Carolyn Clemons Hooton Wallace died peacefully in her sleep, at her home of 65 years, on June 12, 2020. She was a lifelong resident of Houston, born July 17, 1930, at St. Joseph Hospital to Claude E. Hooton, Sr. and Callie (Clemons) Hooton.
She is preceded in death by her eldest son, Dr. Stephen Wylie Wallace, her brother, Claude Edgar Hooton, Jr., and her sister Mary Hooton Perry Paciera.
Carolyn is survived by her loving husband of 67 years, Bruce Wylie Wallace, daughters Peggy Margaret Wallace, Susan Wallace Henderson, and son Bruce Campbell Wallace. Nan, as she was affectionately called by the family, has many adoring descendants including 12 grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren, and numerous nieces and nephews.
Carolyn was a truly wonderful lady with many accomplishments, friends, and interests. She was beautiful, brave, kind, loyal, thoughtful, very loving, cheerful, highly intelligent, and extremely hard working. Her husband, Bruce, freely admits she was the Captain of the family ship, and he is proud to have been her First Mate.
Carolyn’s early life was spent in the Hooton home on University Blvd. across from the campus of Rice Institute (University). Her father, a Rice Architectural School instructor, had designed their home. Her godfather was William Ward Watkin – the Dean of the school for over 30 years. Her younger brother and sister, Claude and Mary, were her “wards.” She was a serious, resourceful older sister and was keen to take care of her siblings.
At age five she started kindergarten at Oren Roberts Elementary School, where she developed her habit of working very hard to make good grades. She was a serious student throughout her academic career.
Next, Carolyn spent three years at Sidney Lanier Jr. High School, where she made many new friends, one of whom, Julia Picton, was to be her lifelong friend and sister-in-law in her later life.
After Lanier, she entered Lamar High School. She soon left to accompany her family to Gulfport, Mississippi, where her father was serving in the U.S. Merhcant Marines during World War II. She entered a girls’ school – Gulf Park College – in Gulfport. As a high school senior at Gulf Park, she was elected senior class president. In the year book, her picture was accompanied by her chosen quotation, “Think I’ll prowl tonight,” an early demonstration of her fine sense of humor. After graduating from Gulf Park, Carolyn returned to Houston to enroll at the Rice Institute (University).
At Rice, Carolyn studied hard and made many new friends. She and five other freshman girls who lived at home, formed a carpool to get to school. These girls – Beverly Kemp Kraft, Sarah Faulker Jackson, Julia Picton Wallace (her future sister-in-law,) Therese Arnold Cain, and Erminie Chambers Chapman – remained her among her best friends for the rest of their lives. Their children played together. In their 60’s and 70’s they enjoyed trips together with their husbands to Spain and Italy and on cruises in the Mediterranean.
Carolyn loved her years at Rice and never forgot her dates with a fellow sophomore student, Bruce Wallace. They fell in love, married in 1952, and remained best friends in love for 68 years.
In 1953 Carolyn dropped out of Rice to help support her family when their first child, Stephen, was born. She persevered and returned to Rice later to graduate in 1966 in front of her cheering husband and four children!
In 1974, Carolyn was appointed the Executive Director of the Association of Rice Alumni. It was quite an honor to have such an administrative position at Rice, and she put in many long hours to achieve the goals of the Alumni Association. In 1978 she retired to care for her dying mother. Upon her retirement, she received an award from Rice, “In Recognition of Carolyn Hooton Wallace for Service to the Association of Rice Alumni 1974-1978 and With Appreciation for Dynamic Leadership, Sensitive Arbitration, Rare Dedication”.
Carolyn had many interests. She was an avid collector of horticultural books, folk art, stamps, mineral specimens, and seashells. She volunteered for several worthy causes – as a Girl Scout leader, in the neonatal ward at St. Joseph’s hospital, as a tutor of orphaned children at DePelchin Faith Home, on the Executive Board of the Metropolitan Y.W.C.A., and as a P.T.A. president. In her 70’s she compiled a 300 page cookbook with family recipes, family history, and photos of several generations.
Perhaps her favorite activity, that didn’t involve her family, was gardening. She was a loyal member of the Garden Club of Houston and went on several G.C.H. garden tours with her garden club buddies – especially Julia Wallace and Josephine Shanks. They went to Italy, France, England, the Netherlands, and even St. Petersburg, Russia. She specialized in the cultivation of Louisiana Iris and for a few years her beautiful garden included about 50 different varieties of iris.
Carolyn and Bruce were fortunate to have had many trips, cruises, and visits to interesting parts of the world. In their early years these were with their growing family and later with Rice friends. Perhaps the best was a Mediterranean cruise to celebrate her 70th birthday with their children and their spouses. Her birthday dinner was held at a palace on the Strait of the Bosporus in Istanbul, Turkey.
Carolyn had a wonderful life with many friends and a large family – all of whom loved her very much. She will be missed by many. Her cheerful willingness to help anyone who needed her, in spite of her many physical ailments, led her family to consider her as their “energizer bunny.” She always kept going. Many things made her happy, but her happiest times were those spent with the many children whose lives she touched.
A memorial service will be held, at a date to be determined, probably at the Rice University Memorial Chapel, which is adjacent to the Rice Student Center where Carolyn officed when she headed the Alumni Office. Carolyn will be interred at Glenwood Cemetery where she served as a member of the Board of the Glenwood Foundation while conducting a survey of the many trees growing throughout the grounds. She helped identify 75 different species of trees, some of which were over 100 years of age.
Carolyn will be missed very much by all the many people whose lives she touched.
The family wishes to thank Houston Hospice and Liz’s Angels of Care, especially Gladys Douglas, for the loving care they provided during the last year of her life.