Virgil Wallace

Virgil Victor Wallace LUBBOCK- New Mexico's Oldest Bataan Death March survivor passes. Virgil Victor Wallace, 99, of Idalou, Texas passed away November 8, 2012. Virgil was born July 29, 1913 in Anton, Texas to William and Minerva (Six) Wallace. Mr. Wallace was raised on a ranch at Tatum, New Mexico. He enlisted in the Army March 19, 1941 and was a fuse setter in the 515th Coast Artillery/200th Coast Guard Artillery at Clark Field, Philippines. Virgil was among the 1800 New Mexico soldiers captured by the Japanese and forced to march 70 miles to a POW camp. Our hero was a prisoner for 3 years and 5 months. Wallace was forced to build air fields in the Philippines and later shipped to Japan to work in Japanese mines. He weighed 104 lbs. (from 200) at his release. Virgil was awarded the Bronze Star and numerous other medals. After WWII, Virgil returned to New Mexico where he worked for the DOT, doddle bugged for oil, owned the Smokey Bear Motel and Restaurant (Capitan) and retired from Carrie Tingley Hospital (T or C). In 1956 Virgil married Millie Dunlap and celebrated 50 years of marriage before Millie passed away in 2007. He was preceded in death by his parents; sister, Carrie; and brothers, Don and Clarence Wallace. Mr. Wallace is survived by his sister, Mary Dean of Capitan, N.M.; nephew and nieces, Gerald Dean, Jeannie McCraw, Donda Pool, Janie Corley, Pam Pruitt, Martha Castillo and Jack and Virginia Dunlap; and numerous great-nephews and nieces. Open visitation will be held 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday, November 11, 2012 at Combest Family Funeral Homes in Idalou. Graveside services will be held at 2 p.m. Monday, November 12, 2012, MST, at Tatum New Mexico Cemetery. Special thanks to go to the staff at Autumn House in Idalou for their love, care and compassion, the hospice Odyssey. The family especially wants to thank Jack and Virginia Dunlap and family of Lubbock for all their love and care of Uncle Bud. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you send donations to Wounded Warrior Project,, or a .

Published in The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal on Nov. 10, 2012