Naomi Ruth “Peggy” Phillips Walvoord is the fourth of five children born to Elmo Lawson Phillips and Callie Rebecca Calcedonia (Henshaw) Phillips.
Her father, Elmo Phillips, was born November 8, 1898 in Newport, Texas. He died in Amarillo, Texas on October 27, 1950 at the age of 51.
Her mother, Callie, was born in Bell County, Texas on October 11, 1902. She died in Amarillo, Texas on October 19, 1990 at the age of 88.
Peggy’s father died when she was only 15. Their family grew up poor. Her parents never owned a car.
Elmo and Callie Phillips had five children.
Wanda Morene Phillips was born in Wheeler, Texas on December 5, 1922. She died May 4, 2004 at the age of 81.
Elmo Lawson “Junior” Phillips Jr. was born in Texas on March 22, 1925. He died January 19, 1996 at the age of 70 in Pharr, Texas in the Rio Grande Valley.
Edward Eugene “Corky” Phillips was born April 19, 1932 in Mclean, Texas. He died August 2, 1992 in Jasper, Texas at the age of 60.
Naomi Ruth “Peggy” Phillips was born in Shamrock, Texas on December 30, 1933. She was delivered at home.
Monnie Dean “Deanie” Phillips was born November 23. 1935 in Shamrock, Texas.
Nicknames were very common in this family. The Henshaw family in particular, had nicknames for nearly everyone, and many made no sense whatsoever. Callie’s cousins had nicknames such as “Fats” (he wasn’t), “Red” (had dark hair), “Preacher” (never preached), “Doc” (not), “Neenie”, “Scamp,” and many others.
Peggy doesn’t know how she became to be called “Peggy.” She was called “Peg-leg” by her dad and then later “Peggy.” Brother “Deanie” was also called “Wimpy.”
Peggy stopped the practice of nicknames when starting her own family by naming her children by the names they would be called and selecting names that could not easily be transformed into nicknames.
The Phillips family was very poor even though Callie inherited lots of land in Haskell County, Texas. Callie’s father, George Washington “G.W.” Henshaw owned lots of land that was divided between their children. John Robert (1881-1935), James W. (1882-1953), Ida Jane (1884-1965), Willie Itasca (1886-1979), Mary Ann Elizabeth (1892-1972), Bessie Lee (1895-1986), Georgia Mae (1898-1979), Lillian Vale (1900-1977), and Callie Rebecca Calcedonia (1902-1990).
Another child (the 5th of 10), a daughter, Maggie Lee, died at the age of three (1889-1892).
Callie’s share of land was lost during The Depression due to inability to pay taxes.
Elmo Phillips worked in a grocery store in Shamrock and never wanted to be a farmer even though Callie owned good farming land. Elmo appeared to bounce around from job to job and the family moved often.
Growing up in The Great Depression, Peggy recollects everyone was poor, at least in their circle of acquaintances. Peggy remembers some people coming to their house during one Christmas. They brought food, and even a doll that Peggy received. Peggy was so excited to get this doll but she couldn’t understand why her parents, her sister Wanda, and her brother Junior were crying because of this. Years later, Peggy realized the visitors were bringing charity.
She attended first grade at the age of five in a two-room school in the Heald Community (near Shamrock) across from the Heald Methodist Church. Peggy grew up in the Baptist church.
Mrs. Gorman was her teacher and they had 12 students. Brother Ed was put back from second grade to first grade so Naomi and her brother Ed were in the same grade all through school. Because of this, people would ask if they were twins. They lived in granddad’s house. Peggy’s dad worked at a grocery store in Shamrock.
Granddad Phillips owned a store that was also a blacksmith shop that fashioned horseshoes and wagon-wheels. When the automobile became the new way to travel, the blacksmith shop was converted to a gas station and garage. Thomas Frank (T.F.) Phillips and Elizabeth (Jones) Phillips lived in the back of the store. It was one big room with kitchen, bedroom, etc.
No indoor bathroom until moved to Amarillo.
The family moved to Amarillo in second grade. Peggy went to San Jacinto Elementary from Second Grade through Fourth grade. In Third Grade she was scared of Geography. She wasn’t sure what it was all about. She later loved the subject.
She went to Bivins Elementary in Fifth and part of Sixth Grade. Moved back to Heald Community in Sixth Grade. Different granddads house.
Her family moved to Pantex Village in Seventh Grade. Attended Elizabeth Nixon Jr. High for Seventh through Ninth Grade in Amarillo.
