Honoured by Brian, Michael and Rory Wallace.
Wilfred John “Bae” Wallace
Born in 1918, the youngest of a family of six, Bae grew up in North Bay and deeply loved the family camp on nearby Trout Lake where his extended family of siblings, cousins and friends spent long, idyllic summers together.
By the time he was 20,his parents, pioneers of North Bay, Jack and Lovie Wallace, had died.
Bae studied engineering at the University of Toronto, but his service in the Navy interrupted that career. After the Second World War,he moved on to a deep passion for a life in the law.
His change in career was part of a larger change in Bae’s life: he married Miriam McCaffrey from British Columbia and moved to Vancouver. Vancouver was a long way from his North Bay
family, but it was a new and growing city with great opportunity for a young lawyer with his young family.
Both grew quickly and eventually he had a family of his own and a very successful career in litigation, finally serving as a Justice on the British Columbia Court of Appeal.
Bae loved the practice of law so much that the concept of retirement was inconceivable. With compulsory retirement at 75 from the court, he returned to his old law firm to take up mediation, an approach to conflict that had never occurred to him in the adversarial arena of the court. He approached it with characteristic enthusiasm. As he put it, “meeting challenges is happiness”.
One of Bae’s priorities on his arrival in Vancouver was to find a place for his new family that would be like the Trout Lake of his youth in North Bay. He found it on Pasley Island, near Vancouver. It became for him “the most beautiful place on earth” where he spent the long days of summer.
He loved to surround himself with family and friends and ultimately, he reluctantly limited his law practice to an animated cross-examination of his four children, four grand-children, and three-and-counting great-grandchildren.
He enjoyed nothing better than the cut-and-thrust of friendly argument.
He faced adversity with patience and fortitude always maintaining, despite the challenges he faced, that he was so “lucky” to have lived the way he had: blessed in his career, his marriage, and his family.
While Vancouver became his home, Bae always kept close to his North Bay family. There
were constant visits back and forth as families at both ends of the country flourished and Bae was always at the heart of any event.