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Meredith Wilks Ireland, 90 passed away in Hereford, Texas at Kings Manor Retirement Home on Saturday, September 15, 2012. She was born Meredith Wilks in Dallas, Texas on June 26, 1922 to parents Ernest and Marie Wilks. She married Woodrow Ireland who predeceased her in 1958. Meredith is survived by nieces Martha Rickman and husband Johnny and Sylvia Latham and husband Dennis of Hereford, Texas, Polly Wright of Oklahoma, Deanne Ireland and husband Jeff Wieland of California; Nephews Mickey Bonesio and wife Shell of Rockwall, Texas, Don Henslee and wife Merle of Waxahachie, Texas, David Henslee and wife Vicki of Wichita Falls, Texas, John Ireland and wife Judy of Los Alamos, New Mexico, and Scott Ireland of Hereford; sister-in-law Rachel Henslee and brother-in-law Richard Ireland of Hereford, Texas, stepson William Ashton Ireland of Louisiana, and a beloved godson Tommy Houston of Bluff Dale, Texas. She was also predeceased by her nephew Paul Ireland of New Mexico.
Meredith was a long-time member of First Presbyterian Church of Hereford, and pursued a lifetime desire at age 76 by being baptized a second time in the Llano River at a friend's ranch by Mason near where her maternal grandfather was originally baptized.
Meredith graduated from Adamson High School in Dallas in 1940, was presented as a debutante at the 1942 Dallas Debutante ball, and attended Texas Women's University to obtain a higher education in business. She and Woodrow moved to Hereford in 1947, where she pursued a variety of interests in horses, golfing, tennis, antiques, and skeet shooting.
Meredith's life-long interest in horses began at age 3 when she rode her grandfather's buggy horse and soon received a pony of her own. She and her mother rode in both San Antonio and Dallas where the family lived, and in Dallas during her high school years, she exercised "Tony", the famous horse of Tom Mix, the movie star, when he wintered in Dallas during a movie. Her wedding gift from her husband Woodrow was a registered quarter horse name "Mike Hooper". She continued to acquire horses, at one time owning a stable of 13. One of her horses, "Prince:, achieved movie fame in the movie "The Sundowners" , a movie shot in Palo Duro Canyon featuring Chill Wills. Meredith was active in the Hereford Riders Club, serving as secretary at least 4 times, and became the first woman President of any riding club in Texas. She not only owned horses and rode, but encouraged others, especially young people, through her involvement in the Hereford Junior Riders Club. Meredith expanded her love of horses with ownership of race horses. She was active in the racing and breeding industry, and was one of the original members of the Jockey Club in Ruidoso, New Mexico. Her interest and love of horses continued to her death with her support of close friends in the horse racing industry.
Meredith was an avid tennis player in her high school years, and won city and state championships for her Dallas high school. In 1942, she participated and won in an exhibition match with Bobby Riggs as a partner against Elwood Cooke and Sara Fabyan. After she moved to Hereford, she won many other local matches and continued to play until her love of golf took over. Meredith was a skilled golfer, and entered many area tournaments and won. Her last match was played in her 80's, and she shot under her age.
Meredith had a host of friends, from the people she met through her interests in horses, golfing, her business interests, and her church to her caregivers at Kings Manor Methodist Home where she spent her final years. She had friends from Mason, Burkburnett, Wichita Falls, DeSoto, Tapatio, Ruidoso, Fort Worth, and other places too numerous to mention. Even though she spent her last few years in the retirement home, she remained active and hosted social hour or two in her room every night she had visitors. Her interest and encouragement toward others was reciprocated in the love and respect that many friends, near and far, have expressed upon hearing of her death.
A family visitation is being hosted from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, September 18, 2012 at Parkside Chapel Funeral Home, Hereford, Texas. Mrs. Ireland is being buried at Hillcrest Cemetery Mausoleum in Dallas on Friday, September 21, 2012 at 3 p.m.
Honorary pallbearers are Johnny Trotter, Sinky Scott, Wade Easley, Mike Schueler, Jim Fagan, and Mickey Bonesio. The family requests that memorials be made to First Presbyterian Church, 610 Lee, Hereford, Texas 79045 or
Published in Ruidoso News from Sept. 28 to Oct. 12, 2012