Madessa L. Wallace, 83, principal, educator

October 06, 2003

Madessa L. Wallace, a retired principal of Gwynns Falls Elementary School and longtime city educator, died Wednesday of respiratory failure at Sinai Hospital. She was 83 and lived in Reisterstown.

She was born Madessa Hill in Baltimore, and graduated from Frederick Douglass High School in 1938 and Coppin Teachers College in 1943. She earned a master's degree in education from New York University in 1949.

Mrs. Wallace held teaching and administrative positions in the Baltimore school district. In 1963, she became an assistant principal at Public School No. 103. Three years later, she was promoted to principal of the former Ashburton Elementary. When she retired in 1981, Mrs. Wallace was principal of Gwynns Falls Elementary.

"She loved her students," recalled her daughter, Karen Townes of Reisterstown. "She was an educator 24 hours a day."

Mrs. Wallace's husband, Thomas, who also worked as a teacher and administrator in Baltimore, died in 1998, just before what would have been their 50th wedding anniversary.

Mrs. Wallace was active in many social and professional organizations, including the Maryland State Teachers Association and the National Association of Elementary School Principals.

For more than 60 years, she was an active member of Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, 1300 N. Druid Hill Ave., where a funeral is planned for 12:30 p.m. tomorrow.

In addition to her daughter, Mrs. Wallace is survived by a sister, Hazel Givens of Baltimore, and three granddaughters.

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