
Marriage: December 9, 1939 Minnie Lee Wallace—49 years
Children: Johnny (Alice), Leon (Angela), Hazel (Charles), Levi (Juanita), Quennie (Andre’)
School: Attended a two-room school named “McGowen” in Cuba, Alabama. They had two teachers!
(The older kids in one room and the younger in another. Girls and boys were not allowed to sit or play together). Only Black children attended his school. The kids started school at age 7 or 8. Everyone packed their lunch. He stated his lunch consisted of “cake, biscuits with syrup, ham, bologna, tea cakes and fish” and they drank water from the well, sometimes they would get a Ni-high grape or orange drink from the store.
In school he loved arithmetic, reading, writing and spelling. He remembered his favorite books in primary school “Henny Penny, The Red Hen”. In school on Friday’s each student had to give a speech to the class on a special topic.
He attended Kinterbish High School
Farm: He grew up on a farm, where he learned how to plow, plant and read the signs of the season. On the farm they had 8 cows, 14 pigs, 4 mules, horses, and chickens, he had to feed them every day before school or church. They churned butter and his mother made jellies and canned veggies to last throughout the year. They grew sugar cane, to make into syrup. In the field they grew hay, corn, sugar cane, 3-4 acres of cotton, turnips, mustards, crowder peas, butter beans, peanuts, cabbage, squash, tomatoes, cucumbers, okras and green beans.
Milk was kept in the well in a bucket with the lid on it before the family had their first ice box refrigerator. The well was 12 to 15 feet deep. The family got there first ice box in 1930. The family’s first ice box would hold one cube (25 pounds) of ice that would last one week. The ice man came around twice a week, the cost was .20 - .30 for a cube of ice. Ice was kept in Crocker sacks to keep it cold and was used to pick cotton. His parents sold eggs for .15 cents a dozen.
Church: He grew up in Morning Star Baptist Church. Where church was held only twice a month, the first and third Sunday. The Pastor rotated to another church on the second and fourth Sunday. In church the boys and girls did not sit together. The first bench up front was called the mourners bench to let the congregation know you needed prayer or to join the church.
Sports: Johnnie played baseball
Car: Johnnie did not have a car and he walked everywhere or road a mule. This made it difficult to date if you lived twenty miles apart. He bought his first car in 1939 when he got marriage to Minnie. He paid 600.00 for a used black Chevy. Gas at that time was .10 - .15 cents a gallon.
Jobs: His first job out-side the farm was working at age 16, driving a truck to deliver grocery items for local stores around Sumter County. He worked on the Railroad for ten years, also worked at Union Terminal unloading mail sacks and a construction worker for several companies before he retired at the age of 75. He returned to farming full-time until he was 100 years of age, he also had his driver’s license renewed at age 100.
After his wife’s death in 1986, he reunited with a high school girl friend “Gussie” and later they were married. She preceded him in death in July 2021.
Marriage: April 14, 1990 - Gussie Yarrell Wallace – 30 years together
Step-Children: Pearl (Walter), Waughney and Glenda (Charles)
Great-Great Grand: 4
He leaves to cherish his memory: Six children, Rosie (Excel), Johnny (Alice), Leon (Angela), Hazel (Charles), Levi (Juanita), Quennie (Andre). Grandchildren, Great-grandchildren, Step-children Pearl (Walter), Waughney, Glenda (Charles) and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, friends and many church family members.
In lieu of flowers; please donate to the Johnnie Wallace Scholarship Fund at Greater Emmanuel Apostolic Church