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Celebrating 99 years in style

By: 
Alastair Baker
News Editor
Thursday, August 8, 2019
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Photo by Ann Sadler
Ethelyn Wallace celebrates her 99th birthday with one of her classic smiles at the Red Lodge Senior Center last week.

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Ethelyn Wallace during her college days, circa. 1940s. 

Nothing defines cuteness better than being privy to one of Ethelyn Wallace’s effervescent smiles.

It literally brightens up your day and most definitely your heart. 

Ethelyn recently celebrated her 99th birthday at the Red Lodge Senior Center last week. She was born on July 31, 1920.

Sprightlier than a wood sprite, Ethelyn enjoyed her party being with friends.

“That’s what counted,” she said. 

She was born in Gregory, South Dakota, and grew up to teach in rural schools. Ethelyn went through several colleges to get her education degree, beginning at Lincoln University, Nebraska. 

“I’d go back to school and then back to teaching, then back to school,” she said.

“I taught all the grades, mostly high school but in the country I taught all the grades in one classroom.”

She remembers holding the little ones in her lap while she taught because they were all upset they were at school. 

It was while she was teaching in Carthage that she met her husband, Bart Wallace. He had just come back from serving in WWII and was running a farm.

“I had a decision to make; whether to go to California and teach or stay in South Dakota. I married him and lived in Carthage,” said Ethelyn.

The dairy farm had everything from cows, sheep, pigs and “every kind of owl you ever heard of,” said Ethelyn.

During their time on the farm Ethelyn and Bart had three children, Joan Miller, Mark Wallace, and Alan Wallace, a retired Lieutenant.

“They learned how to work and do things. It’s the best place in the world to do things,” she said.

They farmed in Carthage from 1948 until 1969 when they sold up and came to Red Lodge to run the Coast-to-Coast store and also Marcello’s Hardware. 

Ethelyn worked for Katherine Egenes at some point, the mother of Tom who owns Flash’s Photography.

Ethelyn worked with Bart in the hardware store and together they sent all three children to college. 

One of her fondest memories is watching her kids graduate from college.

Today Ethelyn has 5 grandchildren and 6 great children.

Eventually the Wallaces retired completely although Bart never truly retired.

“He always worked. He built the house she still lives in. He would go around and help people in their houses. He worked for a piece of pie and a cup of coffee,” said Miller who was visiting her mom. 

Longevity runs in the family genes; Ethelyn’s mother lived to 96 years. 

On the day of Ethelyn’s birthday Red Lodge Mayor, Bill Larson, presented her with a Citizen of the Day medal. 

“One more year,” joked Ethelyn as she aspires to reach her century and maybe get another medal from the Mayor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Carbon County News

Street Address:

11 N. Broadway, Red Lodge, MT 59068

Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 970, Red Lodge, MT 59068

Phone: 406-446-2222

Fax: 406-446-2225

Toll-Free: 800-735-8843

Open: Monday-Friday, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.