Cover photo for Raquel Cividanes Wallace's Obituary
Raquel Cividanes Wallace Profile Photo
1932 Raquel 2024

Raquel Cividanes Wallace

August 21, 1932 — February 22, 2024

Maryville, Tennessee

She was what life is all about.

Raquel Cividanes Wallace passed away on February 22, 2024, at the family home.

Raquel was born in San Juan Puerto Rico in 1932.  After her mother’s death when Raquel was 13 years old, she was raised by her aunt Felisa Rincon de Gautier (Dona Fela) the 25-year mayor of San Juan Puerto Rico.  During these formative years she was exposed to local and national politics.  Felisa Rincon was known as the “1st Lady of the Americas” being the first female mayor of a major city in the Western Hemisphere.  Raquel’s compassion for the poor and those in poverty was formed from her travels throughout Puerto Rico with Dona Fela.

At the young age of 16, Raquel moved to New York City to be closer to her beloved brother Felix, who was at the West Point Academy.  Her time in NYC was an adventure to say the least.  She studied ballet while being the roommate of a Radio City Music Hall Rockette, worked as a dental assistant, and for a short time worked at Bellevue Hospital.  Through it all she became very street smart and savvy.   She could navigate the streets of NYC like a native New Yorker.

After 5 years, Raquel was getting tired of the cold winters and was convinced by her best friend to move to Los Angeles.  She packed her bags and headed to California.  After a short period, she and her friend decided to go to Las Vegas and seek employment.

Raquel quickly landed a job at the Stardust Hotel and Casino where she saw famous people daily.  At one point a young Nat King Cole, who was performing at the casino, had been called a derogatory name by an employee of the hotel.  Raquel was livid.  She demanded that the employee be terminated, or she would quit her job that day.  Mr. Cole had heard that Raquel stood up for him and personally thanked her.  He would always tip his hat to her when he saw her in the casino and always say “Hi Rach!”

As lady luck would have it, a young gentleman from Tennessee was looking for employment at the same hotel and struck up a conversation with Raquel.  Soon after, she married John Richard Wallace.  They had their first child and shortly after they moved to San Juan to raise a family.

Their time in Puerto Rico was exciting but soon realized they wanted to raise their now 4 boys in John’s hometown of Maryville, TN.  Raquel claimed, “there were no nicer people in the world than those of East Tennessee”.

After the move to Tennessee, Raquel and John began a new business venture.  They developed and operated Tremont Campsites, currently Little Arrow Resort, in Townsend and ran the business for several years.

After John passed away in 1980, Raquel raised 4 young boys on her own.  No easy task, but she succeeded and sent them all to college and instilled hard work and family values that they carry to this day.  She taught her sons the love of music, opera, classic films, and Broadway plays, taking them on several trips to NYC.

Raquel made friends fast.   Most that met her never forgot her because of her Life Spirit.  Always smiling, laughing, singing and dancing.  She always told her boys and grandchildren, “think positive, stay positive.  God has a plan for all of us”.  She was spot on about that.

Raquel worked at the Bel-Air Grill for several years. In her later life, seemingly defying age, she spent much of her time at Zumba classes where she made great friends.  No one could believe she was in her 80’s.  One of her happiest times was when she became a grandmother, and the time she spent with her grandchildren.  She was so proud of her boys and grandchildren.

Raquel loved dogs throughout her life and will be greatly missed by “Yugi” who was by her side till the end.  She touched so many people and will be sadly missed.  

Raquel is preceded in death by her mother Eloise Cividanes; brothers Oscar and Felix Cividanes; husband John Richard Wallace; and aunt Felisa Rincon de Gautier.  She is survived by her sons John (Donna Oneal) Wallace, Jeff Wallace, Steve Wallace, and Michael Wallace, grandchildren Ryan Wallace and Danielle Sutton.

Special thanks to U.T. Hospice Care and the extended Wallace, Anthony, Roberts, Yarnell, and Oneal families. 

She loved you all.

“Dios te bendiga”

Graveside service at Grandview Cemetery Pavilion Saturday June 1, 2024 11:00am.
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Raquel Cividanes Wallace, please visit our flower store.

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