Valdi Wilcox (1948-2004)

by Paula Bosse

valdi-wilcox_adamson-yrbk_196517-year-old Valdi Wilcox in 1965

by Paula Bosse

A couple of days ago, I came across this wonderful full-page Dallas Morning News photo from 1948 which shows an attractive young couple strolling through Lake Cliff Park with their baby-boomer baby (click for larger image):

DMN, Oct. 10, 1948

The couple was identified as Mr. and Mrs. Glenn Wilcox; the unseen baby in the buggy was “Suzanne.” I decided to look the Wilcoxes up, to see how the family’s life unfolded. It started off great; unfortunately, it didn’t end great.

Glenn Wilcox and Ruth Wright attended Southwestern Oklahoma State University School of Pharmacy together in the early 1940s.

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Glenn and Ruth, 1942

By 1943 they had married, and after the war they settled in Oak Cliff. Glenn worked at various drug stores and ended up owning one or more of the Raven’s Pharmacies in Oak Cliff. Their daughter, Valdi Suzann Wilcox, was born on June 20, 1948. Fast-forward to the 1960s: Valdi was a very popular student at Adamson High School. Among other things, she was a member of the National Honor Society, was one of the leaders of the Leopardettes drill team, and was active in several clubs. She was also voted the Most Popular Girl of the Class of 1966.

After graduating from Adamson, Valdi became a licensed mental-health professional — she was an accredited counselor who lacked only a dissertation to complete her Ph.D. in psychology. But something happened to her along the way. Something bad. She appears to have developed some sort of psychosis and began to spiral out of control. Kicked out of shelters for abusive behavior, she lived on the streets. Her violent death at the age of 55 was an incredibly sad one.

Steve Blow of The Dallas Morning News wrote about Valdi’s story in 2004. His wrenching article is here. As I read the article, I kept thinking of that photo of the happy, young , picture-perfect Wilcox parents strolling through Lake Cliff Park with their baby daughter in her buggy. It’s just another sobering reminder that — as trite as it sounds to say it — homeless people on the street haven’t always been homeless. Their parents had hopes and dreams for their child’s bright future. Just like Valdi’s parents did.


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Photographs of Valdi Wilcox are from the 1964, 1965, and 1966 Adamson High School yearbook.

Photographs of Valdi’s parents, Glenn and Ruth Wilcox, are from The Dallas Morning News (Oct. 10, 1948) and the 1942 Southwestern Oklahoma State University yearbook.

Steve Blow’s first story on Valdi — “Sadly Val’s Story Now Sets Itself Apart” — appeared in The Dallas Morning News on June 13, 2004 (one week before what would have been Valdi’s 56th birthday), and a follow-up appeared in his July 14, 2004 column; both can be read here.

Most pictures are larger when clicked.


Copyright © 2016 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.