Delois June (D. J.) "Penny" West Maxedon was a native of Wabash, Indiana who went on to become one of the
enduring stars of Cincinnati's famed Midwestern Hayride show that aired over
WLW-T television. Fans knew her as "Penny West" and she was nicknamed Penny by her husband,
Dean Maxedon, who fans may know better as Dean Richards.
She became interested in music and singing when she was a youngster. She sang
and played in a band in high school. She appeared on several radio stations,
including WKMO in Kokomo, Indiana and KEKA in Fort Wayne, Indiana. It was while
she was in Fort Wayne that she met her future husband.
For a time, they were a part of the WOWO Hoosier Hop show that gained its share
of noteriety in its time. On the Hoosier Hop, she was known as the "Sweetheart"
of the Blackhawk Valley Boys and played the bass fiddle. In one of the old programs for the show, it noted
that she designed many of the costumes she wore on the show. They wrote that
she had a "rich voice" to go along with her "expressive personality" and could sing a variety of tunes
including "...hillbilly ditties, western ballads, popular melodies and sacred hymns.
Musicians seem to resonate with their fans at times. And Penny was no different for
it was one of her thrills back then to find out a fan had named her baby after her.
In the time up until World War II, Penny and Andy "Lucky" Anderson and the other
Blackhawk Valley Boys were on radio station WLS and entertaining fans over the legendary
National Barn Dance. When Dean got out of the military service, they formed a trio
that gained some popularity as they did personal appearances in various night spots
around the area. On one occasion, a talent scout from WLW in Cincinnati saw them
and offered them a position on the Midwestern Hayride. The Blackhawk Valley boys
were an act that appeared also on WOWO's Hoosier Hop. Another famed act that was there
at the same time was Kenny Roberts.
On November 23, 1945, Penny West married the then Sgt. Dean Maxedon at 6:30pm. The wedding
ceremony took place at the home of Robert Gardner (he was the "Bob" of Mac and Bob, the
famed duo at WLS in Chicago). Among the attendees helping them cur their wedding
cake were Ted "Otto" Morse, Rex Allen and Connie Linder.
Along about 1946, they were working at WLW in Cincinnati and according to the National
Hillbilly News magazine known as the "Three Lucky Pennies". That article mentions that
originally the group started as a duet - Penny and Andy Anderson who were replacing a
couple of fellows in the Blackhawk Valley Boys group who joined the service. Later,
when they returned from the service and after Dean returned from military service,
a trio was formed by Andy, Penny and Dean. They did numerous personal appearances
and eventually that took them to WOWO in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Along about July of 1946,
they were working at WLW in Cincinnati. They were doing a couple of shows at that time,
the "Top of the Morning" and the "Everybody's Farm" show. While in Cincinnati at this time,
they were also on the "Sohio Hayride".
Then their career took them to radio station KMOX in St. Louis where they spent
eight years. But Cincinnati seemed to be where they would end up. They returned
in 1956 and began what turned into a 16 year run on the Midwestern Hayride".
On that show, her husband Dean was the show's master of cermonies.
They formed a group called the Lucky Penny Trio which later became
known as the Lucky Pennys. Over the years, members of the group came and went.
We found back in November of 1946, the Lucky Penny Trio consisted of Penny and Dean
and Andy "Lucky" Anderson.
Dean and Penny were the mainstays as well as Wally Proctor, who stayed with them from the early
fifties until they retired in 1972.
About 1945, Penny married Dean Maxedon. They were married for 52 years when
Mr. Maxedon passed away in 1997. Their family included daughters Tresa Cummins
and Maria Purcell and sons Dean Maxedon Jr. and John Maxedon. Penny was living
in Butler, Kentucky when she passed away in 2005.