Bernadine Marie Wallace
January 18, 1951 – March 20, 2020
On March 20, 2020 Bernadine Marie Wallace (Bea) left us to join her Mama in heaven. She was separated from her mother for just under a year, the longest separation in Bea’s sixty-nine years. In her last two years, Bea dealt with the challenges of adjusting to life in a group home and then losing her mother, with her characteristic approach to life. First, she put up something of a small fuss then she made her peace with her circumstances and made the best of her blessings.
Bernadine was born on January 18, 1951 to Berta Lee Boeker Wallace and Lawrence Dean Wallace in Houston, Texas. A nurse suggested the name because it was a joining of both parents' names. For the first few months, the family lived at her Grandma Boeker’s house. In the spring of ‘51, the family moved household and dairy to Schurmier Rd in Houston. Bea lived in this home until the fall of 2018.
Bea started school at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel but it was quickly clear that regular school would not provide what she needed. She always worked hard to learn what school offered. First at Henderson Elementary, then at Hartman Junior High and finally Ross Sterling High School where she graduated in 1969. Bea took away basic reading, writing, and arithmetic skills and put them to good use.
After participating in a sheltered workshop Bea moved further out into the world of work. For a number of years, she worked in food service jobs at the Exxon Building in downtown Houston, the Piccadilly cafeteria in Almeda Mall and at Hobby airport. Bea was a reliable worker who showed up for work every day and on time. Nothing worried her more than that she might be late for work. After the airport job ended, Bea’s main job was being Mama’s hands and feet. Berta’s handicap was challenging but Bea was there to get the food from the freezer, put the laundry into the washing machine and dryer, even stirring the batter for the annual fruit cake when that got too hard.
Special Olympics were an important part of Bea’s life for many years. She participated in bowling, basketball, and bocce ball. Track and field was one of her best events, bringing home lots of medals especially in walking. Bea and her Mother did almost everything together. They went to water aerobics at the Y, to Garden Club meetings, and on trips with Generation Seniors at Mount Carmel. Weekly Mass was especially important to both of them. Bea participated by carrying the Offertory gifts and ushering during Mass.
Bea was never shy. She felt comfortable speaking with people and was happy to greet people she didn’t know. She also knew how to ask for what she needed and didn’t hesitate to ask questions when she was confused. She kept her sisters and her nieces and nephews up to date on everyone’s family news. You could count on Bea for a like on every Facebook post. Her sisters will miss her keeping the family circle tight.
The family is grateful for all the people who worked with Bea and made her life so complete. From school, to MHMR social events, to Special Olympics, and to the coworkers who showed Bea the ropes. For the last eighteen months, Bea has lived in an ICS group home and participated in daily activities at The Joyful Learning Center. She was secure and happy with a regular routine so that she didn’t have to worry because she knew someone would always be there for her.
Bea is survived by her sisters and brothers’ in-law: Patricia Ann and Michael Stevens (Sandy Spring, MD), Cheryl Lauren and Brad Boothby (Pearland, TX), Donna Lee and Gilbert Padilla (Spring, TX) and Mary Ellen Wallace (Houston, TX). One of Bea’s greatest joys was her interaction with her nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews. All of them will feel her loss greatly.
In lieu of flowers the family kindly asks that donations be made in Bea's honor to: The Special Olympics-Greater Houston Area at https://give.specialolympics.org/page/contribute/texas19 or Treasures of Joy, 15302 Steubner-Airline Rd, Suite D, Houston, TX 77069.
- Special Olympics-Greater Houston Area
No services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
Bernadine Marie Wallace
March 28, 2020
As a 5 or 6 yr old boy arriving at “ Aunt Bertalee’s the only person more excited than me was Bea. She along with my cousins made me feel so welcome. Looking back it’s kind of like I was a puppy n Bea was excited to play with me. Being the puppy I was so excited also . These last few years I have enjoyed following her endeavors on FB. I am thankful God chose to give her such a wonderful family. I thank you all for sharing the bowling, special Olympic s, and “girl days”. I love you all. Mike
March 27, 2020
I have many pleasant memories of Bea and Berta at Garden Club and on Garden Club trips.
I was so sorry to hear that Bea had passed but feel that she is happy to be reunited with her mom.
March 27, 2020
Ms Bea I sure am going to miss that smiling beautiful face of yours. You put the sun in Sunshine. God blessed me 10-fold bringing you into my life. What a blast we had on our State Bowling tournaments out of town trips for Special Olympics, you made them fun filled. I want to thank you for letting me coach and cheer you on since you joined Joyful. Thank you for being one of our Treasured Treasures. Rest in Peace Ms Bea. I will forever cherish the memories and the love you gave me. Love Coach Sue
March 27, 2020
Bea you will be missed. You were such a joy and pleasure to know. I will never forget how sweet you were and all the hugs I received from you when I worked for ICS. I know you're in your final resting place with our heavenly father and may the lord bless and keep your family during this time.
March 25, 2020
I met Ms. Bea 18 months ago when she began attending JOYful Learning Center. She also participated in our Special Olympics team and our bimonthly Game Nights. She was one of our Treasures and we loved her dearly. Every day when she arrived at JOYful she waited by the door to help others, with less mobility than herself, putting up lunch kits and making sure she spoke to everyone. She never failed to give me a hug before she went to class. God gave her the gift of service and she fulfilled His purpose for her with such love and humility. My mom works with me and spent many, almost daily, conversations talking about her past work and how she took care of her dear Momma. It has been an honor for the Treasures of JOY family to call her friend.