Audrey Devine Willcox
Audrey Devine Willcox, 92 of Des Moines passed away March 31st, 2014. She was surrounded by family and close friends reminiscing with her the memories they shared of her life. She was a mother, wife, grandmother and a professional singer known as "Audrey Devine".
Audrey began her singing career at the age of fifteen. In recent years she came to be known as the "WWII Lady" because she knew all the tunes from the 40's, as well of the 50's,60's and 70,s. She continued to sing them all by memory through 75 years of performing. Audrey sang at many local venues such as Vets Auditorium, State of Iowa Governor's Ball, Val Air Ballroom, Wakonda Club, Hyperion Club, D.M. Golf and Country Club, Willow Creek, The Roof Gardens, Surf Ballroom and many private parties. She also volunteered her singing programs to local nursing homes and churches.
She moved to the Los Angeles, CA area in 1948 with her family, returned to Des Moines in 1955. While in California she worked at several local clubs, made records and had her own local T.V. show called "We'll Play Your Song" on KTTV in Los Angeles.
After returning to Des Moines, Audrey sang with the Jack Cole Orchestra for many years. She also performed with Ralph Zarnow Orchestra, Des Moines Big Band and Maple Street Jazz. Most recently she performed with her good friend Bill Henderson. Audrey has lifted the moods of thousands of people by touching their hearts with music. Her beautiful voice and remarkable memory for song lyrics will be missed by many.
Audrey was a cancer survivor for many years and became good friends with Dr. Richard Deming at Mercy Hospital. She started a tradition of singing at his annual waiting room Christmas Party held for cancer survivors for over 19 years. Over the years she was joined by other musically talented survivors. The family wishes to thank Dr. Deming and his staff for their many years of loving care as she dealt with cancer.
Audrey was married in 1940 to Leonard F. Willcox. He proceeded her in death in 1996. She is survived by two sons, Brent (Dona) and Bradford (Lindsay) Willcox,
four grandsons and their wives and nine great grandchildren. Audrey was a member of West Kirk Presbyterian Church where she had many friends.
Per Audrey's wishes she will be buried next to her husband in a private family graveside service at Glendale Cemetery.
Memorials may be sent to Above + Beyond Cancer, 1915 Grand Ave., Des Moines, IA 50309
Caldwell Raddatz Funeral Home
8201 Hickman Road Urbandale, IA 50322
Published in Des Moines Register on Apr. 27, 2014