NORWAY - Wallace C. Evance, "Dede," 86, of Norway, died unexpectedly Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014, at his home.
He was born in Norway on March 8, 1927, the son of the late Caesar and Inez (Hinds) Evance.
Wallace served his country in the U.S. Navy during World War II. He joined the Navy in April 1945. He served in the Seabees (Naval Construction Battalion). He was in Guam, scheduled for the invasion, when the war ended. He was also on Tinian and Saipan Islands. He made a lifetime friend during his service time - Elmer (EJ) Everson; they even got the same tatoos together at the same time. The "best buddies" flew to Washington D.C. this past Sept. 18, courtesy of the Honor Flight.
Wallace made a new friend on Honor Flight 5, his guardian for the flight Jim Tardiff. So this trip was with old friends and new. Wally said it was one of the most memorable experiences of his life. He was a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and the American Legion.
He married Shirley Stanaway on June 12, 1948, at Grace United Methodist Church in Norway. They then moved to Chicago, where he attended Allied Trade School to obtain a machinist certificate. They moved back to Norway and Wallace worked for General Controls. He joined the National Guard and attended an army school at Aberdeen, Md. He returned home upon completion of his training and enjoyed his road trip home, as Shirley had flown out for his graduation. They shared 65 years of marriage and Wally often told his family what a blessing his wife Shirley was in his life.
He later attended Northern Michigan University and graduated cum laude in 1967 with a degree in education at the age of 40. Following graduation, he was employed by Bark River-Harris Schools, Breitung Township Schools (history and machine shop), and then retired in December 1986 from the Dickinson-Iron Intermediate School District (machine tool and electrical occupations).
Wallace lived a full life. Upon retirement, he and his wife wintered in Pine Island, Fla., for 10 years. They made many friends and had many memorable times there. He purchased a boat and spent much time on the water. He did fish, but it was just being on the water he enjoyed most; he loved water, so this fulfilled one of his dreams.
Dede spent the rest of his days keeping busy and was never bored. He commented many times the he "couldn't find enough time in the day." All his life he had quite a few projects going. He loved working on his computer and wanted to know how the internal components worked as well as using it. He loved technology and was superb at understanding how things worked. He loved learning and felt having a good education was one of the most important things a person could possess. He continued learning until the time of his passing.
He loved wildlife, nature and animals. He adopted his grandson's two dogs and spoiled them by heating up their bread before he gave it to them. He enjoyed bird watching, fed the birds, and tried to teach his generations of "kids" to learn the names of different birds. One of his great accomplishments was that he tamed two red squirrels (he could hold them and pet them). Growing up, Wallace spent a great deal of time with his dad in the outdoors. His dad was an avid hunter and fisherman. Wallace commented many times that as an adolescent he realized that although he was skilled in hunting, he found he didn't like to kill the animals and so just started enjoying watching them.
He had a brilliant mind and could memorize a great deal of material. Even in his late 80s he would quote a chapter of the Bible or out of Shakespeare. He loved English and vocabulary, was a history buff and an avid reader.
Dede was also handy, he could fix everything. He was a mix of an academic and a mechanic. He built his own home entirely on his own. He had amazing abilities and assumed everyone could do the same; he didn't know he had special abilities and talents.
Wallace is survived by his wife, Shirley (affectionately called "My Lady"); his daughters, Beth (Bill) Marchetti, Jean (Roger) Board, and Mona (Patrick) Servia; his grandchildren, Alissa Marchetti (Dave Johnson), Tara Board, Amanda Board, Dione Parker (Eric Paulitch), and Chuck Parker; great-grandchildren, Evan Marchetti, Alexis Board, Madison Haley, Haley Clifford, Nathan Paulitch, Mackenzie Clifford, Matthew Paulitch, Tyler Parker and Caitlin Parker.
Wallace's biggest priority in life was family, and his family was very important to him.
Wallace was preceded in death by his parents, Caesar and Inez Evance; his beloved brother, Robert K. Evance and Robert's daughters, Heidi Williams and Mona Pearl Evance.
Visitation will be Friday, Feb. 21, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Ortman Funeral Home in Norway.
Funeral services will be celebrated Friday at 1 p.m. at the funeral home.
Interment will follow at the Norway Township Cemetery.
Condolences to the family of Wallace may be expressed online at www.ortmanfuneralhome.com.
Arrangements announced by the Ortman Funeral Home in Norway.