We are saddened to report that Richard Wallace, our past cover trucker from back in October of 2001, has died. At the young age of just 58, cancer took his life on August 22, 2012. Having not kept in touch with Richard over the years, we were made aware of his passing by one of his former drivers and friend, Tom Macias of Corona, CA.
Born in Tennessee in 1954, Richard and his family moved to Riverside, CA not long after he was born. Working as a contractor for almost 20 years until the economy crashed in the late 1980s, Richard went on to be a mechanic, a tow truck driver, and then a dump truck driver in Southern California.
When we met Richard and put him on our cover, he was driving the 1976 Kenworth conventional seen here. Powered by a Big Cam Cummins 400, Richard built this truck himself – it was in pretty bad shape when he bought it. Painted Lavender Metallic at Tom’s Truck Painting in Fontana, CA, the Kenworth then went to Absolutely Custom Paintwerx in Anaheim to get Metallic Green flames.
Back then, Richard and his wife Penny, along with several other drivers, were pulling bottom dumps, hauling sand and gravel out of Corona and taking it to a concrete plant in Irvine. Not long after being on our cover, Richard and Penny got fed up with having so many trucks and drivers, and decided to sell it all, except for their two trucks, and let all of the drivers go. At that time, Tom Macias, who had just started driving for Richard, was wondering what he was going to do.
Wanting to help Tom out, Richard sold him one of their trucks without any money down and told Tom that he did not need to make his first payment for three months. This allowed Tom to get started and make some money, before he had to make a payment. To this day, Tom is forever grateful to Richard for helping him to get started in trucking.
After running the bottom dumps for a few years, Richard and Penny later switched over to running transfers for a while. But, again, the economy started to fade, and the couple found themselves selling their transfers and buying a slick 2005 Peterbilt 379 Extended Hood with a 70-inch double bunk sleeper and hitting the road together as a team. Pulling a step-deck, the two hauled all sorts of freight, all over the country, for almost five years.
Growing up with eight siblings, Richard had family all over the country, so wherever they were trucking, they always had someone to visit. Having family in California, Indiana, Ohio, Louisiana, Iowa, Mississippi, Arizona, Minnesota, New Mexico and Montana, they had a lot of “family reunions” out there. When Richard wasn’t trucking or playing around with his Harley, he loved to go fishing on the Mississippi River and in the Bayous around Louisiana whenever they had a layover.
In May of 2012, after feeling sick for a day or two and complaining of a backache for a few weeks after changing the brakes on Penny’s car, he went to the doctor and was diagnosed with Stage 4 liver cancer. Three short months later, on August 22, he was gone. Penny and the rest of the family had a memorial service at their home in Perris, CA. Richard’s body was cremated.
Richard was not afraid of dying, but he was sad that he was going to pass away so soon and leave so many loved ones behind. Richard is survived by his wife, Penny, four sons, three grandchildren, four sisters, three brothers, and countless others. Richard had a lot of friends and was highly-respected by his peers. People like Tom Macias, and many others, looked up to him as a father-figure, and he helped them whenever and however he could. Richard and Penny were together for 28 years, and married for 18 of them.
The old KW was sold a few years after being on our cover, and has not been seen for a while. Presently, Penny is pondering her future and trying to sell the Peterbilt. We are proud to have had Richard Wallace and his truck on our cover, and send our thoughts and prayers out to the entire family.