Alexine Evelyn Wallace
Alexine Evelyn Wallace, a longtime Branford resident, was just shy of 102 years when she died peacefully at Connecticut Hospice in Branford on July 26.
She was born in Greenwich, the year of the Spanish Flu epidemic, and died the year of the COVID-19 pandemic, bookending an amazing life
Alexine grew up in Mount Vernon, New York. As a child she remembered having a crank telephone, listening to a crystal radio set, and 5 or 10 cent ice blocks being delivered by the iceman by horse and carriage. At 12 she tap danced and sang on stage at the historic RKO Proctor Theater. As a teenager she toured the northeast with the Danny Harrington Company, worked trimming hats with ribbons and artificial flowers (she hated it!), had her own dance studio, and was a hosiery model for Gotham Gold Stripe stockings.
She was a proud telephone operator for 25 years. She “womaned” the plug board when Pearl Harbor was attacked.
In 1951 she was one of 13 women to work as a crossing guard for the Norwalk Police Department; the first in the country. She earned $39 per week.
She was a lifelong reader, ukulele player, and international traveler. She visited all 50 states.
Alexine was a charter member of the Friends of the Blackstone Library. She was one of the original Blackstone Library Book Fair sorters. She volunteered until she was 97, sorted more than 40,000 paperbacks every year, and was a tireless worker at the Book Fair! She also served on the Volunteer Services Center Board.
She was a passionate financial contributor to organizations supporting literacy, Seeing Eye Dogs, Veterans, Native Americans, and organizations that help the Branford community.
She lived her life always loving, giving, caring, and supporting others. She was warm, vivacious, and fun! She was a beloved and cherished mother, “mother-by-choice,” and friend. Her loss is profound. But her voice, her laughter, her songs, her stories, her gumption, her big heart, her fierce determination, and resilience was and will long be inspiring.
She was predeceased by her husband John Wallace. She is deeply mourned by her daughter Nancy Elizabeth Wallace, her son-in-law Peter Banks, and many “children-by-choice.” These include Kathy Rice, Sally Cole-Whiffen, Lynn Williams, Amy Barry, Tom and Sheila Menchak, and Betty and Fred Eckert, as well as many, many friends and Bebe Feinberg, her dear pen pal.
Oh! She balanced her checkbook to the penny her whole life up until the week before she died, and she wanted hot dogs, beans, and chocolate ice cream for her 102 birthday.
In lieu of flowers donations can be made to The Branford Food Pantry, Read to Grow, Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation. To honor Alexine’s memory, make sure you vote in November.