DR. SOLOMON WALLACE died at Jamaica Medical Center on March 30, 2016 in Jamaica, New York. He was 87 years old. Mr. Wallace was born on October 8, 1928 in Raleigh, NC to Aycue and Eliza Wallace; they had eight children. Wallace was the last surviving child from their union. Wallace attended Shaw University, in Raleigh, NC. After moving to New York, he continued studying at City College of New York. Shortly thereafter, he met married the love of his life, Gloria M. (Brown). This union was blessed to raise a daughter, Winnie Robinson Wallace Morgan.
Having served his country during the Korean conflict with distinction in the US Army, he received an honorable discharge. He retired after exemplary service for 28 years as an engineer for the Mayer Malbin Company of Long Island, New York. Wallace joined Samson Lodge No. 65 in 1964, and was elected Worshipful Master in 1968. He is also a member and past member and Past Patron of Gardenia Chapter No. 41, and an Honorary Past Grand Patron of Eureka Grand Chapter, Prince Hall Order of Eastern Star, Inc. State of New York. In 1967, he was one of seven Prince Hall Masons who founded the Prince Hall Day Care Center for 2-5 year olds.
Between 1983 to 1995, he was elected and served as the Most Worshipful Grand Master of the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge, State of New York. Throughout his leadership tenure, a focus on improvement of the Masonic Order and development of young people were paramount.
Wallace became Sovereign Grand Commander of the United Supreme Council, Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, Prince Hall Affiliation, Northern Jurisdiction United States of America, Inc. in August 2006. He was the first Sovereign Grand Commander to serve from New York in more than 100 years. In May 2007, he was elected to his first full term.
In 2012, the Sovereign Grand Commander received the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters from Wilberforce University, Wilberforce, Ohio. Dr. Solomon Wallace was humbled by the honor.
Additionally, among his many accomplishments, Dr. Solomon:
- Established the Grand Lodge of the Caribbean.
- Computerized the Grand Lodge Office in New York.
- Erected a Class "A" Coed Sleep Away Camp for underprivileged children (the only black owned and operated camp in New York State). It is known as Camp Eureka and exists with 968 acres of the Catskill Mountains in Roscoe, NY.
- Erected a 97-unit apartment complex for Senior Citizens, (the Solomon Wallace Building-Prince Hall Plaza) located adjacent to the Grand East of the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge, 454 W. 155th St., New York City.
- Included sisters of the Prince Hall Order of Eastern Star (State of New York) in the Benevolent Fund.
- Purchased fleet of vans for transportation of Seniors and children served by the Day Care Center.
- Instituted the practice of serving dinners to the community on Thanksgiving and Christmas.
- Initiated the Prince Hall scholarship program for college freshman and returning students (a number of whom have completed college and joined the Craft).
- Initiated the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Celebration.
- Fostered an unprecedented working relationship between the Grand Lodge of New York and the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of New York.
- Distributed turkeys to the community.
- Sponsored Christmas parties for the community.
- Introduced and initiated numerous men into the Craft, including but not limited to, the following well-known brothers: Rev. Dr. Calvin Butts (Pastor - Abyssinian Baptist Church & President of Old Westbury College); Congressman Charles Rangel (Congressional Black Caucus & Chair, House Ways and Means Committee); Rev. Al Sharpton (National Action Network and MSNBC); The Honorable David Dinkins, first black Mayor of New York City; Rev. Jesse Jackson
(Rainbow/PUSH Coalition); and Dr. Louis Sullivan (Presidential Cabinet Member and Secretary of Health and Human Services).
His numerous community service activities include efforts on behalf of the following organizations:
- American Red Cross
- The Neighborhood Artist Program
- The National Assault on Illiteracy Program
- National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)
- Friends of Harlem Hospital- During his tenure, he helped this charity successfully obtain a $100,00.00 gift for their Pediatric Wing from philanthropist, Dr. Camille H. Crosby
As a direct result of his faith and dedication, he has been the recipient of numerous accolades, among them are:
- Humanitarian Award- American Red Cross, Harlem Service Center, New York Chapter
- Gold Medal Award-Top Honor of United Supreme Council (Prince Hall Affiliation)
- Distinguished Achievement Award from the Grand Lodge, Free and Accepted Masons, State of New York (highest honor the Grand Lodge confers)
- Recognized by Ebony Magazine as one of "America's 150 Most Influential Leaders"
- Man of the Year Award New York City Chamber of Commerce
- Life Membership Award- Improved Benevolent Protective Order of Elks of the World
- Citizen Service Award- Jamaica Service Program for Older Adults
- Bronze plaque in the lobby of Solomon Wallace Building/Prince Hall Plaza
- Bronze plaque unveiled November 9, 2013 and placed in main lobby of Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge, State of New York
In November 2014, Sovereign Grand Commander Wallace had the distinct honor of having a masonic lodge named and chartered in his name: the Solomon Wallace Lodge No. 125, chartered under the Administration of Most Worshipful Grand Master Dorian R. Glover in Syracuse, New York, to operate in the city of Watertown, New York.
In May of 2015, bronze full size bust of Sovereign Grand Commander Wallace was unveiled in Chicago, IL during the Annual Session. The impressive bust is now permanently displayed at the Scottish Rite Cathedral in Philadelphia, PA.
Dr. Wallace lived in service to his country, his family and work, the community, and foremost to his Masonic Craft. A devout Christian, he credited all his successes to our Heavenly Father, to whom Wallace has dedicated his life. He was an Ordained Deacon for the New Jerusalem Baptist Church of Jamaica, New York. True to his marital vows, he was the husband of one wife for more than 56 years.
Wallace is survived by his devoted nephew, Wilton Larry Wallace; daughter, Winnie (Phillip) Morgan; nephews, Michael L. (Donna) Ransdell, Albert L. Wallace Jr, Arthur Wallace and Reginald E. Wallace; nieces, Tracy Hicks (Dwane) Branch and Vanessa Roberson-Powell; cousin, Odesa Wilbon Williams and host of other relatives, friends, and his entire masonic family. He will be missed but never forgotten.