APU Students share some of their favorite memories of Jon Wallace to honor his memory.
On Jan. 29, 2021, Kate Wallace Nunneley, daughter of Jon Wallace, shared through a Facebook post that her father had passed away. Jon Wallace was the former President of Azusa Pacific University. However, any APU student can tell you that Wallace was more than the university president.
Throughout this article, a few APU students and I will share some of our favorite memories with Jon Wallace, as one of the best ways we can remember those who have passed is to relive some of their greatest moments.
Bailee Waite, senior nursing major:
“Jon, his daughter and grandkids used to come to the Chick-fil-A I worked at frequently, and he got to know me by name. He remembered I was a nursing major and always asked me how school was going. He would often invite me to sit with his family for a moment and would ask how he could pray for me.”
“He was the kindest man, and while I was sad to hear of his passing, I know he was greeted by his savior with open arms, and that he heard ‘well done, my good and faithful servant.’ Jon was so loved by all he met, and he will be sorely missed.”
Hannah Gibson, senior Christian ministries major:
“It was my second year on Walkabout (a backpacking trip all Resident Advisors take before their training) and I was sort of freaking out internally because my first walkabout was really a struggle. For some reason, Jon could tell I was worried while my team and I were busy packing our food out on Cougar Walk.”
“He came up and said, ‘Why the long face Red?’ And I just laughed and told him I was nervous. He immediately turned around and talked to either Phil (our Med guide) or Jared (our team guide) I can’t remember which.”
“Then a couple of minutes later he grabbed me by the arm and sort of dragged me over to this statue in memory of the Armenian Genocide. He starts telling me all of these facts about the statue and I was so confused and then he abruptly turns to me and goes ‘here’s the thing Red, I’m not supposed to tell you this but I just talked to your guide and I’m going to tell you the entire itinerary and layout of your trip. I want you to not worry about what’s going to happen and just have fun with your team and with God.”
RA’s aren’t supposed to know anything about the trip beforehand, so the fact that he did that in order to soothe her nerves was special.
Much like Gibson, my most fond memory of Wallace comes from an interaction we had on Walkabout. It was the ending of our trip and I had just finished the most challenging week of my life. I was tired of sleeping on the ground, tired of carrying a 60-pound backpack, and frankly, just tired of being outside. My team and I had made it back to home base and the only thing that stood between me and a shower was Jon Wallace.
He stopped me and asked, “I have a question for you!” I replied, “What’s up?” He then asked me, “Why the avocado tattoo?” He was referring to the avocado tattoo I have on my left arm. I answered his question, “Oh! It’s a matching tattoo I got with one of my best friends!” He chuckled and responded with, “That’s awesome, now go take a shower.”
Later that night, Wallace shared his gratitude to my fellow RAs and me. He knew the work we did was rough and gave a message of encouragement before we headed to bed.
Jon Wallace was nothing but an amazing son of God who spent so much time teaching and leading us in the ways of Christ. He strived to know all of us and was always willing to pray alongside us.
Here are some words the APU community would use to describe Jon Wallace:
Inspiring, Selfless, Compassionate, Wholesome, Inclusive, Humble, Kind Hearted, Joyful (always joyful), Fighter, Kind, Christ-Like, Legend, Intentional, Invested, God-Honoring, Caring, Resilient, Selfless, Wise, Passionate, Sincere, Blessing, Encouraging.
Jon Wallace, we could never thank you enough for everything you did for this community. May you rest in peace. Let the rest of us honor his memory by living our lives as he did, as a devoted follower of Christ.
Shalom, Jon Wallace. Until we meet again.