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The sign cements Wallace’s lasting influence; in memory of hometown hero – Washington Daily News


The sign cements Wallace’s lasting influence; memory of the hometown hero

Posted at 22:23, Friday, November 4, 2022

Jack Wallace had been hanging around the Bath High School football field for much longer than he imagined when he took a temporary position as a teacher and coach at the school in the fall of 1953.

On Tuesday, family members, friends, city officials and current and former Beaufort County school administrators gathered within sight of his old stomping grounds to unveil a new sign honoring his enduring influence.

As fans enter the Jack Wallace Sports Complex to watch the Bath Elementary School baseball team play, the Bath Pirates logo, which his wife June helped design, and his familiar signature.

“This is his real signature that has been on everyone’s report cards and diplomas for almost 50 years, including mine and my sister’s,” said daughter Gina Hull. “He was such a force in this community and our family is very proud that his legacy will live on.”

Wallace died at the age of 91 in November 2018 after serving as a teacher, coach and principal until his retirement in 1996.

He graduated from Bath High School in 1945 and attended East Carolina on a baseball scholarship. The Cubs drafted him, and after a year in their minor league system, Wallace was drafted into the Korean War, where he earned a Bronze Star, a Silver Star and seven battle stars.

“Serving his country was his proudest achievement,” said current Bath Primary School principal Charles Clarke. “He was at 3rd Infantry, whose task was to find and neutralize mines. It’s a great tribute to a man who gave his heart and soul to this community.”

Wallace returned to his hometown in 1953 for what he thought was a pit stop on his way to his next job. It turned out that his future vocation was in front of him.

Wallace coached football, basketball and baseball while teaching history, then became principal in 1968.

His football teams won the last two six-man state championships in 1958 and 1959 and won the first eight-man title a year later. The Pirates hit 40 straight during that streak.

“It’s just wonderful for the town to remember Jack in this way,” June Wallace said. “He loved the school and the students and said that when he came home from the war, he would like to work with young people.”

Clark said one memory stands out for him.

“It was a few years ago during a reunion of all the classes from the 1980s,” he said. “Everyone in the room stood up and clapped when Jack and June entered. It’s not something you see every day.”

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