John Wallace “Wally” McIntosh, 83, of Kirkwood, MO left our earthly plane peacefully on May 12, 2019.
Wally was born in 1935 to John and Evelyn (Miller) McIntosh in Gainesville, TX. His grandparents, Claude “Papaw” and Ada “Nanny” Miller, helped raise him and his younger brothers Jimmy and Joe, and he held a special place in his heart for them. He felt lucky for his childhood, with summers spent exploring and working with his brother Jimmy at their family’s farms near the Red River, and school years energized with football, basketball, and baseball. He greeted setbacks as challenges, and retaught himself math in Jr. High after a severe concussion. When he couldn’t afford to continue college at the University of Houston, he enlisted in the Army and achieved the rank of Sergeant during the Cold War. After the Army he continued his education, earning a B.S. and M. Ed. In Mathematics Education at North Texas State, an M.A. in Mathematics at Louisiana State, and a Mathematics Fellowship at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. While working as a high school algebra teacher in Dallas TX he met chemistry teacher Helen R. Horton who he thought was “more beautiful than calculus”. They married August 28, 1965 in Ponca City, OK. She had told him she wouldn’t marry him unless he learned to dance; their favorite evenings out in St. Louis were dancing together at the Casa Loma Ballroom. They were kindred spirits who shared a lifelong love of learning, teaching, and the outdoors.
John taught algebra and calculus in the St. Louis Community College system, first at Forest Park and then at Meramec. He challenged his students to do their best and also volunteered at his children’s schools and tutored kids who were having trouble with math. He supported Helen’s pursuit of her PhD and research work in neuroscience, and volunteered with her in retirement to mentor students competing in the science fair. Helen often spoke of how thankful she was for his support of her career and his partnership in raising their children.
He loved athletics and played softball with the STLCC faculty teams “F-Troop” and Meramec, and coached his son’s soccer and church softball teams. He loved playing senior pickup softball at Kirkwood Park, which reminded him of his childhood, but with beer. In the Senior Olympics he added the javelin and shot put to his favorite running and jumping events.
John was most at peace in the woods and meadows of farmland and natural areas, and he and Helen spent much of their free time outdoors. They camped with their children in the Ozarks on the edge of the Mark Twain National Forest, and with friends at Bergfried, Eliot Chapel’s property overlooking the confluence of the Gasconade and Missouri Rivers. John worked on conservation tasks at both locations, and they continued camping in tents into their 60’s and enjoyed day hikes into their 70’s.
John is survived by his children, Michele McIntosh of Raleigh, NC, Katherine “Kathy” (Jason Davis) McIntosh of Webster Groves, MO, and John “Doug” McIntosh of Seattle, WA; daughter in law, Shyra Nacht; grandchildren, Laura Davis, Samantha McIntosh, and Morgan Davis; brother James “Jim” (Wanda) McIntosh of Forney, TX; sister in law Emily (David) Stratton of Norman, OK, and extended family and friends who were each uniquely touched by his presence in their lives. John was preceded in death by his parents, his brother William Joseph McIntosh, and his wife of 51 years Dr. Helen R. H. McIntosh.
The family extends heartfelt thanks to the caring staff at The Quarters of Des Peres, Tim Gardner and the Eliot Chapel Pastoral Care Associates, and John’s friends.
Services: A Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday, November 16 at Eliot Unitarian Chapel, 100 South Taylor Avenue, Kirkwood, Missouri 63122 at 2:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his memory to: Eliot Unitarian Chapel (“Bergfried” in memo line), the Brain Trauma Foundation (www.braintrauma.org) or other organizations he supported.