Dixie Lucile Willson

Dixie Lucile Willson

Estherville, Emmet County, Iowa, USA
Death 1974 (aged 83–84)
Fair Haven, Monmouth County, New Jersey, USA
Burial Mason City, Cerro Gordo County, Iowa, USA
Plot Willson family plot - Greenwood Lot 59 #5
Memorial ID 6489533 · View Source
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Dixie was the eldest of three children born to John David Willson and Rosalie Eliza "Rose" Reiniger. She was a famous writer. Her brother Meredith was famous for "The Music Man."

Dixie Willson never wanted a permanent address.

She grew up in Mason City, but "I had to be where the world was moving," she said.

Dixie Lucile Reiniger Willson was the daughter of John and Rosalie Willson. Her younger brothers were Cedric and Meredith, who became "The Music Man."

At one time Dixie and Meredith were equally famous.

Willson turned out her first short story in her early teens as a birthday present for her mother, then submitted it to a Chicago newspaper, which published it. Later she entered an advertising contest sponsored by an underwear company and won $25.

After high school graduation, Willson took a pioneering kindergarten course at Iowa State Teachers College, graduating in 1910, and taught at Independence as well as in Montana.

After a short-lived first marriage (on 12 Oct 1915) to Benjamin Harrison Lampert and a move to Wisconsin, she landed in Chicago.

By 1918, she was in New York, working in vaudeville and as a Ziegfeld Follies chorus girl.

She launched her writing career, worked for Fox films and dreamed of becoming a theatrical producer.

From 1920 to 1922, Willson performed as an elephant rider in the Ringling Bros. circus. She turned her experiences into two books, "Clown Town" and "The Circus ABC."

Famous Players-Lasky movie studios hired Willson and flew her to Los Angeles to adapt a story for the screen. Three of her own stories were turned into movies.

But magazine articles were the continuing thread in her life. She wrote extensively for the major publications of the day.

In 1945, Willson married Charles E.H. Hayden, a producer and theatrical manager. They adopted a daughter, then separated in the 1960s.

Willson lived the last 15 years of her life in Fair Haven, N.J. Her ashes are buried in the Willson family plot at Mason City's Elmwood Cemetery.

Pedigree Resource File

name: Lucille (Dixie) Willson
gender: Female
birth: 6 Aug 1890
Mason City, Iowa [1]
afn: 56JK-N8N
father: John David Willson (AFN: 56DM-7HQ )
mother: Rosalie Reiniger (AFN: 56JK-G51 )
submitter: aspeirs2763315
submission date: 26 Jun 2003
submission id: MM95-Y5B
person count: 3,287
World Family Tree Vol. 1, Ed. 1 Broderbund Software, Inc. Release date: November 29, 1995

Source Citation
"Pedigree Resource File," database, FamilySearch, entry for Lucille (Dixie) Willson.
"Iowa, County Births, 1880-1935," John David R Willson in entry for Lucile R Willson, 1890

name: Lucile R Willson
event: Birth
event date: 06 Aug 1890
event place: Estherville, Emmet, Iowa, United States
gender: Female
father: John David R Willson
mother: Rosa Reiniger
certificate number: 382
film number: 1255706
digital folder number: 004265572
image number: 00085

Source Citation:
"Iowa, County Births, 1880-1935," index, FamilySearch, John David R Willson in entry for Lucile R Willson, 1890.
"Iowa, Marriages, 1809-1992," John David Willson in entry for Benjamin Harrison Lampert and Lucille Reiniger Willson, 1915

groom's name: Benjamin Harrison Lampert
groom's birth date: 1889
groom's birthplace: Oshkosh, Wis.
groom's age: 26
bride's name: Lucille Reiniger Willson
bride's birth date: 1890
bride's birthplace: Estherville, Iowa
bride's age: 25
marriage date: 12 Oct 1915
marriage place: Mason City, Cerro Gordo, Iowa
groom's father's name: Florian Lampart
groom's mother's name: Mary Vetter
bride's father's name: John David Willson
bride's mother's name: Rosa Lee Reiniger
groom's race: White
groom's marital status:
groom's previous wife's name:
bride's race: White
bride's marital status:
bride's previous husband's name:
indexing project (batch) number: M02667-7
system origin: Iowa-EASy
source film number: 1481039
reference number:

Source Citation:
"Iowa, Marriages, 1809-1992," index, FamilySearch, John David Willson in entry for Benjamin Harrison Lampert and Lucille Reiniger Willson, 1915.

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: Dennis Warden
  • Added: 8 Jun 2002
  • Find a Grave Memorial 6489533
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Dixie Lucile Willson (6 Aug 1890–1974), Find a Grave Memorial no. 6489533, citing Elmwood Saint Joseph Cemetery, Mason City, Cerro Gordo County, Iowa, USA ; Maintained by Find a Grave (contributor 8) .