By March 26, 2020 Read More →

George Wallace, longtime WV Press leader, dead at 85

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Longtime West Virginia Press Association supporter George Wallace, 85, died Tuesday in McCandless, Pa.

Wallace was the former owner and publisher of the The Brooke County Review in Wellsburg. He was past-president and board member of the WVPA, winner of the Adam R. Kelley Award, and an honorary Lifetime Member of the association. Wallace was also active with the WVPA Foundation, serving as a trustee and was granted emeratius status as a trustee in 2017 for the Foundation.

George Wallace

“George was one of the most positive people I ever met,” said Don Smith, executive director of the WV Press Association. “Despite numerous health issues for both George and his wife, Mary Kay, in recent years, they were always very positive, thankful and huge supporters of the WVPA. George was forced to retire after completely losing his vision as a health complication, but even last year he was learning to type on a special computer and was excited about doing a column.”

“George had a tremendous sense of humor, numerous newspaper industry and WV Press stories, and was one of our few remaining ties to the great generation of journalists, newspaper owners and just real West Virginia characters who, after serving in World War II, returned to West Virginia and built up the WVPA and our Foundation,” Smith said. “Despite his own years of dedicated work for the association, George loved to joke that his primary role in the association, being younger when he got involved and a non-drinker, had been as designated driving for those legendary newspaper people, who, George who explain with a grin, felt differently about drinking.”

Wallace requested a prayer before any WVPA meeting or meal and was the inspiration for the WVPA Journalists Prayer:

Lord, we ask that you bless this nourishment we are about to share that it will give us the intelligence to find the truth, the wisdom to understand it, the courage to share it and a voice strong enough to be heard. Amen

Here is Wallace’s obituary from The Brooke County Review:

J. W. “George” Wallace, 85, former publisher of The Brooke County Review, passed away March 24, 2020, at UPMC – Passavant in McCandless, PA.

He was born Jan. 18, 1935, in Lynchburg, VA, the son of the late John William George and Dora Adam Wallace. He was educated at E. C. Glass High School in Lynchburg, Lynchburg College and Ohio University.

He began his newspaper career in Danville, VA, in 1957, where he was sports editor of the Danville Bee afternoon daily. He was publisher of the Brooke News and Follansbee Review, which merged to form The Brooke County Review, from 1987-2014.

He worked in both broadcasting and daily newspapers until 1964 when he was hired by the capital fundraising firm of Ketchum Inc. in Pittsburgh, PA. Clients included Thiel College, Mt. Mercy Academy, the Mansfield Branch of Ohio State University and hospitals in Missouri, Nebraska, Michigan and Wheeling.

Between newspaper stints, Wallace worked in charitable fund raising for a number of colleges and medical centers as well as United Ways in Michigan. He came to West Virginia as executive director of the United Way of the Upper Ohio Valley in Wheeling, a position he held for five years. He followed that as executive director of the Ohio Valley Medical Center Foundation in Wheeling.

Wallace took an extensive interest in the American Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor, a group of survivors of the capture of the Philippine Islands by the Japanese during World War II.

He worked with his wife, Mary Kay, who was librarian at the Brooke County Public Library, and many interested local citizens to develop an extensive collection of materials relating to the Bataan Death March where 16,000 of the 70,000 who were forced to make the 55-mile march in the most inhumane conditions perished. Among them were 600 Americans.

Thanks to Wallace’s efforts that largely forgotten segment of the USA’s military heroes are no longer forgotten. The museum adjacent to the library in Wellsburg serves as a reminder of the courage of American’s servicemen and women and the hardship they endured in defense of the nation’s freedom.

Wallace served on the board of the American Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor Museum, Education and Research Center in Wellsburg and as editor of the survivor group’s international publication, “The Quan,” from 200-6-12. The quarterly publication informs, entertains and assures the 4500 members of the ADB&C and its descendants are current on news relating to the organization’s activities, veterans’ services and ongoing legislation that impacts the veterans’ lives.

He served as a member and assistant public affairs director of the West Virginia Employer Support of the Guard and Reserves, an organization supporting volunteer National Guard and Reserves military, from 1995-2012. He received the Department of Defense-sponsored Seven Seals Award in 2005.

Wallace was a U. S. Navy veteran serving from February 1952-October 1960 with the Aviation Division.

Wallace served as an elder and trustee of Wellsburg Christian Church and was a current member of St. Ferdinand’s Church in Cranberry, PA. He had served on the Wellsburg Planning Commission.

He served as a board member, treasurer and vice president of weekly newspapers of the West Virginia Press Association. He was the organization’s president in 1999-2000. Until 2017, he was a trustee and vice president of the West Virginia Press Association Foundation, which provides training, internships and scholarships for working journalists and those interested in pursuing careers in the field. After his retirement, he was named Trustee Emeritus of the foundation.

In 2011, Wallace was accorded the Adam R. Kelly Premier Journalist Award, the press association’s highest individual honor. The award was named for the late Adam R. Kelly, former owner and editor of the Tyler Star News in Sistersville, who was also known as the “Country Editor” and nationally recognized for his service to newspapers. The honor is given for service to the newspaper industry, the press association and the honoree’s community.

“George was always an advocate for the press association, the newspaper industry and the Brooke County community, donating his time, money and expertise to advance all three,” said Jim McGoldrick, current publisher of The Review. “I know of no one who has been more worthy of that honor that George was.”

Wallace was accorded a lifetime membership in the press association in further recognition of his outstanding service to the newspaper industry.

He was currently living with his wife in New Sewickley Township, PA.

He is survived by his wife, Mary Kay Hartmann Wallace, whom he married Aug. 15, 1987; daughter, Barbara of Fort Myers, FL; son, John of Delaware, OH; stepson and daughter-in-law, Eric and Tonya Sipes of Zelienople, PA; and brother-in-law, Dr. Al Hartmann of Round Rock, TX.

Memorial contributions can be made to the ADBC Museum in Wellsburg, the West Virginia Press Association Foundation, Wellsburg Christian Church and St. John The Evangelist Parish Elevator Fund in Wellsburg.

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