On February 16, 2021, Our Most High God called His good and faithful servant Lela Mae Wallace home. She entered into that eternal life after a long illness, peacefully, with her family surrounding her.
Aunt Lela, as she is known to her nine nieces and nephews, was better known in the Albany community as Deaconess and Missionary Wallace or, as 1st Grade and Sunday School Teacher Miss Wallace. The Best of the God’s Best has gone on, leaving her impeccable legacy for us to appreciate.
She was born September 26, 1937 in Shannon, Mississippi to Estellar Mae and Homie Lee Wallace and was the sister of Mary L. Pointer, Minnie B. Catoe, and Aubrey C. Wallace. All of whom preceded her in death.
Lela was educated in Albany Public Schools then went on to SUNY Cobleskill to earn her Associate of Applied Science Degree in Early Childhood Education and Nursing. This degree set her up for a lifetime of caring for the health, welfare, happiness, education, and overall wellbeing of every child that crossed her path. She stepped into her first job at Saratoga’s Hawley Home for Children after graduating and then on to Albany’s St. Catherine’s Center for Children. There, they held onto her for her invaluable dedication and fortitude for nearly 10 years. She continued her education at Russell Sage College where she earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education in 1974. In her junior year she began student teaching at Albany Public School 19 where she remained as one of the most beloved 1st grade teachers of all time for 28 years. While teaching at School 19, she achieved a Master of Science Degree from SUNY Albany and was recognized by ‘Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers” as one of the Best Teachers in America 1998, 2000, 2004-2005, 2005-2006. She also received numerous other awards including NYS Congress of Parents and Teachers Inc. Certificate of Appreciation for her “dedication to the welfare of children and youth”. During her time teaching, volunteering, and winning awards, Lela tended to her other passions of scrapbooking, collecting cookbooks and recipes, and bowling in her church’s league.
She accepted Christ as her Lord and Savior at an early age in Mississippi. Upon arrival in Albany, along with her parents and grandparents, she united with the Metropolitan New Testament Mission Baptist Church. And this wonderful congregation has been the cornerstone of her life ever since. As Deaconess from the age of 14 she served the church, it’s members, and community. As Co-Founder and President of the Home Mission 1972-1989 she led in her ministry to feed the hungry, and visit the aged, the sick, and the shut in. As Sunday School teacher and choir member she was dedicated to the stirring of all minds and hearts.
She leaves to mourn one sister Mother Margaret McCann of Wilborn’s Temple COGIC, four adopted sisters Diane Jones, Sandra Thorpe, Elizabeth Brown and Rubye Johnson. Also left to cherish her memory are four nieces and five nephews: Mechelle, Jenelle, Renee, Carla, Tyrone, Jermaine, Tymus, Jai, and Dennis Edney (Douglas 1955-2015). Lela Wallace was deeply loved by her many beautiful great-nieces and great-nephews and their children. She leaves behind host of cousins, colleagues, students, and friends to remember her extraordinarily loving and spiritual life.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Deaconess Lela M. Wallace, please visit our floral store.