LAS VEGAS — Industry pioneer Gene Wallace, the owner and founder of Love Toys, passed away last Saturday due to a brain aneurysm.
“The adult Industry has lost yet another pioneer in the industry,” Love Toys sales manager Thomas Rafferty told XBIZ. “Gene was one of the first mold makers in the adult toy business, making way for many of the companies today. He will be sadly missed by family, friends and employees.”
Wallace started manufacturing sex toys in the ‘60s after years as a mainstream toy manufacturer. After retiring from the business in 1981, Wallace came back to found Love Toys Inc.
“I have always known the name ‘Gene Wallace,” Synergy Erotic President Bob Wolf said, “he was a mainstay in the adult industry throughout my career (35 years) and while later in his career he chose a path that put him outside the mainstream manufacturer/distributor/retailer chain his contributions to the industry should not be taken lightly or forgotten.
“Gene was a pioneer in many regards including importing products from Asia and new material development; much of what Gene worked on early in his career is still commonplace in today's adult industry.”
Paradise Marketing CEO Dennis Paradise added, “I knew Gene Wallace for many years, and was genuinely saddened upon hearing of his passing. Gene was smart. He knew everyone, and everyone I knew respected him and liked him. Above all, Gene was always a gentleman. He was always a pleasure to work with or just to have a cup of coffee. His stories about how the adult novelty business grew from the 1960's on through today should have been in a book.
“Gene always had a sly grin and a positive attitude. Even those in the business who never knew him lost a friend and a founder.”
"Love Toys has been around since well before my founding of my store, Grand Opening!, which was in 1993," Kim Airs told XBIZ. "They would always stock the go-to products that people still want, even to this day. Love Toys has always been a like a small family that happens to sell sex toys! They've recently brought in some great new toys and I know Love Toys will go on with the spirit of Gene as the driving force."
Wolf told XBIZ that like so many of the early pioneers in the adult industry, such as David Sturman, Larry Flynt and Paul Wisner, Wallace also stood up for his beliefs.
“Gene was a tenacious, self-made man, having made and lost his fortune a couple times over, but when you got him alone he was a kind, gentle, and amusing person who doted on his wife Flora and worshipped his daughter Joy,” Wolf said. “Some of my fondest memories of Gene were those times when he'd come to visit at my office, sit back on my couch looking up at the ceiling, and relate his countless stories of growing up dirt poor, happy and always looking for the next opportunity. Gene was a very dear man; my life is better and more fulfilled for having knowing him. I am proud to have called him my friend and I'll miss him.”