Nola Kathryn Wilson was born in Terrell, Texas on June 7, 1939. Her parents were Wenonah and Bill Wilson. Nola had one sister, Jimmie Anne, who was three years older. At the time Nola was born, the Wilsons lived at Post Oak Bend just outside of Kaufman, Texas. Mr. Wilson worked for Ford Motor Company in Dallas, Texas and farmed on the side.
Until age seven, Nola was a typical little girl. In October of 1946, Nola became very ill and was diagnosed with polio, the first case in Kaufman County. Initially, Nola ran a very high fever and while in Kaufman’s hospital was diagnosed with spinal meningitis and polio. She was taken to Parkland Hospital where she was quarantined. Seven to eight weeks later she was moved to Texas Scottish Rite Hospital where she was treated for 11 months. Polio’s devastating effects paralyzed Nola’s lungs and took away her mobility requiring her to wear braces for the remainder of her life as well as requiring her to make numerous visits back to the hospital until she was 16 years of age. She underwent multiple surgeries such as three spinal fusions as well as several foot and leg surgeries to improve her mobility.
In January of 1947, the Wilsons moved to Crandall to live on a cotton farm located on Hwy 175 about a mile out of town between Crandall and Kaufman. Upon being released from Texas Scottish Rite Hospital, Nola enrolled in school becoming the first student with physical disabilities to attend Crandall Schools. As she dealt with the crippling limitations of polio throughout her life, Nola was blessed with a caring and loving family who devoted their lives to supporting Nola so she could attend school and participate in school activities. Nola became a true inspiration to everyone around her as she never allowed her limited mobility to interfere with her studies or the day to day routine of the school. In fact, she graduated from Crandall High School as valedictorian in 1958 and two years later came back to the District to work as secretary for L. F. Raynes, Superintendent of Schools.
Throughout her life, she worked diligently always demonstrating her exceptional willingness to do whatever was needed until she retired twenty-five years later in 1985. Nola was a member of Central Baptist Church and was extremely active in her church both while growing up and as an adult. After Nola’s retirement, she developed post-polio and died December 20, 1988, at the age of 49.