Reuben Wallace was born in Coolidge, Limestone County, Texas, on September 13, 1922 to Robert Lee and and Alma Ottena Jenson Wallace. His older brother was Robert Lee Wallace Jr. As a young man, Reuben worked as a telephone technician for his father’s telephone company. After graduating from high school, he entered the University of Texas but interrupted his undergraduate work to serve as a technician at Harvard Underwater Sound Laboratory (HUSL) from 1942 to 1945 and, briefly, at the US Navy Underwater Sound Laboratory in New London, Connecticut.
During World War II, Reuben was a technician on sonar projects at the Harvard Underwater Sound Laboratory. In 1945, he entered the Navy after volunteering to operate an experimental sonar onboard a submarine that was going into the Sea of Japan. That trip never took place due to the end of the war. Reuben then enlisted in the Army on September 20, 1946, and served with the occupation force in Japan.
After his military service, Reuben moved to Austin where he received a bachelor of science degree in physics from the University of Texas in June, 1951. He remained a resident of Austin for the rest of his life. As an undergraduate student he worked part-time at the Defense Research Laboratory (now the Applied Research Laboratories) of the University of Texas and continued working there full-time after graduation.
At UT Applied Research Laboratories (ARL ) [formerly Defense Research Laboratory (DRL)], from the time he joined the staff in 1949 until he retired in 1985, his role in various ARL projects is well-covered in the following text, but it should be noted that he had the nature to resolve many personnel problems. He spent onsideraltime on Navy advisory groups, both domestic and with allies, including NATO. He participated in the 1951 Summer Study at San Diego, California, where he modified an OLA (Ocean Land Atmosphere) sonar to operate at higher frequencies and performed tests in San Diego Bay. As soon as ARL received a mine-hunting contract, he made additional modifications, built more equipment, and participated in a program at LTSS. His specialty was electronics which he expanded to include sonar transducer design and construction. He essentially designed much of the early mine-hunting research equipment, including the mine classifier. He was an excellent supervisor, and, from 1953 to 1980, he served as Chester McKinney’s right-hand man—a de facto deputy director. He was appointed assistant director September 1, 1967, and associate director September 1, 1970. He played an important role in reviewing all technical reports in detail with the author, and he conducted dry runs on all papers presented at meetings. This information comes from A History of Applied Research Laboratories, Vol. 1, 1945–1980, by Chester McKinney and Clark Penrod,
Reuben was a member of Sigma Xi and a Fellow of the Acoustical Society of America. He was a member of the Technical Cooperation Panel, a multinational Navy research group, and a senior member of the Mobile Sonar Technology Committee for the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA).
Reuben met Nannie Sue Still at her sixth birthday party in 1930. Nannie Sue was the daughter of Peyton and Bess McIlvain Still. She was born July 11, 1924 in Denton, Texas. She attended Texas State College for Women in Denton where her mother also work in the resident housing office. Her father was a grocer. After many years of friendship, Reuben and Sue were married on March 23, 1951. Reuben and Sue spent many wonderful years together. Reuben and Sue had three sons, Lee, Rick, and Don. Don was a member of ARL staff.
Reuben retired in 1985 as the Associate Director for Research, but continued at ARL on a part-time basis for twenty more years. s together until her death in September, 1994. They raised three sons with whom they shared their love of travel and sporting events.
Reuben and Sue moved into Westminster Manor in April, 1990 and lived there the rest of their lives. Reuben was a baritone in the Westminster Manor choir for about twenty years. Reuben was a long-time member of University United Methodist Church and a past president of the Hickman Men's Sunday School Class.
Reuben is survived by his sons: Lee, Don and Rick; daughters-in-laws: Deb, Susan and Renee; five grandchildren and one great-granddaughter.
Sue Wallace died in 1994. Reuben died September 16, 2013. Reuben and Sue are both buried in Fairview Cemetery in Hubbard, Texas.
Positions at UT, Applied Research Laboratories, Badge #170
1949–1951 Technical Staff Assistant
1951—1963 Research Scientist, Acoustics Division
1965—1967 Division Head, Acoustics
1967—1970 Assistant Director
1970—1985 Associate Director
Reuben Wallace Photo and Document Album