Marie Wallace lived a long and fulfilling life until she left us in the early morning hours of October 27, 2007. Marie was the second of seven children born of James A. Cook and Cecilia Rushing Cook. Born November 17, 1921, for the next 11 years her life was that of any normal little girl until her father died, and she had to assume a partial parental role for her 5 younger siblings. She graduated from Groveton High School in 1939 and finished Sam Houston State Teacher's college in 1942 with a degree in Business Administration and a teaching certificate. She began teaching at the high school in China, Texas the following September. Her early teaching career lasted only one year when she met and married Robert Wallace in June 1943. As the wife of a rice farmer, she worked as a homemaker for the next 14 years, 1957 was a momentous year. In January, her only son, John Robert was born and in August, her husband Robert died of a massive heart attack.
She ran the rice farm until 1967 when she was recruited back into teaching at China Elementary School. She was persuaded the following year to begin her first major adventure. Her Sister was stationed with her husband at Anderson Air Force Base in Guam. She was discovered a great teaching opportunity for Marie in Guam. So, in 1968, Marie moved to Guam an island in the middle of the Pacific. Living on a tropical island, and traveling through the Pacific, allowed her to indulge in her passion for flowers. She served there for two years before returning to Texas in 1970. She resumed her teaching career in Beaumont Texas where she worked until retirement in 1989. Not yet ready to completely retire, she served as a missionary teacher for the next three years in American Samoa. Complications due to diabetes forced her into permanent retirement in 1992.
Her missionary service was the culmination of a long life of service to her church. She served as GA director, Sunday school teacher, Vacation bible school superintendent, and choir director. She was in church whenever the doors were open whether it be Sunday morning or evening, Wednesday night, revivals, or any other church activity. This devotion to the church extended to wherever she lived ending with the First Baptist Church in Altus. As an extension of her devotion to God, Marie served as a "second" mother to several children around the world.
She was limited during her last years by the physical manifestations of Diabetes. She lost parts of both legs, and her eyesight was severely limited. She never lost her concern for her church or for others around her.
She spent her last years at Plantation Village Assisted living center and nursing home. during this time she blessed those around her by visiting with the other residents daily and serving as their voice with the administration as a member of the resident council. She attended church each Sunday when possible up to the last week of her life.
She is preceded in death by her brothers William L. Cook and William Alfred " Fred" Cook and one sister Pauline Cook. she is survived by her son, John Wallace and his wife, Candace, of Tujunga, CA., one grandson, three great grandchildren, and sisters Cecilia Miller and her husband Walter H. Miller of Altus, Margie Billings of Nacogdoches, TX, and one brother James H. Cook and his wife Nelda of Arlington, VA. She also leaves behind numerous nieces and nephews, including Mindy Smiley and her family of Altus, Jean Marie Meacham and her family, also of Altus, and a number of "adopted" kids. In addition, she is survived by numerous step brothers and sisters from the marriage of her mother to R.L. Browning after the death of her father. Marie served as an example of love, generosity and kindness to all who knew her.
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