Myers-Reed Chapel

3729 25th Street, Columbus, IN


Wallace Cantrell Jr.

January 24, 1939August 15, 2020
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Wallace (Wally) Cantrell Jr., 81, was born January 24, 1939 in West Liberty, KY and passed away peacefully on Saturday, August 15, 2020 at Our Hospice of South Central Indiana, Columbus, IN, after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease with Lewy Body dementia. After graduation from Morgan County High School in Morgan County, KY, Wally received a degree in Elementary Education from Borea College, Borea, KY. He completed his master’s degree in Elementary Education at St. Catherine’s Catholic University in Louisville, KY. Wally taught elementary school for eight years in Kentucky and then joined the local Uniserv Association as a staff member for two years. Wally moved to Indiana in 1972 and accepted the position of Director for the Indiana State Teachers Association (ISTA). In 1997 Wally was promoted to the Uniserv Manager for ISTA in Kokomo, IN and in 2000 he accepted the role of Assistant Executive Director of the ISTA. Wally retired in 2006 to spend time with his family and grandchildren. However, he continued his lifelong passion for education by serving in a consultant role for ISTA for years was involved in his church, community, education, and other activities. His servant heart was recognized when he was awarded the Sagamore of the Wabash and appointed a Kentucky Colonel. Wally and his wife, Sandy, enjoyed traveling and watching or attending events of his favorite teams, the Cincinnati Reds, Indianapolis Colts, Indianapolis Pacers, University of Kentucky Basketball and the Indy 500. He was united in marriage to Sandra (Speer) Kirts on January 16, 1999, who survives. He is also survived by his two sons Randy (Denise) and Matthew, both of Chino Hills, CA and two step-daughters Stephanie (Kirts) Johnson (Randy, Columbus, IN and Shannon (Kirts) Hickey (Sam), Morgantown, IN and nine grandsons: Corey Wallace Knapp (Josh), Corona, CA; Kalen Cantrell, San Diego, CA; Quinlan Cantrell, Keeton Cantrell, Chino Hills, CA; Joshua Johnson and Jordan Johnson, Columbus, IN; Caleb Hickey, Connor Hickey and Corban Wallace Hickey, Morgantown, IN. Wally is also survived by the two of his seven siblings, sisters Thelma Dulin (John), Troy, OH and Lois Jones (Bill), West Liberty, KY; numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and the mother of his children Diane (Wyatt) Cantrell, Nashville, IN. Wally was proceeded in death by his parents, John and Minnie (Wright) Cantrell, brothers, Ronnie Hershel Cantrell, Bonnie Hargis Cantrell and Vonnie Woodrow Cantrell and 2 infant siblings. A private family memorial service will be conducted on Saturday August 22nd at Myers-Reed Chapel, 3729 25th St, Columbus, IN 47203. Memorials, in lieu of flowers, may be directed to the funeral home for Our Hospice of South Central Indiana or Parkinson’s Foundation. Online condolences may be left at www.myers-reed.com. Myers~Reed Chapel is serving the Cantrell family.


  • Sandra Kirts Cantrell, Wife
  • Randy (Denise) Cantrell, Son
  • Matthew Cantrell, Son
  • Stephanie (Randy) Johnson, Step-daughter
  • Shannon (Sam) Hickey, Step-daughter
  • Corey Wallace (Josh) Knapp, Grandchild
  • Kalen Cantrell, Grandchild
  • Quinlan Cantrell, Grandchild
  • Keeton Cantrell, Grandchild
  • Joshua Johnson, Grandchild
  • Jordan Johnson, Grandchild
  • Caleb Hickey, Grandchild
  • Connor Hickey, Grandchild
  • Corban Wallace Hickey, Grandchild
  • Thelma (John) Dulan, Sister
  • Lois (Bill) Jones, Sister
  • Numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.

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  • Our Hospice of South Central Indiana
  • Parkinson's Foundation


  • Memorial Service

    Saturday, August 22, 2020



Wallace Cantrell Jr.

have a memory or condolence to add?

Candy Carpenter

August 20, 2020

Wally gave tirelessly of his time and Herculean efforts to improve the lives of teachers and students in southeastern Indiana schools!! He was the ultimate well-spoken professional, always prepared and giving 100 percent effort to whatever task was at hand. Wally became the most respected and effective teacher spokesperson in Indiana. His patience, caring, intelligence, hard-work, and commitment to bettering the lives of teachers were enviable. I often marveled at how well he presented the cases which he had prepared!
Hasta la vista, mi amigo!

Valerie Conner

August 20, 2020

In 1997 I needed a job. Wally took a chance on me and hired me for the best job I ever had. Earlier Bill Gist wrote what a good manager Wally was. I completely agree. He was tough but fair: what we want in managers, leaders, and teachers. He was one of the good ones and will be missed.

Lynne Fleming

August 20, 2020

Wally was the Uniserv Director when I first met him. I was supporting our bargaining team and, later, served on several bargaining teams with him. He was smart, strategic and professional at all times. He always had the best interests of educators and education in the forefront of his mind when working on behalf of CEA.
Later in life we were members of the same church. Again, I saw his commitment to people in action. However, this time, his loyalty was mixed with a love of God. Wally always had a smile on his face and a twinkle in his eye.
Sandy was a wonderful presence in his life. I was so happy when I heard they were getting married. She was a rock as illness robbed him of his vitality. He was fortunate to have her by his side.
God bless you, and comfort you, Sandy. To Wally's sons, I know he loved you. Be proud of the life he lived. He touched many people and their lives are better for the touch.

Jan Brock

August 19, 2020

Wally was a mentor and friend for many years. He was one of the nicest men I knew and I have many fond memories of our working together for over 20 years. My prayers are with his entire family at this time.

Brenda Reed

August 19, 2020

Sandy, I’d like to extend my deepest sympathy to you and your family. Although I didn’t work directly for Wally, it was a privilege to have known him.

Dennis Bourquein

August 19, 2020

A farewell THANKS to Wally for all he did for teachers. There was never anyone who did as much. So sorry that he is no longer with us.

Scott and Shirley Cantrell

August 19, 2020

Uncle Wallace was very kind caring hearted person. He will be miss. Our prayers and thoughts are with family.🙏

Marie Giese

August 19, 2020

Dear Sandy and family,
I am so sorry for your loss and for the loss all of his friends and and co-workers are feeling. To say he was a great guy is such an understatement. He was kind, warm, caring and so helpful to all of the staff of ISTA. I feel privileged to have known and worked with him.

Gene Emerson

August 19, 2020

I would like to extend to Sandy and all the members of Wally's family my sincere sympathy and prayers for the loss of Wally. Wally was a great friend, a former colleague and someone that will be truly missed by anyone that ever came in contact with him. I will always remember the last call we shared. His suffering is over and may he rest in peace. Sincerely good friend.

Tammy Linder

August 19, 2020

Sending big hugs and all my love to my extended family. What an amazing legacy this kind soul has left us. Im thankful for the memories our families share. Wally was always warm and welcoming. He will be missed by many. So thankful i was able to nab one last hug this spring❤


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