Cynthia Wallace, 97, passed away peacefully November 21, 2021 at the Finger Lakes Center for Living in Auburn. She was born in 1923 to missionary parents in southern China. She met Hugh Wallace at Oregon State College, and after marrying they moved to New York State in 1943. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Syracuse University. They resided in Schenectady, Syracuse, Camillus, Ithaca, and Elbridge. She worked the office at the Amphionola Shop in Elbridge, which later relocated to Jordan. She gave piano lessons to countless students both at the shop and in their homes.
Together with her husband Hugh, Cynthia had many activities through the years. They skied cross-country and downhill, hiked the mountains, and roller and ice skated both in Oregon and in New York State. They went on long rides with the Onondaga Cycling Club. She enjoyed dancing aerobics in Skaneateles, from age 60 continuing into her 80s, where she made many friends. She fed and watched the birds and squirrels in their Elbridge back yard, and her cats liked to watch as well. Let’s not forget Snoopy and Woodstock, her favorites. She lived for music, playing piano and organ from an early age. At Finger Lakes, she greatly enjoyed live performances by a wide range of visiting bands, but sadly those were suspended due to the pandemic.
Cynthia overcame many challenges to her health. At 96, she contracted Covid but later tested negative. At 97, she was struck with a critical condition which unexpectedly and suddenly reversed. Being in the hospital at the time, her family from out of state could finally visit her for extended hours, not possible at Finger Lakes during the pandemic.
Cynthia was predeceased by her husband, Hugh Wallace. She is survived by two sons, Gary and Timothy, who are grateful for the devoted care and support given by the staff at Finger Lakes.
Memorial Gathering will be 1:00pm Thursday, Dec. 9, 2021 at the Bush Funeral Home, 120 E. Main St. Elbridge.
An extended history follows for those who might be interested:
Born Cynthia Lois Carman, December 24, 1923, American Baptist Mission, Swatow (now Shantou), Province of Kwangtung, Republic of China, as an American citizen. Her parents were missionaries for the Baptist Church: Mildred Alice Scott Carman, M.D. from Cleveland, Ohio and Rev. Newton Hanscomb Carman from Ann Arbor, Michigan. They had met and married in China circa 1919-1920. Her older brothers, Kenneth and Donald, were born in 1920 and 1922.
In 1926 at age 2½, Cynthia contracted malaria which prompted her parents to move back to the United States. They lived in Chicago, then Galesburg, IL (1926), then Princeton, IL (1928). Her father served as minister in these locations, then in Des Moines, IA (1931-1937) where he was also Director of Christian Education for the State of Iowa. She went along to church meetings, where he liked to show off "daddy's little girl." She would never forget the Great Depression and her family’s financial struggles at the time. She had spunk even in the third grade, when an angry boy in the playground threatened her and dared her to come near. She called him a bully, pushed him down to the ground, and sat on him! By merit of advanced reading skills and passing a verbal examination by the principal, she was allowed to skip the fourth grade.
The family then moved from Des Moines to Alahambra, CA (1938) to escape smoke and industrial pollution. Ironically, smudge pots for agricultural crops filled her nose with smoke on the way to school. In the eight grade, she was catcher on the girls softball team
that won the Alahambra city championship that year. The pitcher was very fast, and Cynthia was the only team member who would play as catcher. She got bruises on her fingers from the fast pitches. Her parents struggled to feed the family during those hard times. They moved to Sioux Falls, SD (1939) where her father had a teaching job at what is now the University of Sioux Falls.
After researching colleges, the parents moved to Oregon so they could afford to send all three children to college. Cynthia graduated from high school in 1941 at the age of 17, then attended Oregon State College in Corvallis along with her brothers. It was around that age that she played pipe organ in church. On the walkway to college from her parent's house, she saw Hugh Wallace at times, and they finally got together to talk. His mother, Anna Jean MacLennan, lived in the Willamette Valley region. (He had lost his father, Henry/Herman Wallace at age 9.) Hugh was an excellent roller and ice skater, and Cynthia started to skate with him. They also enjoyed skiing and hiking together.
After Hugh graduated, they married on June 11, 1943, then drove across the country on their honeymoon to Schenectady, NY. There, he started at a job he secured from Oregon, at General Electric in Defense Radar development. The GE Research Lab was on the second floor, where "Silly Putty" and other silicone products were invented. They moved to Syracuse in 1945. She completed her last two years of college at Syracuse University, graduating Spring 1947, Magna Cum Laude and member of Phi Beta Kappa. They moved to Camillus, then Ithaca, finally Elbridge as Hugh continued employment at GE. He took on the hobby of rebuilding player pianos, which evolved into the Amphionola Shop family business in Elbridge, then Jordan. Their many activities in New York State are related above.