Carey Ellen Wallace
Carey Ellen Wallace
  • December 21, 1926 - December 22, 2017
  • Dallas, Texas

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Remembering Carey Ellen Blackwell Wallace

Carey made her grand entrance into the world as the first black baby born at Vanderbilt University Hospital, Nashville, TN on December 21, 1926. She was the 5th of 10 children born to James Henry and Susie Lee (Wright) Blackwell. The nurses were so excited, they all wanted to name the baby after themselves. And so she was named Carey Ellen Polly Henrietta (her mom added Henrietta after an aunt) Gwendolyn Ruth Thryza Blackwell.

She was a product of the Nashville Public School System. After high school, Carey attended Tennessee State University (TSU), the first of her siblings to attend college.

After graduating from TSU with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Education, Carey started working at Fisk University in the registrar's office where she met the love of her life, Theodore "Teddy" Wallace, just back from a tour with the U.S. Navy and in his freshman year at Fisk. After his graduation, they married on June 12, 1949, then moved to Texas.

To this union of nearly 56 years, three children were born - Teddy Jr., Joy Linnet and Phyllis Alecia.

Carey was a life long member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. She was inducted into the Sorority, Epsilon Alpha Chapter, at TSU in 1946. After moving to Dallas, she joined Kappa Zeta Chapter were she held a number of leadership positions included President. In 1996, she was awarded recognition for 50 years of continuous service to the Sorority.

Carey was active in a number of community service organizations including the National Council of Negro Women, Metropolitan Dallas Chapter where she was a life member and served as Treasurer.

She began her career as an educator in Richardson ISD, moved to Dallas ISD, earned a Master of Liberal Arts Degree in Education from Southern Methodist University and concluded her career at W. A. Blair Elementary School, where she was honored as Teacher of the Year in 1983.

Carey had a heart and spirit to serve. Her most important service and commitment was to her church, Faith Cumberland Presbyterian Church in America where she was the last living charter member. Her service extended to almost every ministry within the church and beyond to the regional and national levels.

Carey was a fashion diva who always wore hats, "a peculiar convergence of faith and fashion that keeps the Sabbath both holy and glamorous" (from Crowns: Portraits of Black Women in Church Hats).

Carey was an amazing wife, mother, grandmother, great grandmother, daughter, sister, aunt, teacher and beloved friend. She was preceded in death by her parents, siblings, husband and daughter, Phyllis Wallace Dunn. She leaves to cherish her memory, son, Theodore Jr. (Pam); daughter, Joy; grandchildren, Marc Wallace (Julie) of Houston, TX, Meredith Johnson of Dallas, TX and Christopher Wallace (Kristi) of Norfolk, VA; great grandchildren, sisters in law, Katie Blackwell of Waldorf, MD, Johnnye Blackwell of Oakland, CA and Elizabeth Blackwell of San Diego, CA. as well as a host of nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.