Vera Wallace was born in Chicago IL, on August 6th, 1947, to Ulysses and Lucille Regulus.
She attended Landmark Church where she was baptized at a very early age under Pastor Rev. Joseph Sylvester. She attended Sunday school and sang in the Junior Choir and as a teenager with the Fields Ensemble and the Young Adult Choir. She attended John Marshall High School where she always was enthusiastic about learning and making good grades. She participated in many activities most notably becoming President of the MCA Club.
During this time of the Doo Wop era (1961), she and her childhood friends formed a group called The Versalettes. They performed at Marshall High School’s annual jamboree, Marillac House, a social center on the west side of Chicago, and different talent shows around town. While still in high school, they performed at the “Century of Negro Progress Exposition” held at McCormick Place. Shortly thereafter they signed a record contract with Witch/Cortland Records and in the fall of 1963 began hearing their songs on a local radio station.
She graduated from John Marshall High School in 1965 and then attended Kendall College. In 1969, she was initiated into the Lambda Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and earned a B.A. in English from Northeastern Illinois State College in 1970.
She married her high school sweetheart, Paul Wallace, and from this union birthed two sons; her beloved Christopher, who preceded her in death and, Phillip, who describes her as a “Woman with a Heart of Gold.” No matter what achievements she attained nothing was more important to her than her children. She made any sacrifice to ensure they knew the difference between right and wrong and became good men.
She earned her master’s degree in Education from National College of Education in 1987, specializing in Curriculum and Instruction.
Vera was brilliant and her passion for acquiring knowledge and sharing it with others eventually led her to pursue her dream to teach. In 1981, Vera was assigned to Curie Metropolitan High School where she taught 9th through 12th grade English classes. Vera was a phenomenal teacher with a unique teaching style that gave her students an extraordinary learning experience that guided them throughout their lives. Vera was a strong advocate for her students, not only the students in her charge, but students and young people in general. Her student advocacy was instrumental in becoming a group facilitator for the Peer Culture Development department (PCD). The Peer Culture Development consisted of a small but select group of students and staff who engaged with students in need of counseling and guidance. Vera was also one of several teachers who led a successful campaign to end CASE testing in Chicago Public Schools, noting the inequities and bias of the test that placed students at a disadvantage. Vera became a mentor teacher for students in the University of Chicago’s graduate program in Education as well as a teacher in the International Baccalaureate (IB) program, a global academic program from 7th to 12th grade. She not only taught International Baccalaureate classes, but also helped to create the IB curriculum used by students worldwide.
She went on to become a consultant for new teachers of English in a local charter school and was later invited to be literature specialist, working as a researcher on several academic projects affiliated with Northwestern University.
Vera worked closely with Dr. George Hillocks at the University of Chicago’s Master of Arts in Teaching program. In that work, she supervised new teacher candidates, many of whom still recollect the impact that Vera had on their professional development. In this university partnership work, she participated in and presented at professional literacy conferences. She continued this research partnership working with colleagues from Northwestern University on two major federally funded research projects, working closely with and mentoring both teachers and students. These relationships extended beyond the research projects for both former students and teachers who continue to see Vera as an intellectual and professional role model, and as a friend.
Vera was tenacious and fierce in her love of family, of children, of friends and community. She displayed that tenacity throughout her life, both personally and professionally.
Previously departed loved ones include her father, Ulysses; mother, Lucille; brothers, Thomas (AL), and Melville (Bubba); son, Chris; and cousin, Cora.
She leaves to cherish her loving memory, a devoted son, Phil; two grandchildren, Jahlil, and Asa; a loving niece, Mire’; sisters-in-law, Marilyn, Donnie, and Janice; cousins, Shirley, Kim, and Beverly; an awesome nephew, Darius; and a host of cousins, friends, and loved ones.