Bonnie Ruth Slauson
Aug 29, 1921 - Jul 13, 1943
Bonnie Ruth Slauson
1938 Corsican - Most Beautiful Girl
CORSICANA DAILY SUN - JULY 13, 1943
Article from the collection of Edward L. Williams
Bonnie Ruth Slauson, age 22 years, died in a hospital at
Independence, Kansas, about 3 o'clock Tuesday morning after a short
illness following an attack of infantile paralysis. The body
is being returned to Corsicana for burial. Funeral services
will be held from the chapel of the Sutherland-McCammon Funeral Home
Wednesday afternoon at 5:30 o'clock. Rev. Alex B. Hanson,
rector of St. Johns Episcopal Church, will conduct the rites.
Burial will be in the
Miss Slauson, popular
member of the young set in Corsicana, graduated from the Corsicana high school
on May 27,
1938. She is also a graduate of Baylor University, Waco, where she was
active in student affairs. She taught in the Junior high school here
during the past term.
Surviving are her parents, Capt. and
Mrs. F. C. T. Slauson, Corsicana; a brother, Fred Slauson, Corsicana,
grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. H. L. Slauson, Corsicana, and other relatives.
INDEPENDENCE. Kas., July 13, (AP) - Bonnie Ruth Slauson, 22, who was
"Miss Texas" in 1940 at the Dallas State Fair, died today of infantile paralysis
from which she fell ill only last Thursday.
She had come here with her mother and young brother from
Corsicana, Texas, to visit her father, Capt. Frederick C. T.
Slauson, operations officer at the Independence Army Base.
Lieut. John Bagwell, Army Medical specialist, was flown here last
night from Fort Worth in a last minute effort to save her life.
Miss Slauson was graduated from Baylor this year and was teaching
art in the Corsicana schools. The funeral will be in Corsicana
St. Johnís Will Dedicate Organ Chimes, Cruets
The Rev. James Joseph, retiring rector of St. Johnís Church, has
announced that a new set of organ chimes given to the church by the
H. L. and Fred Slauson families will be dedicated Sunday, March 6th,
at the 9:30 a.m. service.
The gift is given in memory of H. L. Slauson and Bonnie Ruth
The rector further announced that a set of silver cruets given by
the R. R. Cocke family will be blessed and dedicated at the same
Father Joseph will complete his rectorship on Sunday and the
following week will proceed to St. Paulís, San Antonio, where he
officially takes over the rectorship of that parish.
RITES PLANNED FOR BONNIE RUTH SLAUSON WEDNESDAY AT 5:30
POPULAR CORSICANA GIRL DIED WHILE VISITING KANSAS
Funeral services for Miss Bonnie Ruth Slauson, who died early Tuesday
morning at Independence Kansas, will be held Wednesday afternoon at 5:30 o'clock
from the chapel of the Sutherland-McCammon Funeral Home. Rev. Alex B. Hanson,
rector of St. John's Episcopal Church, will conduct the rites. Burial will be in
the Oakwood Cemetery.
Miss Slauson had gone to Independence with her mother and brother, Fred, to
visit her father, Capt. F.C.T. Slauson who is stationed there, when she was
Reared in Corsicana, she was one of the most popular members of the young set.
She graduated from Corsicana High school, later from Baylor University, and was
a teacher in the public schools here.
She was showered with honors through high school and college, but their
frequency never dulled her appreciation of them. She was voted the most
beautiful girl in the Corsicana high school in her senior year and participated
in coronation of high school queens here. At Baylor she was voted a college
beauty each year. In 1941 she was elected queen of queens of the Texas State
Fair and was awarded a trip to Hollywood for a screen test at the
In College Who's Who.
She was selected tow years in succession by Who's Who Among Students in American
Universities and Colleges as an outstanding student while attending Baylor
At Baylor she majored in Home Economics, was a D.A.P., Baylor Beauty, Delta
Sigma PI Sweetheart, Secretary Home Economic Club on Yearbook staff and
represented Baylor at the University of Texas Round-Up, on Dean's honor roll,
member of W.A.A., Little Theatre, president of D.A.P. Pledges and received many
She was a member of St. John's Episcopal Church and a charter member of the
James Blair, Jr. Chapter of the D.A.R.
Surviving are her parents, Capt. and Mrs. Frederick Slauson, Corsicana; a
brother, Fred Slauson, Corsicana; grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. H. L. Slauson,
Corsicana and other relatives.
How Long Has It Been ?" by Wallace O. Chariton
used with permission
Probably the first photograph ever taken of the
Wolf Brand Chili Can car, as it was called. The little
girl is is Bonnie Ruth Slauson, Fred Slauson's daughter.
The following excerpt is from "Neighbor, How Long
Has it Been ?"
.... Back home in Texas,
one member of the Wolf Brand family seemed on the verge of stardom. Bonnie
Ruth, Slauson's daughter, had grown to be quite a young lady. After
graduating from Corsicana High School where she had been one of the friendliest
and most popular students, she left to attend Baylor University in Waco, to
major in home economics. Although classmates described her as a modest
all-around coed, she was voted most beautiful four years in a row and twice was
named an outstanding student by Who's Who Among Students in American Colleges
By the time Bonnie Ruth was a senior at
Baylor, she'd caught the eye of a Hollywood scout. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
called and wanted her to come to Hollywood for a screen test. She agreed,
but there was something she had to do first. She had been selected to
represent Baylor in the Queen of Queens contest at the State Fair of Texas in
Dallas. At a time when most young ladies would have dropped everything for
the chance of a screen test, Bonnie Ruth wanted to fulfill her obligations.
