John Wallace remembered for integrity and a keen sense of humor
By Anthony Fiducia 11/15/2017
CHATHAM — Community icon John W. Wallace, who was diverse in many aspects of his life and could find humor in any situation, died Nov. 7 at his home. Wallace was 73.
Son of Alexander and Catherine Langan Wallace, John Wallace was born in New York City on Nov. 19, 1943. He moved to Chatham in 1991.
Serving as a state trooper for 31 years, Wallace attained the rank of lieutenant colonel.
After retirement, he became the owner of The Gray Rider Real Estate Co. in Chatham.
Wallace was also the former chairman of the Chatham Republican Committee, former president of the New York State Oath Keepers, Grand Knight of the Our Lady of the Rosary Knights of Columbus, cast member of Chatham Improv, and usher and communicant of Saint James Church.
Anastasia Wallace said he always enjoyed a challenge.
“He was very funny, he had a great sense of humor — he was a prankster, he was a joker,” she said. “He liked improv because it got him thinking — it was quick thinking and he enjoyed that.”
Anastasia said Wallace also did plays and an early morning radio show on 93.5.
“He was very diverse, he was into a lot of things,” she said. “He liked to be busy and he was successful in what he did.”
Wallace’s pride and joy was working with the state police. It is also the reason why he named his real estate company “gray riders” — after the name given to state troopers, Anastasia said.
Don Tubbs, born and raised in Chatham, was in the Oath Keepers with Wallace.
“I used to go on trips with him to rallies and places where people would speak on the Constitution,” he said. “John was always invited to say a few words.”
What Tubbs found the most compelling about Wallace was how determined he was to teach people the importance of the Constitution.
“It was a very important thing to John,” Tubbs said. “He always stressed the importance on people following the Constitution — he was always willing and able to help anybody he could.”
Tubbs said Wallace founded the Columbia-Greene chapter of the Oath Keepers.
“He was one of my better mentors that I’ve had,” Tubbs said. “He was a down-to-earth man — he loved his family and his country — this is a great loss.”
Mike Blasl, owner of French, Gifford, Preiter and Blasl Funeral Home knew Wallace for almost 13 years.
“John was a great guy,” he said. “He was bigger than life — his personality and humor were that way as well.”
Blasl said Wallace loved to help out groups, and everytime he got into an organization, Wallace was running it.
“He was a guy that stepped up to the plate to make things happen,” Blasl said. “I think anybody that met him liked him.”
Wallace is survived by his wife, Anastasia; three daughters, Allison, Kathleen, and Mary; and a son in-law, Larry.
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