Wallace, born in February, 1913, spent his early years in McGehee, Arkansas, a small town near Little Rock. Wallace always had an inquisitive mind. At age three, he was fascinated with numbers and gadgets. When offered a bicycle for his eleventh birthday, he asked instead for his first radio kit. He attended his first year of college at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri; however, his interest in electronics led him to transfer to the Georgia Institute of Technology for his second and third years of study.

This was the early 1930s, and due to the Great Depression, he was unable to complete his education.