Early Years as an Orphan Turns into a Lifetime of Accomplishment
By Judie Holcomb-Pack
“I went from a family of five to a family of 550,” Wallace B. Maultsby shared when asked about growing up in Thomasville. “My mother could not take care of five children,” he explained. His dad died in 1932 and on August 3, 1933, he went to live at the Mills Home, the Baptist Children’s Home in Thomasville.
Wallace, a spry 91-year-old, was born in Columbus County, N.C. He lived for 11 years in one of the 17 cottages at the Mills Home, starting with first grade until he graduated in May 1944. After school he went into the military, serving at the Naval Air Station in Florida for 29 months and five days, being discharged in 1946. While in the Navy, he taught swimming and played football, basketball and baseball.
Using the G.I. Bill, Wallace went to Guilford College, graduating in 1950, where he played four sports and was elected president of both freshman and senior classes. He attended graduate school at UNC-Chapel Hill. Wallace met his wife, Virginia, when both were attending Guilford College and they married in 1950 at Ardmore United Methodist Church.
Wallace taught social studies and coached sports, then went to work for McLean Trucking Company in 1952. He and his wife lived in five different states over 32 years. When McLean Trucking went out of business, he continued to work for other trucking companies until age 62, when he retired. He and his wife moved from Troy to Winston-Salem to help take care of his wife’s mother. Retirement became “semi-retired” as he worked (and played golf) at Long Creek Golf Course for 18 years. Virginia developed Alzheimer’s and Wallace cared for her until her death.
Even at the age of 91, retirement isn’t in Wallace’s plans. Since 1989 when he joined Maple Springs United Methodist Church, he has volunteered almost every day. He serves as president of the Sunday School class, sets up tables and chairs for meetings, and volunteers in their food pantry three days a week. In 1953, the Women’s Club sponsored a men’s pie and cake contest and his father-in-law challenged him to enter. He did and won first place and has been baking ever since. He makes pound cakes to give away to people he feels need a spiritual lift and has given away over 20 cakes since the first of this year.
Wallace is proud of the fact that he takes no medications. He tributes his longevity to healthy eating, staying busy, getting up early, and trust in the Lord. Even at 91, he says he is still growing religiously and spiritually.
On August 3 there will be a reunion of his “family” in Thomasville and he’s looking forward to attending and seeing his former roommates. Look for Wallace to be in the middle of it all, smiling and welcoming each and every person back “home.”
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