The three-time graduate of Texas Southern University taught at Austin High School
Anita Pearrie Wallace, Ed.D., built a reputation as a respected educator, devoted mother and committed friend in her adopted hometown of Houston.
The 73-year-old passed away on May 24, 2020 from complications of advanced uterine cancer.
“She was an unrelenting force, but not in an uncomfortable way,” said daughter Jonita Wallace Reynolds, Ed.D., who is CEO of Gulf Coast Community Services Association. “The moment you thought you couldn’t do something, it was like she could anticipate that and was motivating and encouraging. Failure was not an option.”
If someone had a problem, Wallace would listen, then compose a list of steps for them to reach a solution.
“She was also my best friend,” Reynolds recalled. “My sister, my mom and I had a uniquely close relationship that many complimented. We were pretty inseparable. It was just a safe place no matter what was going on.”
To her grandchildren, Wallace was “Nana” and she was “Mama Nita” to the friends of her daughters.
“With her grandkids, she signed them up for baseball or soccer or chess club. She didn’t miss a game. Even through her battle, she was there,” Reynolds said. “She tapped into the gifts of others and helped them live out their purpose.”
The former Anita Pearrie was born on Jan. 3, 1947 and raised in Shreveport, Louisiana.
She earned all of her degrees from Texas Southern University: a bachelor’s in English and journalism; a master’s in counseling and a doctorate in educational administration.
As an undergraduate, Wallace wrote a column called “Chit Chat” for the Houston Forward Times.
During her lengthy and varied educational career, Wallace was a counselor at Foster Elementary School, an assistant principal at Attucks Middle School and an adjunct professor at the University of Phoenix.
She is most remembered as a longtime English teacher at Austin High School, where she also taught journalism, supervised the yearbook and advised the Black Students Association.
Though retired from the Houston Independent School District, she remained active in the community as a Life Member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and at St. Angela Merici Catholic Church in Missouri City, where her roles included Eucharistic Minister.
Wallace remained sharp and mentally organized to the end. In one of her final days, she asked for paper and a pen to jot down a to-do list for her family.
“Even as the time was coming, she was giving us assignments,” Reynolds said. “I find myself reading things that she has written to me and apparently, she did this with everybody.”
In addition to Jonita Reynolds, Ed.D., Wallace is survived by her husband of 51 years, J. Carlton Wallace, of the home in Missouri City, and a younger daughter, Katrice Pearrie Lowe. She leaves four grandchildren to cherish her memory: Nina Symone Lowe, Tysen Lowe, Reagan Reynolds and Ronald Reynolds III. Her sons-in-law are Texas State Rep. Ron Reynolds and Theodus Lowe, an educator and real estate agent.
A celebration of life service will begin at 11 a.m. Tuesday, June 2, 2020 at St. Angela Merici Catholic Church, 9009 Sienna Ranch Road in Missouri City, Texas.
Attendees are encouraged to wear purple, Wallace’s favorite color.
The church must comply with state and archdiocesan social distancing guidelines. That means, every attendee must wear a mask and the sanctuary will have a capacity of 230. Hand sanitizer will be provided.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, there will not be a wake, viewing, interment or repast.
In lieu of flowers, the family is asking supporters to consider contributing to a scholarship in Wallace’s honor. Details will be announced later.