After graduating, Wallace joined Commonwealth Edison Company (electric utility) in Chicago, where he spent his career until he retired in 1989 and moved to Kiawah Island, SC to begin consulting and enjoying his retirement. In 2005, he moved to Lexington, SC and finally to the Still Hopes Community in West Columbia.
Wallace had an illustrious and very successful career at Commonwealth Edison. Starting at the bottom, he worked his way up through the company to become Executive Vice President and finally Vice Chairman at the time of his retirement. He was involved with nuclear energy and was selected to head Project Management Corporation (PMC) which oversaw the design and construction of the Clinch River Breeder Reactor Project in Tennessee.
Wallace was on numerous boards including those of Commonwealth Edison, Duff and Phelps Selected Utilities, Board of Governors of Argonne National Laboratory, Advisory Committee for the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory, the Visiting Committee for MIT’s Department of Nuclear Engineering, and the US Japan Coordinating Committee for the Development of Liquid Metal/Fast Breeder Reactors. He was very active in the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). He was a fellow and director as well as a past president and treasurer of IEEE. In 1984 he was elected Electric Industry Man of the Year and in 1989 received the John N Landis Medal from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.
Wallace (W9OUY) was an avid ham radio buff since high school. He loved to design and build his own equipment, which he used to communicate with people worldwide. Love of the sea was a lifelong passion, which he nurtured through sailing and traveling on his Grand Banks.
He also loved golfing and bird hunting. He was the family pianist and many good times were spent singing around the piano.
Wallace was predeceased by his beloved wife, Joan Fortune Murphy Behnke; his great granddaughter, Evelyn (Evie) Grace Jones; his brother, Gordon Charles Behnke, and Gordon’s wife, Jean McKahan Behnke.
He is survived by his daughters, Ann Blanchard Behnke and Susan Fortune Behnke Jones and her two sons, James Black Jones IV, his wife, Suzanne Webb Jones, their daughter, Miriam Virginia, and Stephen Jacob Jones, his wife, Heather Taylor Jones, and their children, Harrison, Wallace BE, and Penelope Lee. He is also survived by his son, Thomas Wallace Behnke, his wife, Theresa Wallace Behnke, and their children, John Wallace, and his wife, Anna Dalton Behnke, and Lindsey Marie Behnke; as well as his nephew, William Charles Behnke, his wife, Sandra Sedor Behnke, and their family; and his niece, Nancy Behnke Dickerman, her husband, James Dickerman and their family.
We would like to thank the staffs at the Still Hopes Community (especially Tacey Gohean, Dr. Victor Hirth, Natalie Hinkle, and Rev. Doug Gray), Solutions for Living (especially Robert Parsons, Jennifer Mackey, and Dan Quigley), and Prisma Hospice (Freia Westbrook) for their dedicated service. There will be a private family funeral at the St. Alban’s Episcopal Church in Lexington.
The funeral service for Wallace will be held privately at St. Alban’s Episcopal Church, 403 Park Rd, Lexington, SC 29072.
Memorials may be made to the Residents Fund, Still Hopes Retirement Community, P.O. Box 2959 West Columbia, SC 29169. Shives Funeral Home, Trenholm Chapel, is assisting the family.