Bert Wallace
Bert Wallace
  • December 15, 1934 - April 1, 2014
  • River Ridge, Louisiana

Share This Obituary

Bert Wallace, beloved husband, father, grandfather, friend, coach, Marine, and mentor to many, passed away at home on April 1, 2014 after an extended illness which he battled courageously. He is survived by his loving wife, Ann Matthews who he cherished for 30 years. It was an inspiring love and marriage and they were inseparable from the day they first met. His family was always his number one priority. He was a proud father to his two sons, Bryan Moser Wallace (Candice) of New Orleans and Michael Arthur Wallace (Lauren) of Atlanta, who predeceased him in 2013, and his two granddaughters who were the light of his life, Neely Elizabeth and Rylie Kole Wallace. He is also survived by his mother in law, Patricia Matthews of Jackson, MS, brothers in law Robert S. Matthews (Jenny) of Memphis, TN, and John E. Matthews (Deanna) of Jackson, MS, nephews, Robby, Ryan, and John Matthews, niece Addie Matthews, and many many treasured friends and business colleagues.
Bert was President Emeritus of the LSU Health Sciences Center Foundation, and over the years, he served the interests of the LSUHSC in a number of capacities. In 1991, he became the first President and CEO of the Foundation. With his drive and vision, and drawing on his early career as a successful pharmaceutical sales manager with Lederle Laboratories and the relationships he developed in that industry, he grew the Foundation into a vital source of funding support for the Health Sciences Center. He established the LSU Biomedical Research Fund and the Pfizer Awards, recognizing excellence among LSUHSC faculty and staff. Bert negotiated the licensing agreement to establish St. Charles Pharmaceuticals -- the first biotech spin-off company in New Orleans. He served the Health Sciences Center until 2011 when he became President and CEO of the Louisiana Cancer Research Consortium. Most recently, Bert turned his talents to establishing a fund-raising entity at the LCRC to build an endowment supporting the pursuit of a National Cancer Institute designation. Bert also served as a Board Member of the American Academy of Neurology Foundation, the Atlanta Baseball Foundation, and numerous other organizations.
Bert was born in Wichita, Kansas and was the only child of Albert Lucien Wallace and Sybil Thornberry Wallace. They lived there just a few short months before moving to Texas where the family's roots ran deep. Growing up on a ranch in West Texas, and later in Odessa, Bert was proud of his heritage and his son and granddaughter are namesakes of his great, great grandfather, John Neely Bryan, who founded Dallas.
Baseball was in Bert's blood, having been the highlight of his childhood, through high school and then college. He entered SMU on a baseball scholarship where he was a letterman, and later, assistant coach. Following his graduation from SMU, Bert entered OCS at Quantico, Virginia where he became an officer in the United States Marine Corps. He maintained lifelong ties with his unit, affectionately known as "The Herd" with whom he served in Okinawa and the Western Pacific.
Bert was a long time volunteer coach of many youth sports programs, but his love of baseball was the inspiration for him as a founding member of the Atlanta Baseball Foundation which today is one of the premier programs for 16-18 year old young men and has produced many major league players.
While his roots were in Texas, and his career took him to several other cities, Bert considered New Orleans, where he lived for the last 30 years, "home". He first came to New Orleans in 1983 as an Associate General Partner developing The Ramada Hotel on the corner of Canal and Claiborne (formerly Delta Towers) which, when it opened in 1984 in time for the World's Fair, was the largest hotel project in the City and the largest Ramada Hotel in the world. Bert had a positive influence on everyone he met. The 700 plus employees at the Ramada had a strong loyalty and respect for him, and many continued to seek his guidance and friendship long after he moved on to his next career venture.
Bert lived his life with passion, dignity, honor, integrity and meaning. His character will always serve as a shining example to those who knew him and his endearing sense of humor was just one more reason he was loved and respected.
The family wishes to thank the many LSU and Touro Physicians and staff who treated and passionately cared for him throughout his illness. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Bert Wallace Chair in Biomedical Research at the LSUHSC Foundation, the Louisiana Cancer Research Center, or the Atlanta Baseball Foundation.
Relatives and friends of the family are invited to attend the Funeral Service on Saturday, April 5, 2014 at 12:00 pm at St. Joseph Church, 1802 Tulane Avenue in New Orleans. Visitation will be held on Friday evening, April 4, 2014 from 4:00 pm until 7:00 pm at Garden of Memories Funeral Home, 4900 Airline Drive in Metairie and on Saturday morning at the church from 10:00 am until service time. Interment will be in Garden of Memories Cemetery.