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Yvonne Lowery Wallace, age 75, known by her favorite little boy as “Gaga” departed her earthly home in the arms of her daughter on Tuesday, January 16, 2024. She was born on April 14, 1948, in Laurinburg, NC to the late Colonel Johnson and Ola Johnson Locklear. She was raised in the home of the late Dock Billy and Stella Dial Lowery, her maternal grandparents, along with their children, her Uncle Maurice Lowery Sr. and her special Aunt Bonnie Rea Tatum.
She will join her family members in heaven; her loving husband of 39 years, Earl Wallace Sr.; three half-sisters Regina Sampson, Cynthia Johnson, and Connie Johnson; a half-brother Lash Johnson; her stepdaughter Sherri Lynn Wallace; and her nephew Dock Dial. Left to cherish her memories and celebrate her legacy here on earth are her daughter, Kelli Wallace and grandson Kamden Redic of Charlotte NC; two stepsons John Wallace of Lumberton NC and Earl Wallace Jr. of FL; two half-sisters Rosiland Locklear of Pembroke NC, Catina Johnson of Fayetteville NC, two half-brothers Anthony Johnson (Betty) and Ricky Johnson (Sylvia), of Pembroke NC. She will also be deeply missed by several nieces, nephews, and a host of friends who she considered family.
Yvonne was raised in the Saddletree Community and enjoyed life on her grandparents’ farm where they grew tobacco, cotton, corn, and tended a garden. She was the baby in the house and escaped a lot of the hard farm work, but she enjoyed watching the others. Eventually she would join them in the tobacco barn and learn the importance of a strong work ethic which she carried with her throughout her entire life. She would however sneak off to a shady spot under a tree from time to time to play school with her dolls. She had watched her grandmother Stella and Aunt Bonnie prepare lesson plans at home and she was actually in her Aunt Bonnie’s class for 3rd grade, which sealed the deal. She was hooked and there was nothing she could imagine doing other than teaching children to read. So she practiced until the day she could follow in their footsteps and became a 3rd generation educator in the Lowery Family.
She attended Magnolia School where she was involved in Yearbook Staff, was a class Marshall, President of the Beta Club, Senior Class Treasurer, was an officer in the Future Homemakers of America Club and was voted FFA Sweetheart by the Future Farmers of America Club. She was a bus driver and because she was so tiny, the pedals on the bus had to be built up so that she could reach them. Yvonne was voted Most Likely to Succeed. Boy did she ever prove them right!
In 1969, she graduated from Pembroke State College and later received her Master’s Degree in 1984. She served the Public Schools of Robeson County as a teacher for 37 1/2 years. She absolutely loved being a teacher and enjoyed building relationships with the families of her students because she valued the partnership between school and home. She was always loved and well-known in the school community for her firm yet loving teaching style. She taught over 1,600 students and the general opinion among them was that even with her 4 '11” petite frame, she swung a paddle harder than any other teacher, including the men. She was also very dedicated to Mt. Olive Baptist Church and served as a Sunday School teacher and loved teaching Vacation Bible School in the summer for several years. She volunteered at the public library and with many entities associated with LRDA and the Lumbee Tribe where advocacy for children’s educational rights was at the forefront.
During the summers, while on break from school she and her best friend Ms. Deena Revels enjoyed working at Joe Don Danny’s restaurant in St. Pauls. One hot afternoon in the summer of 1972, a tall handsome stranger came in and the love story began. She married the love of her life, Mr. Earl Wallace on November 10, 1973. He had 3 children, and 7 years later in August 1980, they welcomed her only child to the family. She named her Kelli Yvonne. She had prayed and prayed for this child and after 7 failed pregnancies, when the time was right, she was blessed with her little girl. Yvonne encouraged and nurtured any opportunity for Kelli to express herself and pursue things she enjoyed. She loved to dance, and Yvonne took her to her first dance class on her 3rd birthday. Yvonne and Kelli enjoyed traveling together to dance competitions, pageants, parades, service opportunities, military events, and nursing homes for Kelli to perform. She also encouraged her to dance traditionally and traveled with her to powwows on the east coast. More than being a teacher, Yvonne loved being a mom and was blessed with her grandson, Kamden in 2017. Kamden enjoyed the opportunity to play a role in caring for his Gaga and making her smile.
After she retired from the Public Schools of Robeson County, she enjoyed serving the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina’s Elders’ Services Department and the Boys and Girls Club. She loved serving in both capacities. Ms. Yvonne remained active and took pleasure in being outdoors. She passionately cared for several family members including her husband, and her Aunt Bonnie.
Yvonne had sugar coated spunk, never met a stranger, her friends were her family, and her heart was full when she was caring for others. With her arrival, she brought the gifts of joy, empathy, and goodwill simply by being present. While modest in stature, her spirit radiated a glowing example of God’s love. She will be missed by her loved ones who look forward to seeing her again, and What a Day That Will Be.
Please join the family in honoring and remembering Yvonne’s life by sharing your condolences and cherished memories at www.revelsfh.com.