Thursday, December 2, 2010

In Memory of Wanda Kay Locklear

Wanda Kay Locklear

 It's never easy losing a close friend, but especially hard when you haven't seen them in many years.  This morning I was informed by a tribal member that Wanda Kay had passed away this Summer. I was shocked by the news. We hadn't spoken since the Spring and I had been trying to track her down to catch up when I got the news.

 We met in 1985 when I moved to Pembroke, NC to live among the Lumbee Native people and research my family's Native roots. Wanda was quite the character and we quickly became good friends. She was an absolutely beautiful woman with a gracious heart to match. She was always quick with a joke and good laugh. I would often find myself hanging out with her and talking to late hours in the night at powwows.  I'll always remember the times we had together.

 Wanda Kay was employed by Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina as Director of Youth Services. She made sure each year that I did the shirt designs for the tribe. She was my friend. She was my buddy. She kept me in touch with what was happening in the Tribe. She was my connection to my Native Lumbee past. She always reminded me of where my roots were and that I was always welcome to come home.

  Her love and dedication to the children of the tribe’s Boys and Girls Clubs was beyond measure.  She was a proud member of the Lumbee Tribe and taught the Club’s children to be proud people.  Her legacy will live on through the programs she implemented in her work with the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina and Lumbee Regional Development Association.

 She served as an ambassador of the community in many capacities.  In doing so, Wanda was crowned Miss Pembroke Senior High School, Miss Pembroke State University (now University of North Carolina at Pembroke), Miss Lumbee, Miss North Carolina Blueberry Queen, Miss Montgomery, and was a contestant in the Miss Indian American contest in Wyoming.  Wanda appeared on the ABC television show, The Dating Game in 1972, as well as, Merv Griffin Show, Dinah Shore Show, The Jokers Wild, Wayne Newton Show, and Truth or Consequences.  She attended, by special invitation, an Elvis Presley performance in Las Vegas where Elvis sang to her and tied a “sweaty” scarf around her neck.

Wanda was a huge Allman Brothers fan and was very excited for me as I became a regular poster artist for the band. She was always calling and asking about what I was up to, where I had been and what shows I had seen.

This one's for you Wanda...I love you. Give Derek and Butch a hug for me. See you guys on the other side. I miss you all very much.

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