John McChrystal Wallace, 95, a former Utah senator, Salt Lake mayor, prominent banker and philanthropist, died in a Salt Lake hospital Feb. 7, 1989.
Mr. Wallace was president and chairman of Walker Bank and founder of the organization that became First Interstate Bank.Throughout his long business career, Mr. Wallace bought and sold interests in copper, coal and silver mines. He also could list a diverse portfolio of investments, including land and tar sand, and at one time or another dabbled in oil, communications and hog ranches. In a 1984 interview with the Deseret News, Mr. Wallace challenged: "Try to name a business I haven't been in."
Among the charities that Mr. Wallace and his wife, Glenn Walker Wallace, supported are Holy Cross Hospital, Ballet West and the Utah Symphony, United Way, and the Salt Lake Homeless Shelter. In 1926, Mr. Wallace was a co-founder of the Salt Lake Community Chest, a predecessor of the United Way organization.
Among other awards in a lifetime of civic honors, in 1963 Walker received a rare appointment by Great Britain's Queen Elizabeth II to the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem, one of England's most ancient orders, dating back to the Crusades.> In 1987, Mr. Wallace was honored as a "United Way Exemplar," and he and his wife were noted by the Catholic Community Services Council. Among other citations, Mr. Wallace was named one of the "Giants in Our City" by the Chamber of Commerce in 1977, and received the "Humanitarian Award" by the Jewish Hospitals National Asthma Center in 1980. In 1985, Mr. Wallace was inducted into the Beehive Hall of Fame, and was cited for not only making money, but putting it to good use in Utah.
In 1984, he donated $10,000 to the city's Emergency Housing Assistance Program, keeping the doors of the temporary homeless shelter open. A week later Mr. Wallace handed a $30,000 challenge to city officials, saying he was betting on the compassion of the community and wanted the money to be repaid by other donations.> After investing in the transient center, Mr. Wallace said he was no sentimentalist, but claimed he was born with the genes for community service and capacities for organization. "And if you have these genes, it's perfectly natural for you to take on these sorts of things. It's not a credit to you. You don't have a choice; you just get up in the morning and do it."> Mr. Wallace served as a state senator during the height of the Great Depression, from 1933 to 1935, and served as mayor for two years after he was appointed to the post in 1938.
Mr. Wallace was born in Salt Lake City Dec. 14, 1893. He graduated from Salt Lake City schools, including the University of Utah in 1916, and received his master's of business administration from Harvard Graduate School in 1921. In 1986, he was honored by Harvard for his 65 years as an entrepreneur, after working with the school's case method for 65 years, longer than any other graduate.
He served with distinction as a commissioned lieutenant in World War I, and later was a civilian aide to the U.S. Secretary of the Army.
In the local area, he was a Shriner and a member the Rotary Club, American Legion posts No. 2 and Wasatch Lodge No. 2, the Chamber of Commerce, the Sigma Chi Fraternity and the Salt Lake Country Club. He was a long-time board member of Westminster College and Western Airlines.
He is survived by a son, Matthew Walker; five grandchildren and one great-grandchild; and a brother, Alexander C. Wallace. His wife died Dec. 30, 1988, of cancer.> Funeral services will be Friday noon in the Masonic Temple, 650 E. South Temple. Contributions may be made to: the John Wallace Memorial Fund at the University of Utah Health Sciences Center, 50 N. Medical Drive, 84132; the Shelter for the Homeless; and Westminster College.>