"His humor," Lexis Wallace, 12, said when asked what she misses about her father, slain Hoonah police officer Anthony Wallace, who died along with friend and fellow police officer Matthew Tokuoka from wounds suffered in a fatal ambush last weekend.
"He was a great dad ... he always made me laugh, always, always," she said.
Although Lexis' mother Tana Brown and Wallace never married, the two high school sweethearts did keep in contact.
"He was after me like a boy chasing a girl, that sort of thing," Brown said as to how they first met at Franklin High School in Ohio 15 years ago. "Even at that age he was always someone who, when he spoke, his word was like a church - it was the truth."
Wallace was a sophomore and Brown a freshman. Brown was pregnant with the couple's daughter when Wallace first left for Rochester Institute of Technology in New York after graduation.
Their daughter, Lexis, was born in 1998. Wallace returned when his studies allowed and during the summers. Lexis first visited him when she was 1 year old. Eventually, though, Wallace and Brown drifted apart before Lexis could really know him.
"He was always willing to do whatever it took to accomplish his goals," Brown said. "Unfortunately, Lexis got left behind, but he was really working on that. He just recently got back into her life. He was making it right."
Brown said she and Wallace stayed in touch in recent years by computer. When Lexis began to go through the standard difficulties that go along with being a pre-teen, Brown reached out to Wallace. Through e-mails, the trio began dialogue. That dialogue began a father-daughter relationship.
The relationship developed to the point where Wallace began an application to work for the Ohio Attorney General's Office so he could be closer to Lexis, Brown said.
Wallace also bought Lexis a cell phone last December and the two had been texting constantly.
"He was good at it, but not as fast as I am, though," Lexis laughed. "We talked a lot, about everything."
Wallace visited Lexis in Ohio in June and spent a week doing "all things Lexis," said the daughter who bears a striking resemblance to her father. Also like her father, she is an athlete. She plays volleyball and baseball.
"He didn't show me any wrestling moves," Lexis said of her father, who coached wrestling in Hoonah. "We went to Cincinnati Reds baseball games, Kings Island and a bunch of things. And I was planning to visit Hoonah in the spring."
Wallace had planned a return trip to Ohio in December to take them all to a Cincinnati Bengals football game.
"The tickets are here hanging on the refrigerator," Lexis said. "I am still going to go; he will be there ..."
Brown is working through an agency in Ohio to secure a plane ticket for Lexis and an aunt to fly to Alaska for the memorial services next week. When asked what she wanted to see in Hoonah, Lexis said, through tears, "My dad."
Contact Klas Stolpe at 523-2263 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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