Relatives and friends are advised of the passing of Rudolph Waldron Wallace on April 11, 2020, at the age of 76.
Rudolph Waldron Wallace was a native son of St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. He was the first of five children --- Joan, Phyllis, Lelia, and Volmey --- born to the late Lupercio Alvin and Cecile Estella Daniel Wallace.
Rudy attended Ss. Peter and Paul School from kindergarten through 12 grade. Throughout his childhood he demonstrated his creativity. He loved taking pictures of everything and writing stories to go along with the pictures. Rudy learned to be an outstanding photographer working with his mentor Mr. Otley. He even created his own darkroom at home to develop his pictures. When he was not taking pictures or writing, he was singing. Rudy was a member of a popular singing group that consisted of his cousin Walter Thompson, and friends Billy Daniel, and Rudinel O’Neal. Rudy was truly gifted in documenting events in pictures and through words in not just telling a story, but making you feel what was happening.
Rudy left the Virgin Islands to spread his wings and to obtain an education. Rudy loved the experience he gained in Baltimore, Md., where he attended Morgan State College to earn a bachelor’s degree. While at Morgan, Rudy pledged the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, a historically African-American Greek-letter fraternity. These experiences broadened his universe and deepened his creativity and writing skills.
Rudy eventually went on to seek graduate degrees in Philadelphia at the University of Pennsylvania to further his studies in literature and English. While there, he had his initial experience in teaching at Temple University. Rudy loved teaching. He marveled at his students’ thirst to learn and in some cases to become prolific writers. He wanted to share the experience of knowing that a picture and words could have a profound experience on so many lives. His love for teaching carried him to other institutions of higher education in Virginia and in Raleigh, N.C.
Rudy eventually returned to the Virgin Islands, but this time it was to make a movie about a boy and his experiences living on an island. Many of Rudy’s writing can be traced back to his early roots as an islander and his Christian upbringing. “You can take a man out of the islands, but you can’t take the islands out of the man!” St. Thomas was deeply rooted in Rudy’s soul. Even though Rudy had not lived on St. Thomas for years, he always loved his home.
After his movie debut, Rudy’s next notable achievement was to write a play that was produced off Broadway. This accomplishment solidified his ability to be a writer after experiencing how the audience connected with his work. At the same time, Rudy had started a magazine company that was still in its infancy. He decided that his love of writing and producing plays was is calling. He relinquished ownership of the magazine company to follow his true passion. For the next fifty years, Rudy wrote and produced plays, many of which were of a historical nature. It was the teacher in him wanting to educate his audience and not just produce feel good entertainment, but to yield plays that would leave a profound calling for more. His company was appropriately named Voices in Concert. Rudy was a truly gifted playwright and artistic director. If you ever had the opportunity to attend one of his plays you would utterly agree.
Rudy relocated to California in 2018. He loved California for it reminded him of the Virgin Islands with palm trees all around. While in California unfortunately he had two major strokes that limited his ability to write and to get around.
In April of 2020, Rudy contracted the coronavirus, which took his life at 8:10 p.m. April 11. A life cut short too early. Even though Rudy’s physical presence may have departed this earth, he still will remain with us through his spiritual presence. We will remain close with Rudy through the many memories we have shared throughout the years and his many works. Rudy will always have a special place in the hearts of the many people he touched while he was here on earth. Knowing Rudy, right now he is in heaven writing his greatest work, which would be a biography of his life. You can believe we are all in it. Rudy, you’re now home, rest in peace.
A memorial service for Rudolph Waldron Wallace will be held at 10 a.m. Friday, June 19, at Celestial Chapel of Dan Hurley Home for Funerals and Cremation Center. Interment is at Western Cemetery No. 2.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting public health mandates, masks or facial coverings must be worn at all gatherings.
Family and friends may offer their support by sharing a special memory or message by going to www.hurleydavisfuneralhome.com
Arrangements are under the care of Dan Hurley Home for Funerals and Cremation Centers of St. Thomas, St. John, and St. Croix.