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Originally published: 2012-12-18 13:24:55
Last modified: 2012-12-18 13:54:24

Leigh Cooper Wallace

Leigh Cooper Wallace, 43, of Todd, passed away unexpectedly Monday morning at Johnson City Medical Center, Tennessee. Wallace was born in the Panama Canal Zone on Aug.12, 1969, to Louise and Claude Cooper. She grew up in a military family and lived in many places in her youth: Panama Canal Zone; Rock Hill, S.C., Fort Benning, Ga., Fort Bragg, Altoona, Pa., Fort Buchanan, Puerto Rico; and Fort Leavenworth, Kan. While living in these different places, Wallace learned the value of lasting friendships and cultural diversity.

She graduated in 1987 from Leavenworth (KS) High School, then graduated from Appalachian State University in 1992 with a degree in Exercise Science. She was a standout distance runner for ASU, winning the Southern Conference outdoor championships in track in 1992 in the 3000, 5000, and 10,000 meter events. Wallace also coached track and cross country at Watauga High School for over 10 years, and her teams won numerous conference, regional, and state championships. She taught Healthful Living and physical education at Watauga High School from 1998 until the present. She helped establish women's lacrosse as a varsity sport at Watauga High School and was the first head coach in this sport. She was inducted into the Watauga Sports Hall of Fame in 2006.

In addition to her parents, Wallace is survived by her loving husband, Christopher Harold Wallace; and her two cherished children, a son, Jacob Christopher Wallace, and a daughter, Haleigh Lynn Wallace, all of the home. She is also survived by her devoted sisters, Julie Cooper Hodge and Holley Cooper Quick (David), both of Todd; and her special brother Graig Wilson Cooper of San Francisco, Calif. She leaves behind five nieces and nephews who loved their Aunt Leigh, Riley and Regan Hodge, Cade and Coen Quick, and Findley Cooper. Also surviving are her great-aunt Connie Martin of Fayetteville and her great aunt and uncle Dixie and John Martin of Charlotte, and many beloved aunts, uncles, and cousins, as well as her husband Chris's family, Candy and Ray Wallace, and Rodney and Gavin Wallace.

As a parent, teacher, and coach, Wallace's spirit, inspiration, and memory continue on in the hearts of her children, students, and athletes, those she dedicated herself to most passionately. It is they, along with the staff and faculty of Watauga High School to whom Wallace has imparted the values of good decision-making, working hard to achieve goals and overcome adversity, and truly living life to the fullest every day.

She will be greatly missed by all who knew her.

Visitation will be held 5 to 8 p.m. at Watauga High School on Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012. Friends may call at the funeral home to show their respect anytime after 3 p.m. on Wednesday. A private interment for the family will be conducted at Mount Lawn Cemetery prior to the memorial service, which will be held 3 p.m. at Watauga High School on Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012.

In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to the Leigh Cooper Wallace Memorial Fund, c/o State Employees Credit Union, in the name of Chris Wallace, 410 New Market Blvd, Boone, NC 28607; or to any North Carolina State Employees Credit Union office.

Online condolences may be sent to the Wallace family at

Hampton Funeral and Cremation Service is in charge of the arrangements.