Published on February 28, 2019

Wallace Retires from Wellness Center

Salley WallaceCurrent and former coworkers honored Sallye Wallace with a retirement reception Feb. 28 after almost 30 years of service at the NMMC Wellness Center.

Sallye Wallace, one of the original employees of the North Mississippi Medical Center Wellness Center in Tupelo, has retired after almost 30 years of service.

A 1972 graduate of Itawamba Agricultural High School in Fulton, Wallace earned an associate degree in secretarial science from Itawamba Community College in 1974. She studied photojournalism at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg before working as a flight attendant for Southern Airways in Memphis. She also worked briefly for ICC and a few area industries before joining NMMC the first time.

“In 1987, I was hired as a secretary for Optifast, a weight loss program that was affiliated with NMMC,” Wallace said. “After about a year-and-a-half, I left for another job, but my former boss at NMMC called to see if I was interested in coming back to work for the new Wellness Center that was being built.”

In June 1989, she was rehired at NMMC and worked as part of a skeleton crew in a small building on President Street to launch the new facility. “We were doing assessments with blood pressure cuffs, two bicycles, and scales for height and weight, plus the paperwork,” Wallace said. “We wanted to get 1,100 members before we opened. We did it.”

On September 16, 1989, the Wellness Center opened with Wallace as a member services representative. “It’s funny how little equipment we had back then,” she said, “nothing compared to what is on the fitness floor now.”

Over the years she enjoyed teaching yoga and the Arthritis Foundation Aquatic Program, as well as participating in community events with Wellness Center staff and getting to know many of the members. “I have made a lot of friends here and a lot of memories, but I am looking forward to the next stage of my life,” she said.

Wallace will soon be moving to Gulf Breeze, Fla., to be close to her daughter, Katie Smith, and three grandchildren—Braden, 18; Bella, 12; and Lexie, 3. She plans to start a blog and write a book, and she has big crafting plans. “I like to make things. I look at a piece of wood and automatically see what I want to paint on it,” she said. “I love Ole Miss stuff—I put Ole Miss on anything I can.” In addition to painting, she also enjoys flower arranging, photography and making jewelry. She hopes to sell her variety of wares in local craft shows, but retirement won’t all be about work. “I’m looking forward to relaxing on the beach,” she adds.

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