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About The Artist
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. But 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.