NaWana Virginia Sawyer Wallace


November 14, 2019

NaWana Virginia Sawyer Wallace passed away on Saturday, November 9, 2019.

She was born April 24, 1932, in Penrose, Wyo., the second child of Merlin and Virginia (Moody) Sawyer. Her childhood years were spent on the M-L ranch at Kane, Wyo., which her paternal grandparents, Levi and Rhoana Sawyer owned. When the ranch sold, her parents bought a house in Lovell, where NaWana received her education graduating from Lovell High School in 1951.

She met her husband of 67 years, Earl D. Wallace in Lovell after he returned from military service in Korea. They were married August 11, 1952, in Billings, Mont. After Earl joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints they were sealed for time and eternity in the Logan Utah temple.

Their first decade of married life was spent in the military. When Earl was stationed in Germany, NaWana traveled by train to New York with 4 preschoolers in tow. Her wonderful sister, Marlene, traveled with her to help. The family lived in Worms, Germany for two years before returning to the states. As with all military families, moves were frequent, and the family traveled to various locations.

After Earl left the military the family resided in Florence, Ariz., where he worked in the athletic department at the Arizona State Prison. NaWana was employed at the hospital working in the kitchen and as a nurse's aide.

The family returned to Lovell, Wyo., in 1968 where Earl joined the police department and NaWana worked at the long-term care center. December 10, 1972, they lost their 19-year- old son Norman in a car accident. He had just returned home from military service in Vietnam.

They moved to Thermopolis in 1979 where they purchased their home on Peppermint Lane and a small home on Ryan Street for NaWana's parents. As life changed, they sold their home on Peppermint Lane and built onto the house on Ryan Street in order to care for her aging parents. She provided care for her parents until they passed away. NaWana, Earl and Mickey continued to live at the Ryan street address until Earl and NaWana moved to the Pioneer Home in 2017.

NaWana was employed at Northwest BOCES for many years. She had a soft spot for elderly people and for children trying to cope with life's challenges. She went the extra mile by going in on her days off to provide haircuts and assist with field trips. She retired from BOCES in March 2013, at the age of 81.

She not only loved the children she worked with but also had deep love for her church family in Thermopolis. Over the years she served in many positions including Relief Society President. The sisters in her ward meant a great deal to her, and next to her family, were the most important people in her life.

This fiery, outspoken woman left a legacy of love, caring and hard work. She returned home on November 11, 2019, to be with those family members who preceded her in death and whom she dearly loved.

She is survived by her husband, Earl D. Wallace; sons, Earl M. (Debbie) Wallace of Pocatello, Idaho, and Mickey S. Wallace of Thermopolis; daughters, Connie (Leslie) Tippetts of Lovell and Julie Nebel of Ashburn, Va .; sister, Marlene Landolt of Eaton, Colo .; 16 grandchildren; and numerous great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her son, Norman; grandson, Shaun Wallace; parents; brother, Norman Sawyer; and sisters, Yvonne Walker and Marilyn Gilbert.

Funeral services will be 10 a.m. Monday, November 18 at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Thermopolis. Visitation for family and friends will be held one hour prior to services at the Church. Burial will be at 2:30 p.m. at the Lovell Cemetery in Lovell, Wyo. Online condolences may be made at


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