The measure of a person’s life is not what they do, but what they do for others. Livia Kima Wallace (November 26, 1935- May 5, 2020) lived her life guided by God and doing for others. Befittingly, she passed away gently, peacefully and with a smile in her loving children’s arms just before Mother’s Day.
Livia was the embodiment of the word “mother.” Her children always came first. Nicknamed “Super Mom” by her children’s friends, she was involved in all aspects of their school lives – whether it was class mother, bringing cupcakes, making spirit packs, or helping with class field trips – she always volunteered to help.
Born in Estonia, she was five when her family chose to flee an imminent Soviet invasion rather than to endure a life in Siberia under communist control. Because Livia’s father was a distributor for a German-based pharmaceutical manufacturer, the family decided to attempt to make it to Germany and escaped on the last train headed west out of Estonia. The family settled in Nuremberg; however, this was at the beginning of World War II, and the family had not anticipated the devastation the city was to receive from aerial bombing. Within months, their building and most of the city were bombed to the ground. They relocated to the small town of Ansbach where Livia spent the rest of her childhood. When Livia came to America at the age of 20, her family settled in Denver. Although she did not speak fluent English, she learned the language quickly by living with a nearby family and working at a bank to help support her mother and sister. From there, she was recruited to be a flight attendant for Continental Airlines during the airline industry’s heyday. When Continental Airlines moved its headquarters to Dallas, she moved as well, and that is where she met her husband, Gregg. They settled in Houston, started a family and co-founded and built a business. She also found time to volunteer with the March of Dimes, the Heart Association, and the Houston Zoo and was a dedicated member of the Board of Directors of Houston Grand Opera in its early days, helping build its international reputation.
Livia was a survivor who experienced, first-hand as a child, horrifying and tragic events. Nevertheless, she retained a passionate love of life and adventure, undergirded by an unwavering Christian faith. She sought meaning and joy in any circumstance and possessed an uncanny ability to create life-long memories with the people she loved. Ever curious, energetic and optimistic, she could transform any mundane moment or circumstance into an experience…often a fun and memorable one. She loved reading and games and involvement with her children…she gave her children magic.
Her appreciation of the beauty of God’s creation was reflected in the beauty and purity of her own soul and spirit. She admired the reflection of the sky in a puddle, the cool breeze against her face, the majesty of a sunrise, the purity of mountain air and the sanctity of a remote alpine setting. She smiled easily, she laughed heartily. She found both joy and comedy in life where most others wouldn’t.
She was cosmopolitan and accomplished but with a child-like curiosity and pure joy. She had a quick wit, a keen intellect and was an independent thinker. Her strong will, wry sense of humor, charm and charisma saw her through numerous challenges in life. She was a life-long learner who loved to discuss and share new ideas, current events and interesting books she was reading.
Her legacy is love: Love of God and limitless love of her children and grandchildren and daughter in law.
It is no coincidence that the first official Thanksgiving Day took place on her birthday and will again take place on her birthday the year that she died. She was and always will be a blessing to all her knew her.
She is survived by her daughter Bronwyn Wallace, son Trevor Wallace and his wife Melanie, and grandchildren Henning, Abbie, and Rhett.