Margery Parsons


The Margery Parsons Wilson Collection, No. 32, Archives & Special Collections Department, Frazar Memorial Library, McNeese State University.  
Died: April 6, 1973 in Lake Charles, Louisiana
Buried: April 8, 1973 in Goos Cemetery, Lake Charles, Louisiana  (Map 10)
Husband: Augustus Wackerhagen Wilson
Child: David Augustus Wilson

Lake Charles American Press, Sunday, April 8, 1973, p. 58:


        Friends are invited to gather at Goos Cemetery at 3 p.m. today, April 8, for the burial of Mrs. Margery Parsons Wilson of 912 Michael St., who pioneered drama education at McNeese State University.
        Hammer Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
        Mrs. Wilson died at 1:30 p.m. Friday.
        She established the MSU Department of Speech after joining the faculty in 1944 and organized the Bayou Players group there.
        Survivors include one brother, David G. Parsons of Houston, and two grandchildren.
        Pallbearers, all present and past members of Alpha Psi Omega, a national drama fraternity established at McNeese by Mrs. Wilson, are Nathan Fontenot, Jerry Brown, Bill Dickerson, Dr. Maurice Pullig and Nowell Daste.
        If they wish, friends may make memorial donations to a charity of their choice or the Wilson Collection at McNeese, the family said. The collection was established by faculty members in her honor and in memory of her son David, who died in 1971.

Fritzi Krause Wilson, "Postscript: Remarkable Margery Wilson" 50th: A Celebration of McNeese Theatre, Lake Charles, La.: McNeese Theatre, Department of Communication and Theatre, McNeese State University, 1989, p. 82:

        As McNeese Theatre looks forward to its next half-century, it is instructive to look back, just once more, to the lasting treasure of its first 50 years: Margery Wilson.
        Fritzi Krause Wilson has reviewed scores of local productions for the
Lake Charles American Press and she has taken turns on the local stage herself. Her memories of Margery Wilson transcend the stage or classroom, for she was married to Mrs. Wilson's late son, David. She shares below, for this book, a more personal look at her remarkable mother-in-law.

        Most of the multitudes whose lives were touched by Margery Wilson students, colleagues, just friends and even family undoubtedly remember her, first and foremost, as a consumate teacher.
        But "Mother Wilson," as she was oft called by students was also a paradox of sots. She was a "liberated woman" by the quiet courage of her own convictions, but she never seemed to lose her cool as a genuine lady a product of the Victorian age whose personal values reflected the best of that time, even as she eagerly explored and often accepted the new and sometimes unconventional, however controversial.
        Few if any will deny her recognition as the founder of McNeese State College's speech and drama department, forged during her quarter-of-a-century tenure with an unfailing determination to offer not only a comprehensive program in quality speech education, but to clear the state for a full spectrum of drama from the Greeks and Shakespeare to the avant-garde of the day.
        As stout in spirit as frail of body, this naturally reserved, even shy, mistress of the Muses was not adverse to stripping iron hands of their velvet gloves when she felt the integrity of her purpose was threatened.
        One of the ore memorable cases in point  occurred in the mid-1960s, when public pressure nearly closed her production of Kopit's controversial, pseudo-classical tragifarce, Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Mama's Hung You in the Closet and I'm Feelin' So Sad. What went on behind closed doors when Margery had her say before the-powers-that-were may be lost in time now but suffice it to note the curtain went up as scheduled.
        Although difficult, if not impossible, to "separate" the woman from her work (as requested for this special occasion), random family memories may reveal another less-known Margery, as anchored to the hearth as to the teacher's desk.
        Born into a family of the academe as the only girl and eldest of four children, Margery is remembered as a physically robust young woman athletic as well as studious until a near-fatal bout with tuberculosis shortly after graduation from Vassar. She was cured, but left with broken health chronic respiratory problems and a ravaged body, forever vulnerable to all kinds of complications in future illnesses the remainder of her life.
        After a lifetime under that sword of Damocles, Margery never really recovered from the untimely death of her only child, David, following him to the grave less than 18 months later, on the 42nd anniversary of his birth.
        In the meantime, however, she was the classic, unabashedly doting grandmother slightly Victorian in family disciplines, perhaps, but otherwise typical to a word.
        Almost, that is. It is doubtful that many other grandmothers, in these parts at least, called tomatoes "to-mah-toes" or indulged pre-kindergarten grandsons with such improbable but imaginative gifts as French and Spanish translations of Beatrix Potter's Peter Rabbit books!
        One evening at a dinner for a visiting brother from California, Margery's well-known habit of ending a sentence with "et cetera, et cetera, et cetera" led to the two sexagenarians' regression to a big sister/little brother game of one-upmanship.
        "What's all this 'et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera' stuff from the lips of a speech professor, no less?" he teased, surreptitiously making eye contact with all present.
        Margery, well aware of his mischievous motive, smothered a bit of pique with a broad smile as she delivered her riposte in the best big-sister fashion: "Well, Walter, in my classroom, it usually means, 'You should know the rest because you've already been taught that.' But across a dining table in polite social dialogue with a brother, it means 'I won't bore you with further details because you're obviously not interested!'"
        Through the years more than one has compared Margery to that lovably eccentric title character of Giradoux's fanciful comedy and poetic satire, The Madwoman of Chaillot. Indeed, one could see a physical resemblance to actress Martita Hunt in that role in the Broadway production.
        But beyond that, those who knew her well might also glimpse Margery in on critic's description of the Madwoman's "poignant... awareness of the fragility of existence" in a world where man's salvation lies in love and the imagination.