Michael R. “Mike” Wallace of Lee’s Summit, Missouri passed away on January 10, 2024.
He was born May 26, 1950, in Evansville, IN to Otha “Boots” and Elizabeth “Tommye” Wallace.
Mike’s family moved to Pompano Beach, FL during his early teenage years until 1967, then to Wichita, KS.
Upon graduating from Wichita North High School in 1968, Mike joined the US Navy, trained and served as a Corpsman, and was stationed in Annapolis, MD until his discharge in 1971.
After his military service, Mike settled in the Kansas City area. He graduated with his LPN from Research School of Nursing and his A.S. in Fire Science from Penn Valley Community College. He joined the Lee’s Summit Fire Department in 1976, became one of Missouri’s first licensed paramedics, advanced to Captain in 1983, and retired in 2007 after 31 years of service.
During his career, Mike also ran first-aid stations at Starlight and Kemper Arena and for The American Red Cross; and traveled to Gulfport, MS to cook and serve BBQ to first responders of the 2005 Katrina hurricane disaster. He was also heavily involved in the search and rescue operation at the Kansas City Hyatt hotel disaster in 1981. Mike’s Departmental Obituary, which highlights his professional and volunteer achievements, is available on Facebook at Lee’s Summit Fire Department and below:
“With great sadness, the Lee’s Summit Fire Department announces the passing of retired Fire Captain Mike Wallace on Wednesday evening at the Lee’s Summit Medical Center. Captain Wallace’s 31 years of service with the Lee’s Summit Fire Department was characterized not only by his role as one of Missouri’s first licensed paramedics but also by his significant contributions to our fire investigation unit and the KC Arson Task Force. His advancement as one of the first company officers in the early 1980s reflected his unwavering dedication and exemplary service. In addition to his career with the Lee’s Summit Fire Department, Captain Wallace served in the United States Navy. Captain Wallace was deeply involved with the International Association of Firefighters (IAFF) Local 2195, where he became Secretary-Treasurer. His efforts were pivotal in acquiring the Firefighters Union Hall at 322 Southeast Douglas and the 1951 Howe Pumper. Captain Wallace’s passion extended into the realm of history, where he dedicated himself to archiving the rich history of the Lee’s Summit Fire Department. His volunteer work with the Lee’s Summit Historical Society was a testament to his love for our community’s heritage. Even after retirement, he actively participated in community events, notably the IAFF Needy Family Fund collection, demonstrating his ongoing commitment to those in need.The passing of Captain Wallace is a profound loss to our department and the community. His leadership, dedication, and community service legacy will continue to inspire us. He will be dearly missed by all who knew him. Our thoughts and prayers are with Captain Wallace’s family.”
Mike developed a passion for music from an early age, especially the guitar, and was playing local events with his older brother by age 10, including the Indiana State Fair. Mike’s musical journey continued into his teen years when he and some classmates formed a rock band during their senior year of high school playing local clubs in Wichita, KS. He became a skilled guitar player. Eventually his musical dreams led him to songwriting, and in 1994 Mike was signed as a staff writer at the famous Sony “Tree” Publishing Company in Nashville, TN.
Mike had a love for history as well. He volunteered with the Lee’s Summit Historical Society and actively took part in community events and archiving Lee’s Summit Fire Department history. Mike was a longtime member of The Lee’s Summit Christian Church. He was an avid non-fiction reader. He was a barbecue connoisseur and made “Smokin’ on the Summit” an annual family event during Downtown Days. He was known for his award-winning chili and for his biscuits and gravy. Mike was passionate about his family. He also loved fishing, cooking, Florida, the Chiefs, the Dolphins, blues music, crossword puzzles, the History Channel, all things extraterrestrial, his loving and faithful dog, Gracie, and his amazing wife, Cathy who he married in 1975. He was also an accomplished photographer, especially of flowers and wildlife. He was his family’s anchor in Lee’s Summit. If you were coming into town, you called Mike & Cathy and they always had room for you to stay. He always asked for a lemon meringue pie on his birthday.
Mike’s death is a profound loss to his family. He is survived by his beloved wife of 48 years, Cathy, of the home; his son David, daughter Sara; beloved grandchildren Megan (Daniel); Ryan, and Mikenlea. Additionally, his two brothers Rick Wallace (Patti); Ron Wallace (Lisa); and three sisters; Donna Wallace, Dori Wallace (Drake); and Diane Thornton-Wallace. He was preceded in death by his parents.
Cremation. Visitation for Mike will be held at Langsford Funeral Home in Lee’s Summit from 3 pm – 6 pm on Wednesday, January 17. A Celebration of Life will be held in the spring of 2024.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the Lee’s Summit Historical Society at 220 SW Main Street, Lee’s Summit, MO 64063 www.leessummitmuseum.com
Arrangements by Langsford Funeral Home, 115 SW 3rd Street, Lee’s Summit, MO 64063