The Norman Transcript


February 5, 2013

Wallace Payne Bonifield

NORMAN — Wallace Payne Bonifield, of Norman, passed peacefully at home Friday, Feb. 1, 2013, of colon cancer. Wally was born June 30, 1929, to Eva and Harry Wesley Bonifield in Blackwell.

Memorial services for Wallace will be 2 p.m. Friday at the First Christian Church, 220 S. Webster Ave. in Norman.

Edith Tunnell encouraged Wallace to complete his education. He attended San Antonio Junior College and then transferred to Phillips University in Enid. In 1950, he joined the 45th infantry division and served in Panama Canal and Korea as an M.P. for the advance transfer detail. He returned to Phillips University to finish his business administration degree. Wallace received his master’s degree at Indiana University.

Wally met the woman of his dreams at a social affair in Oklahoma City. He married Vivian Burkharton on Dec. 29, 1957, at Briton Christian Church in Oklahoma City.

Wallace served as executive director of Oklahoma Easter Seal Agency for 27 years before retiring in December 1995. During his tenure with OSCC/OESA, he implemented the telethon campaign in Oklahoma, beginning in Tulsa and adding the Oklahoma City campaign three years later in 1978. Wally worked tirelessly, raising millions of dollars to assist children throughout the state who could not afford eye glasses, hearing aids, wheelchairs, speech therapy, etc. He implemented a statewide vision, hearing, speech and scoliosis screening program, promoting early detection. He touched more than 100,000 students’ lives per school year. Wally also started the Easter Seal Summer Camp for disabled children, held each summer near Guthrie.

Wally was a well-known Rotarian, beginning his relationship with Club 29, Downtown Oklahoma City Rotary Club, in November 1969 and serving his community for more than 30 years. He was awarded the Paul Harris Fellowship. He joined the Norman Rotary Club after retiring. Wally was also a member of the Men’s Dinner Club, Oklahoma Special Education Committee, Oklahoma Rehabilitation Association and American Society for Public Administration in Oklahoma.

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