Wallace Whitfield Riddick Jr., the son of the late Wallace W. Riddick and Ella H. Riddick, was born in Greenville, S.C., on January 7, 1919. His paternal grandparents were Dr. Wallace Carl Riddick and Lillian Daniel Riddick of Raleigh, N.C. His grandfather, Dr. Riddick, was associated with North Carolina State College for many years, serving as Football Coach from 1898 to 1899, President of the College from 1916 to 1923, and as the first Dean of the School of Engineering from 1923 to 1937.
When Wallace was 15 months old, he moved with his parents to Demopolis, Alabama. He was educated in the public schools of Demopolis and graduated from Demopolis High School in May 1936, having served as captain of the football squad in his senior year. In September 1936, he entered North Carolina State College and received a Bachelor of Science degree in Textile Weaving and Designing on June 3, 1940. After finishing high school, Wallace went to work for Burlington Mills during summer vacations, and upon graduation from the college worked for Burlington until he entered the service. He was assistant superintendent of the Lexington, N.C. plant at the time of his entry into the Army.
As a reserve officer, Wallace asked for active duty immediately after Pearl Harbor. He was sent to Fort Benning in January 1942 for training and kept on as an instructor there. On August 11, 1942, he was promoted to First Lieutenant. Later he served at Fort Sill, Oklahoma in an infantry heavy weapons battalion. On July 13, 1943, he was married to Vestal Leonard, of Lexington, N.C., at Fort Sill.
In June 1944, Wallace landed in France as a replacement officer with Co. D, 116th Infantry Regiment, 29th Division. The Division was in action constantly, and Wallace was wounded twice before his death. He was killed at the siege of Brest on September 1, 1944 and was buried at St. James, France.
(Source: School of Textiles, North Carolina State College. 1954. The Dedication of the Textile School Library at North Carolina State College of the Consolidated University of North Carolina, Raleigh, May 28, 1954. NCSU Archives.)