Valene Camenish Wilcox
Educator, Poet, Lyricist, Public Servant, Church Leader

Valene Caminish Wilcox, BYH Class of 1943

Valene Caminish Wilcox

Brigham Young High School
Class of 1943

Valene Caminish loved learning. She received her early education in Chicago, Salt Lake City, and Provo, Utah, where she graduated in the Brigham Young High School Class of 1943. She worked for a time as a secretary in New York City and as a reporter at Provo's Daily Herald during World War II.

She met Ray Wilcox after he had served in World War II and filled an LDS Church mission to Tahiti.

Valene Caminish & Raymond Taylor Wilcox

Val & Ray Wilcox, June 1951

They both attended Brigham Young University where they received their bachelors degrees in the same commencement ceremony in June 1951.

Valene continued studying throughout her life. She assisted her husband as he earned his doctoral degree at University of California, Berkeley.

After teaching classes in Art Education at Brigham Young University, she taught Second Grade for 20 years at Provost Elementary School in Provo. She was named Provo District Teacher of the Year and held several administrative positions in the Provo Education Association. Her students remembered her fondly for having instilled in them a love of art and literacy.

Val Caminish Wilcox loved writing. Her poems and lyrics were seen in many Church and professional publications. She was honored to team with composer friends, Janice Kapp Perry and Steven Kapp Perry, and her lyrics have appeared on several of their albums.

A three-act musical she wrote with Janice Kapp Perry, The Warm Place, was performed in Promised Valley Theater.

She received national awards for her writing and enjoyed serving as Utah State President of the National League of American Pen Women.

Valene loved America and volunteered civic service of many kinds. She helped at voting locations during elections. She and her husband were co-presidents of the PTA at Provo High School, and she served for eight years as secretary of the Provo Metropolitan Water Board.

The Wilcox family lived for a time in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in Africa, where Ray helped establish a college of education at Haile Sellassie I University. Together they toured throughout the Middle East, Africa, Europe, and South America.

Valene Caminish Wilcox was an active and devoted member of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She served as stake and ward president in auxiliaries including Relief Society President of the BYU 10th Stake. She also loved teaching and speaking in Church settings.

Valene and Ray served a public affairs mission in Macon, Georgia during 1991 to 1992 and worked in the Provo LDS Temple upon their return. She volunteered time and materials for sewing items needed for LDS humanitarian distribution worldwide.

Val was dedicated to her family. Motherhood was the foremost and favorite occupation in her life. Other interests included writing, reading, connecting with friends and sewing needlework. She gave free haircuts to three generations of her own family and to missionaries wherever she lived.

Val was survived by her four sons and their wives: Wayne C. (Margo) Wilcox, Covina, California; Roger R. (Moana) Wilcox, Highland, Utah; Bradley R. (Debi) Wilcox and Christopher J. (Cheryl) Wilcox, Provo, Utah. She had 19 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren. One sister, Wyla Caminish Rollins, Orem, Utah, also survives her. Two sisters preceded her in death: Lucile Caminish Allred and Kay Caminish Cooper.

Valene Camenish Wilcox, 88, died peacefully at her home on October 8, 2013. She was born June 15, 1925, in Chicago, Illinois, the second of four daughters in the family of Mary Lucile Russell and Edwin Charles Camenish. Val was sealed to Ray Taylor Wilcox in the Salt Lake City Temple September 9, 1949 by Harold B. Lee. Funeral services were held in Provo, Utah on Saturday, October 12, 2013. Interment, City Cemetery in Provo, Utah. Her husband, Ray Wilcox, died on the December 15, 2006.

Valene Caminish Wilcox

Valene Caminish Wilcox

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