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A Life Lived: Brenda Wallace had the heart of a servant

By ROZELLA HARDIN
Editorial Director
rozella.hardin@elizabethton.com
I have heard this comment more than once: Part of being a person is about helping others…”
Brenda Wallace’s time in Elizabethton was spent helping others. She was a volunteer on the front lines — Hunter Elementary PTA, the United Way of Carter County, the Carter County American Red Cross, and Hunter United Methodist Church, just to name a few of the places she served during the time she and her family lived in Carter County.
Brenda and her family called Elizabethton home for almost 50 years, before moving back to Dover, Tn., in 2016 after her husband, Dr. Gary Wallace, retired as an instructor at Milligan College.
The couple and their children, Ben and Autumn, lived on Sunrise Drive in Elizabethton.
Brenda died Sept. 5 in Nashville at the age of 77.
Brenda was a nurse, having studied at St. Thomas School of Nursing, St. Aquinas College, and receiving her nursing degree at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. During her career she worked at various hospitals, serving as charge nurse in emergency room, critical care, private duty, and children’s care.
After she moved to Elizabethton, she took time out from nursing to spend time with her children and husband. However, Brenda was not one to sit on the sidelines. Where help was needed, she answered the call.
Brenda’s husband described her as “very caring, strong-willed, a perfectionist, and she had a big heart for others. She wanted to be out there on the front lines, and she wanted to make a difference in the lives of those around us.”
As a result, Brenda soon after moving to Elizabethton began exploring avenues of service, which led to her volunteering at local nursing homes and being an instructor in first aid and CPR, primarily. She became involved in the Hunter PTA and was a charter member of the Hunter Boosters Club. If that wasn’t enough, Brenda volunteered with the United Way, retiring as director. She also served on the American Red Cross Board of Directors, locally.
Brenda was honored with the Outstanding Young Women of America Award in 1979 as well as a PTA life membership.
Brenda’s husband also noted that she was an excellent cook, and especially enjoyed decorating cakes. “She enjoyed making cakes for special events and at one time did some catering. She was very creative when it came to planning events, even family dinners,” Gary shared.
She also enjoyed gardening.
Gary added that Brenda was a good mother, was always supportive as a wife. “She was the kind of person who could light up a room,” he shared.
When Brenda retired from public service and the kids grew up, she took up painting, and was very good at it. “She had numerous paintings and she never wanted to get rid of any of them. If she sold one, it was because someone talked her into selling it. However, she did sell some signed paintings,” Gary said. He noted that at her funeral, five of her paintings were displayed. Her favorite subject was landscapes.
When Gary retired from teaching, the couple moved back to Dover where Gary grew up. Their new church was Pleasant Hill Free Will Baptist Church.
Brenda and Gary were parents of a son, Ben, and a daughter, Autumn, and have three grandchildren.
Brenda’s funeral was held Sept. 8 in Dover.
She left many friends behind in Elizabethton, who have fond memories of her. 
Someone has said that a community is like a ship, everyone ought to be prepared to take the helm. Brenda Wallace certainly did that when she moved to Carter County. She never flinched at serving and doing for the Elizabethton community. She left an imprint and an example for others to follow.