Elton Harvey 1922-1998 and Evelyn Edwina Kraft 1922-2013 Wallace
Elton Wallace, a multi-talented teacher, administrator, speaker, and musician, served the Seventh-day Adventist Church for over 50 years. He and his wife Evelyn made significant contributions in higher education in both the United States and abroad.
Elton was born in Globe, Arizona, on July 10, 1922, the youngest of three children of Homer Lyle, Jr., a minister and Bible teacher, and Bessie Alice Yager Wallace. Although his parents were not musicians, he learned to play the violin and became known as a singer while attending Lodi Academy, where his parents were then located. He earned a B.A. in religion at Pacific Union College and while there met and married Evelyn Kraft, a talented singer and music major, following their graduation in 1943. They would have two children, Karen and Stephen.
Evelyn had been born on January 9, 1922, and raised in Japan, the daughter of missionary parents Edwin and Caroline Kraft. Her father was a physician and her mother a musician, who arranged for Evelyn to study piano starting at age six with a teacher who had been born in Russia but was residing in Japan. She continued studies in piano as well as voice when she got older, at Far Eastern Academy in Singapore and then at Pacific Union College where she was a member of and a soloist with the choir under the direction of Ivalyn Law Biloff.
Following graduate study for Elton at Potomac University, the Wallaces traveled to Vietnam in 1946, leaving after nine years to work at Philippine Union College, now Adventist University of the Philippines. Elton chaired the department of theology and served as pastor of the college church, and Evelyn taught voice and piano and directed choirs for the next seven years.
In both Vietnam and the U.S., they sang frequently as vocal soloists and in duets, and he played violin and directed a men's chorus, something he did wherever they worked. At AUP he founded and conducted a chorus named The Ambassadors, which continues today as an international award-winning choir.
After he had completed a B.D. in church history at the SDA Theological seminary and a Ph.D. in speech from Michigan State University in 1965, they moved to PUC, where they lived until 1973. He taught speech and served as chair of the communications department and Director of the Summer Session, and she taught piano and voice privately while completing a master's degree in music at PUC. When Noah E. Paulin, esteemed pioneer music teacher at PUC, died in 1969, Evelyn sang at the memorial service and Elton was a pallbearer.
The Wallaces returned to the mission field in 1973, serving in Africa for the next seventeen years. In the early part of that stay, they taught at Helderberg College in South Africa, where they assisted in music, Evelyn directing the children's and college choir in 1973 and 1974 when Wilhelmina Dunbar, HC music director, was on a study leave. The men's singing group under Elton's direction won cups in both the 1974 Stellenbosch and Cape Town Eisteddfod competitions for male choruses.
From 1980 to 1990, he served as the first president (rector) of Adventist University of Central Africa, an institution founded to serve the needs of French-speaking Africa, and she led out in establishing a music program. In 1985 they were honored with the Charles Elliot Weniger Award for Excellence at the General Conference Session in New Orleans, Louisiana.
After returning to continue his work at AUCA, he officiated at the funeral for American Dian Fossey in Rwanda in 1986. Fossey, who was known worldwide for her twenty years of work with and study of gorillas, was murdered by unknown assailants. Wallace and others from the nearby university had befriended her.
Following their retirements, the Wallaces settled in Angwin, California, near Pacific Union College, where they built a house in Japanese style that he designed. Elton continued to work in evangelism in Russia, Africa, Romania, and the Philippines until his death in Angwin on April 20, 1998, at age 75. Evelyn was living there when she died December 9, 2013, at age 91.
Sources: 1930 and 1940 U.S. Federal Census records, listed as Malcolm E H, Ancestry.com; Adventist Review, July 7, 1985, 29; "Meet the Faculty Series," Pacific Union Recorder, May 2, 1966, 8; Passenger roster for Ile de France, April 19- 25, 1952, Ancestry.com; Review and Herald, October 9, 1952, 9 (caption for photograph); Karen Wallace, "Education's Peanut Butter," The Youth's Instructor, November 2, 1965, 10, 11; Evelyn's listing in U.S., Obituary Collection (Karen), 1930-2018, Ancestry.com; "Far Eastern Academy Opening Exercises -1935-36" The China Division Reporter, September/October 1935, 14; Evelyn Wallace telephone interview by Dan Shultz, April 11, 2011, a major source for this biography; "Chorus Presents Messiah," Pacific Union Recorder, December 30, 1942, 2; L. A. Skinner "Youth Rally at Saigon, French Indo-China," The Youth’s Instructor, March 28, 1950, 13; "Wednesday, October 22," Review and Herald, November 13, 1958, 4; "Passing of Dr. Noah E. Paulin," Pacific Union Recorder, November 27, 1969, 1, 8; "Youth Congress," Trans-Africa Division Outlook, November 15, 1974, 1, 4, 5; "News Round-up," Trans-Africa Division Outlook, August 15, 1973, 12; "On Wings of Song," Trans-Africa Outlook, June 15, 1974, cover; "Wallace conducts funeral," Columbia Union Visitor, April 1, 1986, 10; Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014, Ancestry.com; U.S., Obituary Collection, 1930-2018, Ancestry.com.