Dr. Donald E. Wallis, 89, of Knoxville passed away on Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2020. Originally from Niota, he knew from an early age that he wanted to be a doctor. At the age of 16, he earned his pilot’s license and eventually combined two passions by joining the Air National Guard, becoming a flight surgeon. He retired in 1986 from the 134th Air Refueling Unit at McGhee Tyson after rising to the rank of Colonel and Commander of the Airbase Medical Clinic. During the 1961 Berlin Crisis, Dr. Wallis took part in the humanitarian air drop off of supplies to Berlin after Russia built the Berlin Wall. In 1962, flying with the 151st Fighter Interceptor Squadron, Dr. Wallis helped transport all the life-saving botulism antitoxin known to exist in the U.S. from Washington, D.C., to Tennessee after a deadly outbreak of food poisoning. Dr. Wallis completed his internship and residency at U.T. Hospital in Knoxville. He practiced in several area hospitals, eventually making Baptist Hospital of East Tennessee his home, retiring in 1998. Dr. Wallis was preceded in death by his wife, Mary Layman Wallis “Peachy”; father, Carl (P.K.) Wallis; mother, Ruby Gregg Wallis; grandmother, Lizzie Foster Wallis; and aunt, Pauline Wallis. He is survived by daughters, Kathy Changas (Paul) and Sandy Warren (Scott); sister, Carlene Wallis Hill; and very special friend, David Hartsell. A graveside service will be held on Tuesday, Aug. 11, at 11 a.m. at Niota Cemetery with Chaplain Dan Hix officiating. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials be made to Turtle Rescue League, 456 Lebanon Hill Rd., Southbridge, MA 01550. The family invites friends to share their fond memories and sign the online guestbook at www.berryfuneralhome.com Berry Funeral Home of Knoxville is in charge of arrangements.

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