NORMAN — Wallace Payne Bonifield, of Norman, passed peacefully at home Friday, Feb. 1, 2013, of colon cancer. Wally was born June 30, 1929, to Eva and Harry Wesley Bonifield in Blackwell.
Memorial services for Wallace will be 2 p.m. Friday at the First Christian Church, 220 S. Webster Ave. in Norman.
Edith Tunnell encouraged Wallace to complete his education. He attended San Antonio Junior College and then transferred to Phillips University in Enid. In 1950, he joined the 45th infantry division and served in Panama Canal and Korea as an M.P. for the advance transfer detail. He returned to Phillips University to finish his business administration degree. Wallace received his master’s degree at Indiana University.
Wally met the woman of his dreams at a social affair in Oklahoma City. He married Vivian Burkharton on Dec. 29, 1957, at Briton Christian Church in Oklahoma City.
Wallace served as executive director of Oklahoma Easter Seal Agency for 27 years before retiring in December 1995. During his tenure with OSCC/OESA, he implemented the telethon campaign in Oklahoma, beginning in Tulsa and adding the Oklahoma City campaign three years later in 1978. Wally worked tirelessly, raising millions of dollars to assist children throughout the state who could not afford eye glasses, hearing aids, wheelchairs, speech therapy, etc. He implemented a statewide vision, hearing, speech and scoliosis screening program, promoting early detection. He touched more than 100,000 students’ lives per school year. Wally also started the Easter Seal Summer Camp for disabled children, held each summer near Guthrie.
Wally was a well-known Rotarian, beginning his relationship with Club 29, Downtown Oklahoma City Rotary Club, in November 1969 and serving his community for more than 30 years. He was awarded the Paul Harris Fellowship. He joined the Norman Rotary Club after retiring. Wally was also a member of the Men’s Dinner Club, Oklahoma Special Education Committee, Oklahoma Rehabilitation Association and American Society for Public Administration in Oklahoma.
Wally was very active in the Lincoln Terrace Christian Church, Kelly Avenue Christian Church and First Christian Church in Norman.
Wallace and family made Norman their home in 1969.
Outside of work and family, Wallace enjoyed traveling and tasting gourmet foods his wife, Vivian, made. His favorite pastime was spending quality time with friends and family.
He was preceded in death by his parents and brother, Harry Estill Bonifield.
Wallace is survived by spouse, Vivian Bonifield of Norman; children Kevin and Kim Bonifield of Tulsa, Lia and Steve Jones of St. Charles, Mo., and Tracey Frost and Nathan Visu of Norman; grandchildren Aimi Melkoday of Oklahoma City, Joshua and Stacy Frost of Oklahoma City, Julianne Bonifield of Charlottesville, Va., and Carla Jones of St. Charles, Mo.; and great-grandchildren Aiden Frost and Logan Frost.
Memorial donations may be made to First Christian Church, 220 S. Webster Ave., Norman, OK 73069.
Arrangements for Wallace and his family were placed in the care of the Vice family at Havenbrook Funeral Home.
Online condolences may be shared at www.havenbrookfuneralhome.com.
Thank you Wallace for your integrity, courage and love. We will mourn a great friend and mentor.
Norman Transcript, Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013