Missouri’s education commissioner and a number of current and former state lawmakers traveled to southern Missouri’s Ava for Thursday’s funeral for former State Rep. Maynard Wallace, R-Thornfield.

Former State Rep. Maynard Wallace, R-Thornfield, speaks on the Missouri House floor in Jefferson City on April 8, 2010 (file photo courtesy of Tim Bommel at House Communications)

An obituary from Clinkingbeard Funeral Homes says Mr. Wallace died suddenly at his home on Sunday. He was 77.

The Thornfield Republican served in the Missouri House for eight years, from 2003-2010. He chaired the powerful Missouri House Elementary and Secondary Education Committee during his final two years.

State Sen. Karla Eslinger, R-Wasola, describes Wallace as a champion for public education.

“He would find an opportunity for folks to understand that we have some really good schools out there,” Eslinger says. “He was very proud of the work of the schools in his (southern Missouri) district, and so he was able to share those success stories to folks who may not have that perception of public education.”

Wallace also served as a school superintendent in Ava and in southwest Missouri’s Forsyth. Eslinger served as assistant superintendent under Wallace, at Ava.

She tells Missourinet that Wallace was a statesman.

“The difference between a politician and a statesman is that a politician is worried about the next election, a statesman is worried about the next generation. And I think that is definitely Maynard Wallace,” says Eslinger.

After leaving the Legislature, Wallace also served three years on the State Board of Education. He also served six years on the Missouri State Tourism Commission.

Senator Eslinger also describes him as a devoted husband, grandfather and a man of faith.

Former State Sens. David Sater, R-Cassville, and Mike Cunningham, R-Rogersville, were among the many former and current lawmakers who attended the funeral.

Click here to listen to Brian Hauswirth’s full five-minute interview with State Sen. Karla Eslinger, R-Wasola, which was recorded on January 21, 2021:

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