Lamar Ernest Wallace, a World War II veteran who was believed to be the oldest living Eagle Scout, died on March 31, 2019. He was 107.
Wallace earned Scouting’s highest honor on Sept. 17, 1927, in Gotebo, Okla., meaning he could wear his Eagle medal proudly for nearly 92 years.
Officials at the National Eagle Scout Association told me they weren’t aware of any Eagle Scouts older than Wallace, but they said NESA doesn’t have Eagle Scout birthdates before 1983.
One thing is certain: Wallace was an advocate for Scouting throughout his life.
In 2016, he told a columnist for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he “used Scouting a lot. I used it with what I did the rest of my life. I was fair in everything I did. Or I tried to be.”
Born in Oklahoma
Wallace was born Nov. 28, 1911, in Romulus, Okla., about an hour southeast of Oklahoma City.
When Wallace was a teenager, his family moved 125 miles west to Gotebo. It’s there that Wallace became an Eagle Scout at age 15.
As a Class of 1927 Eagle Scout, Wallace was one of just 5,713 young men who earned the honor that year. That’s about one-tenth the annual number these days.
Wallace attended the University of Oklahoma and took a job for the Tulsa Tribune after graduation, according to his obituary in The Citizen of Fayetteville, Ga.
Trained in the Army
Like many Scouts, Wallace found a calling to military service. He entered the U.S. Army in 1941 and was commissioned as a lieutenant in 1942.
Wallace fought in Germany in World War II. Decades later, he told Scouting Newsroom that there was no better preparation for military service than Scouting.
“I tried to use everything I got out of [Scouting], and it’s held me in good stead,” he said.
After the Army, Wallace rejoined the Tulsa Tribune and later became a real estate broker before retiring in 1979.
Throughout his life and career, Wallace pointed to Scouting as the source of his confidence.
“Anything I wanted to do, anything I had in my mind to do, I could do,” he said.
Famous in Atlanta
At 81 years young, Wallace moved to the Atlanta area. Once he reached 100, his status as a centenarian, World War II veteran and Eagle Scout made him a local legend.
He told neighbors, news reporters and strangers how he had voted in 22 presidential elections. He shared that, when he was a kid, he met old men who fought in the Civil War.
Wallace is survived by three nieces, one nephew, three step-children, five step-grandchildren and 12 step-great grandchildren.