Evelyn Kraft Wallace
1922 - 2013
Evelyn Wallace, pianist and singer, taught music wherever she and her husband, Elton, lived, both in the U.S. and in other countries as missionaries. She was also responsible for starting music programs in at least two schools in Africa.
Evelyn was born and raised in Japan, the daughter of missionary parents Edwin and Caroline Kraft. Her father was a physician and her mother a musician who made arrangements for Evelyn to study piano starting at age six with a teacher who was born in Russia but was residing in Japan near where they lived. She continued studies in piano as well as voice when she got older and continued her schooling at Far Eastern Academy, the Adventist school in Singapore.
She attended Pacific Union College, where she completed a degree in music, studying voice with Ivalyn Law Biloff, director of the choral program from 1937 to 1944. While at PUC, Evelyn sang the alto solos in the 1942 production of the Messiah. Following her graduation from PUC in 1943, she married Elton H. Wallace, a talented violinist and singer who completed a religion degree that same year.
Beginning in 1946, the Wallaces spent nine years in Vietnam and then seven in the Philippines. In both places, she taught voice and piano and conducted choirs. They sang frequently as vocal soloists and in duets, and he played as a violinist and directed a men's choir, something he did wherever they worked.
While in the Philippines, he served as chair of the department of theology and as pastor of the college church at Philippine Union College, now Adventist University of the Philippines, and founded and conducted the male chorus known as the Ambassadors, a group that continues today as a mixed choir.
After he had completed a B.D. in church history at AU from 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. She taught piano and voice privately, and he taught speech and served as chair of the communications department and Director of the Summer Session. During this time she completed a master's degree in music at the college. 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 the music program, she 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 his direction won cups in both the 1974 Stellenbosch and Cape Town Eisteddfod competitions for male choruses.
From 1980 to 1990, while he served as the first president of Adventist University of Central Africa, an institution founded to serve the needs of French-speaking Africa, she led out in establishing a music program.
Following their retirements, they 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 1998, at age 75. Evelyn died in 2013, at age 91.
Sources: Interview with Evelyn Wallace, 11 April 2011; Review and Herald, 13 November 1958, 4; Adventist Review, 7 July 1985, 29; Pacific Union Recorder, 30 December 1932, 2; 27 November 1969, 8; The China Division Reporter, September/October 1935, 14; Trans-Africa Division Outlook, 15 June 1974, cover; 15 November 1974, 4, 5; The Youth's Instructor, 28 March 1950, 13.