Helen C. Wilcox, one of Malibu’s pioneers, died Oct. 26 at her longtime home.
Wilcox was born in Iowa in 1920 and eventually settled in Hollywood, where she graduated from Hollywood High School. She met Wayne Wilcox in the mid 1940s, and the pair married in 1946 and moved to Malibu the next year. In 1955, they built a home together where they lived for 57 years.
Wilcox and her husband were the original owners of the Malibu Riviera Motel, which was completed in 1949. During their early days in Malibu, the couple lived in an army tent on Point Dume while they were constructing the motel. The tent had a wood floor, Coleman stove and kerosene lantern and was set up on a section of what used to be the old Pacific Coast Highway on Point Dume. One night in November 1947, the tent was ripped apart by strong winds.
In the 21st anniversary issue of The Malibu Times in 1967, Wayne Wilcox wrote of the couple’s experience that evening: “The happy ending, of course, is that the motel became a reality and the winds never became strong enough to blow us out of Malibu.”
Wilcox is survived by her youngest son Gary and his wife Tricia, two grandchildren, and three great grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband Wayne and oldest son Robert.