Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia on June 13, 1976 · Page 153
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Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia · Page 153

Charleston, West Virginia
Issue Date:
Sunday, June 13, 1976
Page 153
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Page 153 article text (OCR)

Cov. George Wallace adjusts hearing aid to catch a quest/on at a rally as wife Cornelia watches. Beside her is a security man with a pistol under his jacket Having survived an assassin's bullet, Wallace has more bodyguards than any other Presidential candidate. by Lloyd Shearer a a £ 6 LOS ANGELES, CAL. C ornelia Wallace, wife of Alabama Gov. George Wallace, is at 37 a darkly beautiful woman in the summertime of her life. Ordinarily she is a strong, sparkling, extrovertive personality, optimistic and filled with the joy of living. But when she dropped by the other day to discuss her freshly published autobiography, C'nelia, there was an air of almost ineffable sadness about her. It was "born, of course, in the collapse of her husband's Presidential primary campaign and the worry of their future. Wallace has recently said, "I see myself as Governor for nearly three more years in Alabama, and then of course my political career will probably be over... I would not run for office again." Cornelia doesn't know whether that is true or not. "Holding public office as much and as long as he has," she says, "knowing how totally dedicated he is to politics, I'm not sure George could make an adjustment to another kind of life. Sometimes I get the feeling that maybe he might be able to. But I just don't know. "If I thought he could enjoy being out from under it and living a life without quite so many demands and a little more family time, it would suit me better, but I just don't know if at his age, 56, he can do it or not." George Wallace's first wife, Lurleen, was elected Governor of Alabama in 1966 because Wallace was prohibited by law from succeeding himself. Lurleen, widely loved, died of cancer in 1968. . · Senator Wallace? Would wife Cornelia be willing to run for Governor, too? "I really don't know," she confides in obviously agonizing doubt. "I just don't know if we could do it. Probably it would be better if George ran for the U.S. Senate. I think Senator Sparkman [Alabama's senior U.S. Senator, who is 76] plans to retire in 1978. "I know George'd be dynamic on the Senate floor. I think most people in Alabama would want him there, because he's a debater, a fighter. He's combative. He'd be marvelous in those debates on the Senate floor, you know, like the old-time politics where this spicy little man would take his cane and rake it across the table. "The only thing," she adds, "is that George says he's not interested in running for the Senate. He likes it too much down home. But if enough people appeal to him, I think it may be possible to .get him to run." Cornelia Ellis Snively Wallace, originally from Elba, Ala., first set eyes on State Rep. George Wallace when she was a child living in the Alabama executive mansion with her mother, a colorful character popularly known in the South as "Big Ruby," and her uncle, Gov. Jim Folsom. She was reared in the world of politics and politicians, left it all for Rollins College in Florida, a show-business try in New York, a worldwide country music road show, and eventually "reached stardom as a water- ballet queen" in a water-ski troupe at Cypress Gardens, Fla. In 1962, working at Cypress Gardens, Cornelia met John Snively III, grandson of the John Snively who had pioneered the citrus industry in Winter Haven, Fla., and surrounding areas. At one time the Snivelys were responsible for producing one-third of the Florida citrus crop. Cornelia and John Snively were married in 1962, a few months before George Wallace defeated Cornelia's uncle Jim Folsom and another candidate, Ryan DeGraffenreid, for the Governorship of Alabama. 'Cornelia's marriage to young Snively lasted seven years. They had two sons, Jim and Josh. The marriage ended in divorce in 1969 and was apparently so traumatic that Cornelia gives it only one paragraph in her book. They meet again After her divorce, Cornelia decided to live in Montgomery, Ala., with her two sons, and it was there she re-met George Wallace. "He began calling me," she recalls, "to discuss politics, but the calls soon became more personal and less political Mostly George talked about his deceased wife and 1 talked about my ex-husband. The

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