Casper has lost a shining star. Longtime local counselor and perennial community theater presence Teresa Petrosky Wallace passed away at the Wyoming Medical Center on June 22, 2019 due to the effects of a massive stroke. While her passing has left a terrible void, her legacy of joy, positivity, and resilience sustains her family and many, many friends.
Teresa was born March 23, 1960 in Rochester, Indiana, to Rudy and Carolyn Sue Petrosky. The family home was in nearby Akron, Indiana, where she grew up with her brothers Steve and Kemo. Teresa attended Akron Elementary School and Tippancanoe Valley High School and soon proved herself a bright and capable student. While at Valley, she took part in many extra-curricular activities, including track, tennis, and drama productions. Also during high school, Teresa participated in a bible study group with a number of friends who would remain her “gang” throughout her life.
After high school, Teresa went on to Purdue University, graduating with highest distinction in 1982. She then earned her master’s degree in family and child development at Kansas State University in 1986.
Immediately after graduate school, Teresa worked at youth service agencies in the suburbs of Chicago, where she encountered many rough kids and tough family situations. She won them over with her unique blend of understanding, empathy, and an insistence on accountability. In 1989, Teresa came to Casper, fulfilling the wish she first expressed as a child to live near mountains. She went to work as a therapist at the Wyoming Counseling Center. Her next job was as a house counselor at the Wyoming Youth Treatment Center in Casper. She began working at Casper College in 1991 as Grant Coordinator for Special Populations; then moved into a counselor position. She served as Director of Counseling for the last six years of her career. Teresa retired in 2017 after 32 total years as a helping professional; 26 of those years at Casper College.
In her professional career Teresa received numerous awards, including the Wyoming Counseling Association Outstanding Service Award in 1997 and 2002, the Casper College Outstanding Administrator Award in 2013, and the PMO Natrona Prevention Partner of the Year Award in 2017. Also in 2017, she was chosen as one of Tippancanoe Valley High School’s Distinguished Alumni.
Shortly after arriving in Casper in 1988, Teresa auditioned for, and received a role in, “The Farndale Avenue Housing Estate Townswomen's Guild Dramatic Society Murder Mystery” at Stage III Community Theatre. A few months later, she met the love of her life doing the play “Catch Me If You Can.” These were the first of many roles over the coming years. Teresa was quickly recognized as one of Casper’s most talented and versatile actresses. Theatre audiences will no doubt remember her leading performances in such productions as “Death of a Salesman” at Casper College, “A Christmas Story” at the Casper Children’s Theatre, and “Later Life,” “Medea,” and “A Streetcar Named Desire” at Stage III. Her final performance was as Kate in “All My Sons” in March of this year.
Teresa married Dob Wallace in 1991 and they were inseparable ever after. Together they brought three wonderful children into the world: Graham, Will and Micki. Of her many accomplishments in life, Teresa was always most proud of her role as mother. She was exceedingly happy when her family grew in 2016 with the marriage of Graham and Kayla. Teresa was always an enthusiastic supporter of the arts and theatre and also volunteered her time with local branches of the American Cancer Society and the National MS Society. She has been described as an unsung hero for merely doing her daily job of caring for, listening to, and assisting individuals who were struggling mentally or emotionally. Long after the sadness of her loss has faded, the joy of having known and loved Teresa will continue to shine bright. The only thing she couldn’t do was not care.
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