She said she'd come to Hollywood after the contest and the studio agreed.
The state fair competition was no contest. Just as Bonnie Ruth's friends
had predicted, she was crowned Queen of Queens. Earl Carrol proclaimed her
the most beautiful girl in Texas. The Sunday after the competition,
October 26, 1941, she was featured in a full-page picure spread in the Dallas
Morning News. By the time the newspaper hit the streets, Bonnie was in
Fred Slauson's head, it's been said, swelled to several times its
normal size with pride. He managed to get leave from the Army
so he and his wife could accompany Bonnie Ruth to Hollywood.
A local girl going to Hollywood was big news in Corsicana, Texas.
The Corsicana Daily Sun, which couldn't afford to send along a
reporter, asked Bonnie Ruth if she would write the story of her
adventure, in her words, for the paper. Like she always did,
Bonnie Ruth agreed. Here's how she described her first day in
"Strange" fails to describe the
feeling of being "feted and dined" by the top names in Hollywood. It's an
all-mixed-up sensation - like a skyrocket going up, and up, and up. The
thought of making a screen test tomorrow is even more frightening, and honestly
I don't think my knees have stopped shaking since I left the train this
Apparently, the arrival of a young Texas beauty was also big news in
Hollywood. Fred and Bonnie Ruth both expressed surprise at the amount of
local press she received. Her picture appeared in the local newspapers
several times during her week long stay.
Bonnie Ruth got her screen test. She was dressed in one of
Lana Turner's gowns and looked prettier than ever. Hollywood
was far from through with this Texas beauty. Bonnie Ruth
enjoyed lunch at the commissary, especially eating next to the likes
of Spencer Tracy, Judy Garland, Robert Taylor, and Gracie Allen.
Paramount heard she was in town and wanted to give her a screen test
of their own and a major talent agency called and wanted to talk
After several days in California,
Fred Slauson sent a letter back home to Texas. In part he said, "Each day
Bonnie feels less and less as though she would take a job if they offered it.
She has seen the inside of it very thoroughly and is not too greatly impressed."
So Hollywood liked Bonnie, but she didn't like Hollywood.
Despite assurances from Paramont executives they they would make her
"a big star," Bonnie Ruth opted to return to classes at Baylor and never even
considered going back to Hollywood. She graduated in May 1942 and took the
summer off. In the fall of 1942, she became a teacher at the Navarro
County Junior College
[ NOTE 1 ]
in Corsicana. In her free time, she took flying
lessons, hoping to become a pilot like her father.
July, 1943, Jeanne, Bonnie Ruth, and her little brother Fred Jr. decided to
visit Capt. Slauson in Independence, Kansas. They rode the train to Dallas
where they were to make connections for Kansas. While waiting for their
train, Bonnie Ruth fainted. She was revived and insisted they go on to
Kansas even though she wasn't feeling well.
By the time they arrived in Kansas, Bonnie was very sick.
She was rushed to a hospital where it didn't take the doctors long
to make a diagnosis. Bonnie had the dreaded infantile
paralysis, better known as polio. The doctors were not
Slauson has some contacts with the
Army Medical Corps since it had been his unfortunate duty to notify families in
the area when their sons had died in combat. He pleaded with anyone and
everyone for help. The Army responded with all they had.
Lt. John Bagwell, a polio specialist, was immediately flown in from Fort Worth.
After examining Bonnie, he told Slauson there wasn't much hope. About the
only thing they could do was try a new machine called an iron lung that had
recently been developed. Slauson agreed and a few hours later, an Army
transport touched down in Independence with the machine on board. Bonnie
Ruth became the first polio patient placed in an iron lung.
The machine didn't even slow the disease. Bonnie Ruth Slauson, the young
lady with such a bright future ahead of her, died shortly after three o'clock in
the morning on July 13, 1943. She was twenty[-two years old.
Fred Slauson was devastated beyond description. The love of his life had
been taken from him and he would never be the same again. Bonnie Ruth was
buried in Corsicana. There's a bench beside her grave with the simple
inscription. "Sit here awhile with Bonnie Ruth who never knew a stranger."
Note 1: Bonnie never taught at Navarro County
Junior College. It was not organized until 1946 and as Bonnie Ruth
died in 1943 it does not compute. I believe it should be the
Corsicana Junior High, as also stated in one of the newspaper
articles. Ellen Jeanne Adair - 4/2004
Information submitted by
Edward L. Williams
d/o Capt. Frederick Charles Thatcher Slauson, Sr.
and Jeanne Light (Caraway) Slauson
1938 CHS Classmates
1938 Corsican Extract
Inscription on the Bench reads:
Rest here with Bonnie Ruth, who knew no stranger
1921 - 1943
Oakwood Cemetery, Corsicana, Navarro County, Texas