Natchez community liaison, NAPAC volunteer, dies

Published 6:59 pm Tuesday, August 31, 2021

NATCHEZ — Frances Wallace, a long-time volunteer of the Natchez Museum of African American History and recent community liaison of the City of Natchez, died Friday evening of an unexpected illness.

Natchez Mayor Dan Gibson described Wallace and one who blessed many throughout Natchez, “working tirelessly for many years to make our city a better place.”

Gibson said he first came to know her through her work as a board member of the Natchez Association for the Preservation of African American Culture (NAPAC) museum.

“She was known to be one the most hard-working volunteers of NAPAC, our African American History Museum on Main Street,” Gibson stated in a social media post on Saturday. “And most recently she had been working for the City of Natchez as my Community Liaison, doing amazing things and loving every minute of it. Just this week she prayed for me in my office, and yesterday throughout the day she was happy and, as normal, full of joy and faith, even trusting in Jesus at the end of a busy afternoon, proclaiming that, with a hurricane on the way, He had Natchez in the palm of His hands.

“And then, around 6:30, without warning, he called her home. What a testimony she is to the rest of us, always loving, always hard working, always smiling, caring and believing. Her faith can inspire us all. And now she has gained her wings. Frances will be missed greatly. And we who knew her will forever be better people as a result. Rest in peace Frances Wallace, our sweet angel.”

Gibson said Wallace came to work for the city just a few months earlier in a position previously held by Jessica Hawkins, who resigned to pursue opening a new business in Downtown Natchez.

“Our hearts are really broken. It came as a complete shock to all of us. My life will truly be blessed forever because I had the opportunity to know her,” Gibson said. “She was doing so much and is going to be hard to replace. She was so happy and enjoying every moment of her mission. I truly believe she is an inspiration to all of us of how we should live each day to the fullest because we never know when our time will come and God will call us home. He called her home very abruptly. She was full of life, doing so much and so happy. That’s a wonderful legacy.”

Hawkins said she knew when she left the position to pursue her dream in fashion that Wallace would take care of things. Hawkins said she was shocked and heartbroken when she learned Wallace had passed.

“She was the sweetest woman and was always ready to help in any way possible,” she said. “I know she is going to be missed by us all and I’m praying for family as well. It’s a shock to all of us. … I’m grateful to have known Ms. Frances. She had a genuine spirit to care for people in the community.

Bobby Dennis, President of the NAPAC board of Directors, also issued a statement in memory of Wallace.

“We, the Founders and Board of the Natchez Association for the Preservation of African American History and Culture (NAPAC), extend our deepest condolences to the family of Francis A. Wallace,” Dennis said. “The work in which Francis did as a Board Member for NAPAC, as well as the community, was tireless, and an example to us all. Francis has shown us in an unselfish way the promotion of the African American community begins with participation and dedication. Through her consistent speaking and addressing the needs of our community, we are becoming a more united city as to the understanding and recognition of its most under-used resources.

“We thank you, the family of Francis A. Wallace, for sharing your loved one with us. Her work and dedication have enhanced the impact in which this Museum has and will have on the community of Natchez. We shall forever cherish her warm and friendly spirit, her willingness to volunteer and her drive to get the job done. Her love of history was exhilarating.”