Wallace Drew, chair emeritus of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, died peacefully on September 7, 2003 at the age of 85. Wally was one of the Foundation’s founders and served as its first treasurer and later as the first chair of the Board. A disabling stroke in 1998 slowed Wally down considerably, but he fought back courageously and remained involved in the work of the Foundation until his death.
During World War II, Wally served as a major in the Army Corps of Engineers. He landed at Normandy and fought in seven major battles across France. He was part of the US forces that liberated Paris and one of the first Americans to enter the Buchenwald concentration camp. Wally received a Bronze Star and seven battle stars. After the conclusion of the war in Europe, Wally was assigned to be part of the planning group for the invasion of Japan.
His experiences in war as a young man strengthened Wally’s commitment to building a peaceful world. In a 1997 interview, Wally reflected upon these experiences, “I was one of four boys. One brother was killed in action, another was wounded. I wanted to do everything possible to prevent future wars.”
Wally’s commitment to preventing future wars led him to join with David Krieger, Frank Kelly and Charles Jamison in the creation of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation in 1982. Wally served on the Foundation’s Board of Directors for the next 21 years.
Wally was a humble man who did not seek recognition for himself, but for his efforts he received many awards. These included a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Santa Barbara News Press, a Community Service Award from the Anti-Defamation League, and a Community Hero Award from Sansum Clinic. Wally believed in giving back to his community and to the world, and he did so in many admirable ways.
Foundation President David Krieger said of Wally in his Eulogy: “In a world filled with suffering, Wally lived compassionately. In a world awash in apathy and complacency, Wally lived with commitment. And in a world too often marked by the cowardice of inaction, Wally consistently acted with courage.”
We will miss Wally’s determination and good humor, along with his compassion, commitment and courage, but we will carry forward his spirit in the work of the Foundation.
In honor of Wally, the Foundation is establishing the Wallace T. Drew Internship for Peace and Disarmament. This internship will support the work of a summer intern to work on issues of peace and disarmament each year at the Foundation.