Cover photo for David Harold Wallace's Obituary
David Harold Wallace Profile Photo

David Harold Wallace

December 24, 1926 — May 5, 2024

Frederick

David Harold Wallace

David Harold Wallace passed away peacefully on Sunday, May 5 at the age of 97. Born in Baltimore, December 24, 1926, he was the son of Paul A.W. Wallace of Toronto, Canada, and Dorothy Clarke Wallace of Llandudno, Wales. He grew up in Annville, Pennsylvania, where his father was on the faculty at Lebanon Valley College.

 After graduating from Annville High School, he served in the U.S. Army Signal Corps at the end of World War II, from 1945 to 1947, before attending Lebanon Valley College and later Columbia University, where he completed a Ph.D. in American History and met his first wife, Evelyn Schmitt Wallace, mother of his three children, John, Anne, and Edith.

He began his career as a historian and museum curator at The New York Historical Society, where he coedited the Dictionary of American Artists (1957). He also authored John Rogers: The Peoples Sculptor (1967).  The rest of his career was spent with the National Park Service, at Independence Hall in Philadelphia (1957-1968), and at the Harpers Ferry Interpretive Design Center, which brought him and his family to Frederick in 1968.  In the last decade of his career, he completed plans for refurnishing historic structures at sites throughout the National Park Service, including the lighthouse keepers’ quarters at Cape Hatteras, NC, and Apostle Islands, WI; and an early ranger’s cabin at Denali National Park, AK; as well as reconstructing historic libraries at the homes of such national figures as Martin Luther King, Jr., Eleanor Roosevelt, and Dwight Eisenhower. 

In his private life, he volunteered his time for local history projects as well, indexing and transcriber of historical diaries and local history publications, including hundreds for the C. Burr Artz Maryland Room as well as compiling 4500 African American obituaries from Frederick newspapers. He also produced several local history publications for the Historical Society of Frederick County and a 200-year history of Frederick’s All Saints Episcopal Church.  He supported the restoration of Tolson’s Chapel in Sharpsburg, MD, and bequeathed a wealth of detailed family history to his extended family, including a recent biography of a somewhat notorious former sheriff of London (who happily turned out not to be part of the family after all!).

He loved classical music and opera, singing as a tenor in church choirs and chorales in Philadelphia and Frederick, and supporting the local classical music community and visual artists in Frederick and Hagerstown by attending concerts, donating to events, and purchasing work by local artists. He also loved books. He was Annville’s first librarian at the age of 13, and was both a reader and a collector. He organized a large annual book sale for the support of St. John’s at Prospect Hall and assisted with All Saints’ annual sale for many years.  After retirement, he worked part-time at the former Square Corner Bookstore in downtown Frederick and as an editor for University Publishers, formerly located in the old Hendrickson’s building.  He also loved to travel, on his own and with family, crisscrossing the United States to various NPS sites for work and pleasure, cruising the Caribbean, and traveling in Canada and England tracing family history.

He became known by many in his later years as an avid birder, strolling the paths of Baker Park recording his daily sightings and generously sharing his knowledge with others.  He was an active member of the Frederick Bird Club and participated in multiple bird surveys each year. He began his love of birdwatching at the age of 10 and carried on through his last days, watching from his window at Tranquillity of Fredericktowne. 

Following the loss of his first wife Evelyn in 1981, he married Margaret Rudisill Quynn of Frederick, who died in 2006. He was also preceded in death by his parents, his brother Anthony F.C. Wallace, and his longtime friend P. Jean Davis, as well as one stepson, William Quynn.

He is survived by his three children, John (Diane) Wallace, Anne (William) Effland, and Edith (Ross Kilpatric) Wallace; two step children, Tyler (Pat) Quynn and Margray (William) Poulin, and by William Quynn's wife Gail; eight grandchildren and eight great grandchildren, and eight step grandchildren, fourteen step great grandchildren, and one step great-great grandchild. 

A celebration of life will be held June 8, 1:30-3:30, at All Saints Episcopal Church Great Hall, 106 West Church Street, Frederick. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Tolson’s Chapel (https://tolsonschapel.org/), Frederick County Public Libraries (https://www.fcpl.org/), Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks (https://protectnps.org/), or The Nature Conservancy (https://preserve.nature.org).  An online obituary is available at https://www.staufferfuneralhome.com/.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of David Harold Wallace, please visit our flower store.

Past Services

Celebration of Life

Saturday, June 8, 2024

1:30 - 3:30 pm (Eastern time)

All Saints Episcopal Church

106 W Church St, Frederick, MD 21701

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