Published March 15, 2019

MELROSE — Loretta M. (O’Connor) Wallace, 88, of Melrose, died at Melrose-Wakefield Hospital on March 9, 2019.

Loretta grew up in Jamaica Plain with her mother, father, and brother Jim. She attended parochial schools and led a life of strong faith. After graduating high school, Loretta enlisted in the U.S. Navy and was subsequently stationed in Norfolk, Va. It was there she met and married her husband, Ralph. They settled in Melrose and created a loving home for their seven children. They were married for 49 years before Ralph passed away suddenly in 2003.

When their children were young, Loretta volunteered as a Girl Scout and Boy Scout leader and took a job as a crossing guard in Melrose. She was active in the Saint Mary’s prayer group for many years. When her children were older, Loretta went to college and earned her associate’s degree in Interior Design from Bunker Hill Community College. She enjoyed decorating and making a house feel like a home.

She and Ralph owned and operated Chipman’s, a small family business in Wakefield, where she worked from 1978 until she retired at the age of 80 in 2011. A genuine people-person, Loretta was the primary contact for customers as they came through the door, happily offering advice and guidance in selecting window coverings for their homes.

Loretta valued spending time with her family and always treated others with respect and kindness. She enjoyed being outdoors, taking long walks, dancing, country music, and spending time with family and friends. Everyone who knew her was impressed by her generosity, kindness, forgiving nature, and her sense of humor.

Mrs. Wallace was the beloved wife of the late Ralph E. Wallace. She was the loving mother of Cathleen M. Corsetti and her husband Antony of Yarmouth Port; Steven R. Wallace and Patricia of Wakefield; Jean M. Wallace and Michael Fratto of Wakefield; Jane P. Chambers and Frank Pagliarulo of Somerville; Marguerite L. Wallace of Haverhill; James J. Wallace and Jennifer of North Reading; and Anne M. Demenkow and the late Shawn of Wakefield. She was the sister of the late James O’Connor. She is also survived by 12 grandchildren, the late Emily A. Demenkow, two great-grandchildren, and several nieces, nephews and friends.  

Visitation was held at the Gately Funeral Home, 79 W. Foster St., Melrose on Wednesday, March 13. A funeral procession from Gately Funeral Home took place on Thursday, March 14, followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at St. Mary’s Church, 9 Herbert St., Melrose, at 10 a.m. Interment at Forest Glade Cemetery in Wakefield. Relatives and friends were respectfully invited to attend.

Memorial contributions may be made in Loretta’s name to Dana-Farber Cancer Research Institute, 44 Binney St. #1234, Boston, MA 02115. To send a message of condolence please visit