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Wallace A. "Wally'" Mullinax, husband of Helen Jenkins Mullinax of Greenville, SC, died suddenly October 13, 2012. Mullinax was born in Cateechee, SC, and attended Pickens and Greenville County schools. He graduated from Parker High School, Furman University and the NBC Institute for Radio Studies at Northwestern University.
Wally served in WWII as a US Navy Hospital Corpsman and was attached to the 2nd Marine division at Camp Lejeune North Carolina. Mullinax began his career at WFBC radio in 1944 and joined WESC as a personality in 1949 remaining with WESC for 41 years; he retired as Vice President of Sales. Always quick to embrace new ideas, Wally aired one of the first Rhythm and Blues radio programs in the Carolinas starting in 1950. He was a pioneer talk show host. In the 1960s, he was among the first broadcasters in America to program a fulltime country music format. He assisted several stations in major markets to switch to C/W programming. Mullinax was the first to schedule weekly motor sports in Greenville and, using FM radio for syndication, helped make college football games available in small markets in the Carolinas and Georgia. He co-founded WMTY 1090 AM in Greenwood and later added WMTY-103.5 FM.
Mullinax served his church, Overbrook Baptist, as a Deacon and Sunday School Teacher for over 50 years and was a trustee.
He has been active in the South Carolina Broadcasters Association since 1962 and served as President in 1974. He was also President of its Educational Foundation. He was a key person in establishing the SCBA Archives at the University of South Carolina. In 2012 the South Carolina Broadcasters Association honored his service by establishing a permanent scholarship in his name at Furman University. He is a member of the SCBA Hall of Fame and a Gold Fellow in the SCBA Foundation.
In 1968 the people of Greenville County overwhelmingly elected him to the first Greenville County Council. Mullinax was appointed by Governors Robert McNair and John West to serve on the Greenville Memorial Auditorium Board of Directors. In 1986, Governor Richard W. Riley appointed him to the South Carolina Aeronautics Commission.
In 1989, the South Carolina Baptist Convention appointed Mullinax a trustee of North Greenville University. During that term the trustees voted to keep the school open, call Dr. Epting as President, and offer four year degrees and Masters Degrees. After retiring at WESC, he commuted to Greenwood, SC to develop WMTY, a station he co-founded in 1973 and sold in 1998. In Greenwood, he was active in the Greenwood Rotary Club where he was a Paul Harris Fellow.
A 33 degree Scottish Rite Mason, he has served as General Secretary of the Scottish Rite Bodies in Greenville. He is a founding board member of the Scottish Rite Centers for Language Disorders in Greenville. He has also taught Broadcasting and Media Sales at North Greenville University. Also, Mullinax is a member of the James E. Daniel Post #3 of The American Legion.
Wally Mullinax has moderated a weekly radio broadcast of the Sunday School Lesson on 660 KC since 1962. He chairs the History Committee of the South Carolina Broadcasters Association. He was among the founders of Crime Stoppers of Greenville County and served on its board, President of the Greenville Sales and Marketing Association, a member of the Downtown Greenville Association, a member of the American Legion, the Walden Masonic Lodge, the Greenville Scottish Rite and Hejaz Shrine.
Among the honors received are: the G. Richard Shafto Award for Journalism from the University of South Carolina, the Silver Medal Award from the Greenville Advertising Federation, an Abe Lincoln Merit award from the Southern Baptist Radio/Television Commission in Dallas/Fort Worth, the American Legion Service Award from the South Carolina American Legion, Young Man of the Year Award from the Wade Hampton Taylors JCs. As Director of the March of Dimes Campaign in Greenville County his service to Children won for WESC the South Carolina School Bell Award from the SC Education Association. His service to the Scottish Rite has been recognized by the H. Wallace Reid Award. In 1992 was selected for inclusion in the Marques Who's Who in American Advertising.
He is predeceased by his parents Ralph and Margaret Mullinax and a brother, Ralph P. Mullinax, Jr. Surviving in addition to his wife, Helen Jenkins Mullinax, are his son Wallace A. Mullinax Jr. and his wife Kim, and a daughter Christie Jenkins Seear, all of Greenville; a granddaughter, Maria Seear Crandall and her husband Sean of Charlotte; grandsons Wallace A. Mullinax III of Charleston, Torben Jensen Seear and his wife Laura of Florence, and Christopher Jenkins Seear of Clemson University. Also surviving are sister in laws Jean Boyd and Elizabeth Jenkins of Simpsonville, along with numerous nieces and nephews. He is predeceased by sister in law Katherine Jenkins, and three brothers in law, Clyde D. Jenkins Jr., John E. Jenkins and Gordon R. Boyd.
Funeral services will be held Wednesday, 11am at Overbrook Baptist Church with Pastor Dale Sutton officiating, music by Kyle Batson, Kim Beam and Don Weaver. Burial will follow in Woodlawn Memorial Park. Visitation will be held 5 - 7 pm Tuesday in Mackey Mortuary. Memorials may be made to the South Carolina Broadcasters Educational Foundation, One Harbison Way, Suite 112, Columbia, SC 29212; The Scottish Rite Foundation, P.O. Box 5776, Greenville, SC 29606; the Department of Communication at North Greenville University, P.O. Box 1892, Tigerville, SC 29688; or the
Condolences may be made online at www.mackeymortuary.com.
311 Century Drive
Greenville, SC 29607
Published in The Greenville News on Oct. 15, 2012