Gaylord James Wallace was born to Rial and Marjorie (Riley) Wallace on October 17, 1923 on the Kelly Farm near Milford in Barton County, MO. The family lived for a short time in Excelsior Springs before moving back down to the Jericho Springs area around 1933. Gaylord went to various one room schools in the area and completed the 8th grade in 1937. At the age of 14, he started working as a farmhand in order to provide for his mother and siblings. Gaylord signed up to join the U.S. Army on February 23, 1943 at the age of 19. He became a dozer operator with the 1st Army, 6th Engineer Special Brigade and Company D 149th Combat Engineers. He was part of the 2nd wave to hit Normandy Beach on June 6th, 1944 and technically the 1st dozer to reach the beach. He was in the Battle of the Bulge in December of 1944. His unit was awarded 5 battle stars for 5 campaigns in Europe. He saw a lot of things, as did all of the soldiers in Europe at that time. He was proud of his service to his country but rarely spoke of what happened and what he saw while he was in the military. He was discharged from the Army on November 27, 1945 and was awarded the Croix De Guerre for his contribution on D-Day. He came back to the United States through Ellis Island and Battery Park in New York City. He hitchhiked his way back to Missouri and began farming.
Gaylord met Donna Wright in July of 1948 when Gaylord asked his best friend to help set him up with Donna. They married on November 24, 1948 in Jericho Springs, MO. To this union were born four children, Lonnie, Jim, Sandra and David. Gaylord loved to work on the farm and work with animals. He loved having a big garden and eating watermelon and fresh tomatoes. He worked hard in order to provide for his family. He was well respected in the community and loved by his family, friends and neighbors.
Gaylord passed away surrounded by his family on April 18th, 2021 at the age of 97 years, 6 months, and 1 day. He was interred at Brasher Cemetery near Jericho Springs, MO.
Gaylord is preceded in death by his parents, son-in-law Sam, and brothers Kenneth, and Richard. Left to mourn his passing are his wife of 72 years, his four children and 3 daughters-in-law, 11 grandchildren, 24 great grandchildren, 20 great-great grandchildren and 4 sisters, many nieces, and nephews and dear family friends.