Mary V.W. Reid, 92, longtime teacher at Dobbins High

Posted: February 13, 2014

MARY Virginia Wallace Reid hit upon an unusual way to honor her late beloved parents: She set up a scholarship in their names at her alma mater.

The Mamie and Isaac Wallace Scholarship at Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, N.C., is awarded annually to a deserving student.

Mary Reid, a 31-year English and reading teacher at Murrel Dobbins Technical High School, a community activist and devoted wife and mother, died Friday. She was 92 and lived in East Oak Lane.

Mary was the first member of her family to go to college. She graduated summa cum laude from Johnson C. Smith University in 1945, and later earned a master's degree and a Ph.D. in education from Temple University.

"Mom taught me so much," said her daughter, Virginia A. Reid. "When I followed her sage advice, all went well. When I chose to go my own way, trouble resulted."

Mary was born in the Cherry section of Charlotte, the second of three children of Isaac Wallace Sr. and the former Mamie Torrence.

She graduated at the top of her class at Second Ward High School in Charlotte. In college, she pledged Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority and was a golden soror in the Omega Omega Chapter at her death.

She and her late husband, James S. Reid, grew up together. They went to the same elementary and high schools in Charlotte and enrolled at the same college. James arrived at Smith after a hitch in the Army. After graduation, they moved to Philadelphia.

Her daughter got some more of her mother's "sage advice" when mom suggested she give up her jobs as a nurse at local hospitals and join the school district as a school nurse.

"I resisted at first because I really loved what I was doing," Virginia said. "But because of her practical way of living life, she persuaded me to apply for a nurse position with the school board. She assured me that a secure retirement was in my best interest. I have never regretted my choice."

Mary was a member of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers and was on the building committee at Dobbins.

She was a former member of the Dr. Ruth Hayre Scholarship Committee, helping needy young people get a college education. She was honored by the Chapel of the Four Chaplains for her community work.

Mary was a member of the House of Prayer Episcopal Church for 49 years. She previously belonged to Janes Methodist Church and Camphor Memorial Methodist Church.

Her daughter is her only immediate survivor.

Services: Tomorrow at Little Rock African American Episcopal Church in Charlotte. Burial will be in York Memorial Park, where her husband is buried, in Charlotte.

Donations may be sent to the American Red Cross or World Visions.

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