Wallace "Wally" Garrett
January 17, 1932 –
May 6, 2019
With his family by his side, Wallace Garrett passed away peacefully at his home on Monday, May 6, 2019. Wally was born on January 17, 1932 in Birmingham, Alabama to Henry Wallace Garrett and Grace Elizabeth Jackson.
He is preceded in death by his wife of 63 years, Mary Jo, as well as his much loved and dearly missed daughter-in-law, Pamela Lynn Garrett.
He is survived by his four children: Kenneth Wallace Garrett, Eric Edward Garrett and his wife Rhonda, Kelli Garrett Smith and her husband Blake, and Kimberli Marie Garrett. He is also survived by his grandchildren: Heather Garrett Smith and her husband Austin, Brandon Smith, Justin Smith and his fiancé Miranda Hawthorne, Kristy Mach and her husband Daniel, Christopher Garrett and his wife Heather, Travis Duncan and his wife Kristina, Regina Garrett, Amanda Duncan, and Alyssa Garrett, as well as great grandchildren: Pamela Lynn Smith, Kevlyn Rose Mach, Kennedy Ann Mach, Beckham James Mach and Tory Ann Duncan.
Wally's motto was "Life is short, eat dessert first!" To honor his motto, he loved to eat his mother's famous pound cake for breakfast. He always lit up the room with his warm personality and his quirky sense of humor.
His mother, Grace, born in 1898, was a senior in high school when WWI began. Since all of the male teachers were drafted into service, the Alabama State Board of Education selected the brightest female graduates, trained them over the summer, so they could begin teaching in the fall. By 1932, when Wally was born, his mother was an accomplished educator, so she began teaching him from the very beginning of his life. He was an amazing student who skipped two grades, the first and fourth, allowing him to graduate from Woodlawn High School at age 16; he grew to be the brilliant man we all admired. He earned his Bachelor of Business Administration in both Accounting and Finance from Samford University in 1952. He was a member of Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity, serving as its President. He also served as President of the Interfraternity Council.
Wally was in the Navy Reserves for 6 years before he enlisted in 1955. He loved sharing stories about his time as a radio operator on the sea planes they flew through the Bermuda Triangle. He confirmed that they lost radio signal every single time. An avid reader with a photographic memory, he read every book ever written on the Triangle. He loved photography, so while stationed overseas in Sicily, he always had a camera around his neck when off-duty.
Wally met his wife, Mary Jo, on a blind date and quickly fell in love. They were married on July 9, 1955 and cherished the life and family they built together.
As a beloved father and granddaddy, he would caution us about life's pitfalls. His life lessons always ended with the words "JUST IN CASE." For example, if you're going to the store barefoot, take your shoes just in case the car breaks down. He said it so often, that we told him JUST IN CASE would be on his tombstone, and it will.
His faith in God never wavered even after his stroke. His resilience was evident to all who had the privilege of knowing him. The Lord sends angels to us in our times of need. We don't meet people by accident; they are meant to cross our paths at the right time. His angels came to him in the form of his Vosswood ladies: Speech Kelly, OT Becky and Nurse Lenese. They, along with the rest of the team at Vosswood, gave him therapy as well as emotional support and laughter which allowed him to return to his pre-stroke weight as he pushed for the full recovery that he and the rest of us awaited. Prior to that, an angel in the form of a functional medicine doctor, Dr. Bobbie Stowe, was able to restore his energy and quality of life. The family will be eternally grateful to these who devoted their lives to medicine and then remained in our lives as dear friends. They gave our family the priceless gift of time for him to spend living the life that he loved.
Wally loved his life as a financial advisor and especially loved working with his daughter, Kim. Many of their clients have become family after so many years together. He began in the insurance business in 1957 in Birmingham, Alabama. The family moved to Houston in 1968 where he worked for American General. He helped them enter the mutual fund industry and trained all of the advisors for the securities exam.
Then, in 1970, a job opportunity moved him and his family to Jeffersontown, KY where they lived for six years before American General came calling to bring him back to work for them again in Houston. He worked for Venita VanCaspel, the "First Lady" of financial planning for many years before venturing out on his own as an independent advisor. He remained self-employed right up until his stroke in October at the age of 86.
Wally loved that his family history reached all the way back to 18th century Ireland on his mother's side, and that his father had Native American Indian heritage on his side. To honor his Native American roots, he kept a dream catcher from his tribe hanging near his bed.
Now, Wally is reunited with his beloved Mary Jo in heaven. He was an amazing husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and a friend to countless. He sowed the seeds of family, friendship, and kindness in all he knew, and these blessed seeds took root in our hearts and will remain with us throughout our lives.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, June 29, 2019 at 2:00 P.M. at Spring Woods Baptist Church, 10131 Emnora Lane, Houston, TX 77080. There will be a reception afterwards.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the ALS Association in honor of his daughter-in-law, Pamela Garrett (http://www.alsa.org
Published by Houston Chronicle on Jun. 23, 2019.