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Gracious Lady: Remembering Alicia Landry


FRISCO, Texas – Alicia Landry, wife of late Cowboys head coach Tom Landry, passed away this past Friday at the age of 91.

She was the quintessential coach's wife, the two meeting at the University of Texas and married in 1940, and remaining married until Tom Landry passed away on Feb. 12, 2000, at the age of 75.

This in her obituary says it best: Alicia was never far from her Tommy's side. He considered her his greatest asset. She had a wonderful sense of humor and a style and wit that could light up a room. She was creative and smart, designing the house that would become their family home for 20 years as they raised their 3 children Tom, Kitty and Lisa.

Alicia would attend 29 years of Cowboys games, home and away. Remember the time in the late 1980s at RFK Stadium when Alicia and Tex Schramm's wife Marty arrived at the elevator to the press box/suite level at the same time I did. Alicia invited me to join them on a cramped elevator.

But before the door slid shut, a Washington official, in a huff, stopped the elevator and frantically ordered us all off because "Mr. Cooke is coming, Mr. Cooke is coming."

We dutifully exited, and when Washington owner Jack Kent Cooke recognized the first ladies of the Cowboys, he graciously stepped back, saying "No, no, take those folks up first."

Last time I saw Alicia was Sept. 27, 2010 when she, in conjunction with the Dallas Historical Society, organized an exhibit of Coach Landry's memorabilia the day before the State Fair of Texas opened that year called Remembering Tom Landry: The Personal Collection, many of these personal items never previously displayed.

Like the Western-wear get-up he wore in the quite popular American Express commercial. The custom-made fur-collared and lapel coat and hat Tom Landry wore during what became the infamous "Ice Bowl," during the 1967 season NFL Championship Game.

Like his military coat from World War II, reminding visitors of his many B-17 flying missions in Europe. Or the fact he was a star athlete at Mission (Texas) High School, his 1941 varsity letter M on display, along with several of his high school athletic accomplishments.

Or the fact he was a star running back at the University of Texas, Landry pictured lined up behind quarterback Bobby Layne with the entire Longhorns offense from the 1948 Sugar Bowl team, a game Landry ended up rushing for 117 yards on 17 carries and scoring one touchdown in a 41-28 victory over Georgia.

One man walking through the exhibit that became open to the public attending the State Fair wanted it to be known, "I live in Tennessee, big Cowboys fan and this is one of the reasons why we came (to the State Fair)."

When I last spoke with Alicia that night just more than 10 years ago she would say, "I led a wonderful life and so did (Tommy). So thanks to Clint Murchison for giving us the opportunity and to Dallas for your patience and support through all these years."

She would also thank me for coming out to the debut of the exhibit, very humbling saying, "I wasn't sure so many people would be interested in the exhibit."

Such a gracious lady.

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