LaCheryl Wilson, 64, who has lived on the streets of Oak Lawn for more than 30 years, has passed away. Known as “Crazy Mary,” and more recently “The Queen of Oak Lawn,” she was a fixture on the streets of Oak Lawn, especially along Cedar Springs Road.
While the name “Crazy Mary” was derisive at first, it became an affectionate term over the years, and Wilson answered to the name “Mary.”
In a Dallas Voice article about her in 2013, Richard Longstaff, the first gay retailer on the strip who opened Union Jack in 1975, called her a fixture in the community. In the 1980s, he’d tell her to move along, but said he didn’t do that anymore.
“I’ve gotten kind of attached to her,” Longstaff said at the time.
Dallas Voice Distribution Manager Linda Depriter said when she’d see Wilson, she’d take her to her favorite place, Starbucks, and buy her something to eat. Depriter said Wilson always wanted two sandwiches, but that was OK, since it might have been all she had to eat that day.
The story Wilson told about how she became homeless was that she ended up on the street after her husband died. She would have been in her late 20s at the time.
Latisha McDaniel started a Facebook page for people in the neighborhood to look after Wilson.
“Mary represents everything good and ugly about Oak Lawn,” McDaniel said at the time of that article.
If Wilson was seen in winter without a coat, someone on the page would make sure she got one.
The page is still active and tributes to Wilson are pouring in as news of her death spreads.
At times, Wilson became out of control and police would take her to Parkland Hospital, where she would spend a few days getting her medications under control. Occasionally, she spent several months at the state facility in Terrell.
Dallas Voice reported that in 2014 Wilson was picked up on a criminal trespass charge and was in Lew Sterrett on $500 bond. She was held in county jail several months before charges were dismissed.
To visitors on the strip, Wilson was probably just an annoyance. But to anyone who has been going to Cedar Springs Road for years, her death is a tragedy. She’s been a gayborhood fixture since Oak Lawn became the home of the LGBT community and she’ll be missed.
— David Taffet