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 Oakwood Cemetery.
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
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
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.
- The Corsicana Daily Sun -
Wednesday, March 2, 1955
- Submitted by
From "Neighbor, 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
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 Hollywood.
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 morning."
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 her free time, she took flying lessons, hoping to become a pilot
like her father.
In 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.
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