She went to Amarillo High School her sophomore year.
Then the Pantex kids were transferred to Panhandle High School in Panhandle, Texas. She was cheerleader, Feature Editor of the school newspaper, Panther Scream.
Her Junior year, Peggy was one one of five candidates for Football Queen. Each candidate was to ride in the back of a convertible and was required to wear a suit. Peggy didn’t have a suit and didn’t have enough baby-sitting money to buy one. She wrote to her older sister Wanda in McLean and Wanda and her husband Roy drove to Panhandle to bring one of her suits.
Peggy was “Class Favorite” her senior year. She played on the volleyball team. Graduated in 1951 at the age of 17.
Peggy’s dad died in October of Peggy’s senior year when she was only 16. He was buried in McLean, Texas. Elmo Phillips’ parents were also buried there at the Hillcrest Cemetery.
After graduating from Panhandle High School at the age of 17, Peggy applied at the phone company and was given a test called the OTIS test. She apparently did very well on it and was given a job.
Peggy went to work as a service representative at Southwestern Bell Telephone and would ride the bus to work from Pantex because the family didn’t have a car.
Peggy worked at the phone company with a young lady named, Joann Walvoord. They were both service reps at Southwestern Bell Telephone business offices. They were called tub mates because they shared a common work area separated by their account books. They were hired at the same time and were in the same training class. They became good friends.
Peggy would laugh at Joann because she would always have to answer the phone, “This is Miss Walvoord. No… that’s spelled W-A-L-V-(as in Victor)-O-O-R-D.” Peggy would answer the phone, “This is Miss Phillips.” No spelling necessary.
Joann asked Peggy to be a bridesmaid in her wedding. A week before the wedding, Joann asked Peggy to come on a blind date with her brother David and her fiancé, Bill Forbes. They went dancing at the Avalon night club on Amarillo Boulevard. David was a good dancer, much better than Peggy.
Peggy met David again at Bill and Joann’s wedding and they started dating.
Five months later, on April 13, 1952, Peggy and David married each other in Locust Grove Baptist Church in Locust Grove, Texas. The pastor that married them was Clayton Watkins who was the same pastor that baptized Peggy at age 13. Joann (Walvoord) Forbes was Peggy’s Matron of Honor and Bill Forbes was David’s best man.
Peggy and Joann , were still co-workers at Southwestern Bell. Now that they each were married, the tables were turned.
Joann Forbes answered the phone, “This is Mrs. Forbes.” (No spelling necessary). Joann would laugh when Peggy would now answer the phone, “This is Mrs. Walvoord. No… that’s spelled W-A-L-V-(as in Victor)-O-O-R-D.”
David started driving Peggy to work and then he would go to teach at Humphrys Highland Elementary School. Because school let out early and Peggy would work until 5:00 pm, David tried to start a Chess Club after school to fill the time. The Principal didn’t allow it.
David and Peggy had three sons.
Keith David Walvoord was born October 18th, 1954 in Amarillo, Texas.
Kit Randall Walvoord was born October 20th, 1957 in Amarillo, Texas.
and Scott Anthony Walvoord was born April 15th, 1961 in Amarillo, Texas.
While David was a Principal in Borger, Texas, Peggy started going to college at Frank Phillips Junior College. She would take 6 hours at a time, and a neighbor would watch their two boys.
In 1960, the family moved back to Amarillo when David was hired as principal of the new Oak Dale Elementary School. Peggy continued her higher education at Amarillo College. She would put the boys down for a nap and study.
Even though it was part-time, Peggy loved going to school and was a good student. She eventually went to West Texas State College and after eight years finally had a B.S. degree in Elementary Education.
After she taught two-years she was called in to the assistant superintendent’s office and was told that AISD was going to enlarge the elementary school library program and was asked if she would be interested in being school librarian.
A lover of books, Peggy jumped at the chance. Her first year, she was over four schools. Once a sixth grade boy came to Mrs. Walvoord and told her, “You’re good at this.” Peggy asked the boy, “Why he thought that.” He replied, “Because you like books and you like kids and you want to bring us together.”
Peggy had now had her dream job.
Peggy attended many library conventions where she met many children’s books authors including Newberry Award winners and Blue Bonnet Award winners. Authors autographed books for her that she put in the school library. She also got many of these for her grandchildren.
Editor’s note: I intend on writing more, but wanted to post this biography on my mom in time for Mother’s Day. Happy Mother’s Mom!