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'Momma Doe' Was a Kid At Heart

“Momma Doe” was one of several nicknames Wilton’s Doreen Wallace was given by the children she would see at Cranbury Park in Norwalk.  According to Dawn Tanner, one of Wallace’s best friends, she attracted kids to her because she was a child at heart, but still had with the wisdom of an old person.

“She could color in coloring books with children for hours and then the next minute we’re discussing politics,” Tanner said of her friend.

Wallace, 50, of Cannon Rd. was found floating, unconscious in the Norwalk River following a kayaking accident with her boyfriend James Lind, 46 on Friday, Oct. 1. She was rushed to Norwalk Hospital, but could not be saved and was pronounced dead later that night.

Tanner formed the Doreen Kelly Wallace Memorial Group on Facebook and described Wallace as a “free spirit” and said that she was always up for trying new things.  Kayaking was one of Wallace’s latest ventures.

“She would be in one environment and say this is really cool I am going to do this for a little while,” Tanner said of Wallace.

The two met while at Central Catholic High School in Norwalk when Tanner, a sophomore, was assisting in Wallace’s freshmen art class.  Tanner remembers walking around when Wallace asked her to help her draw a snake with its tail wrapped around a bottle of liquor. After that the two hit it off right away Tanner said describing them as “kindred spirits.”

The two remained close as they got older with Tanner being the Godmother to Wallace’s son John and Wallace the maid of honor in Tanner’s wedding.  Even when Tanner moved to Virginia they still spoke all the time. Tanner said she was planning a trip up to Connecticut to see her best friend this holiday season.

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