Jill Louis and Connie Hunter Wilson

Our parents are Peter and Marjorie Louis, and Irby and Staphalene Hunter. Connie and I met at an intergenerational party our parents brought us to when we were 4 years old. They put us in a crib together to corral us during the party. I remember Connie seeming pretty savvy to my 4-year-old way of thinking. This wasn’t her first playpen!

Our dads were health professionals: Dr. Hunter was a dentist and my dad, Dr. Louis, was a physician specializing in internal medicine. Dad was just getting out of the Army, having served as an Army physician on the Fort Bliss in El Paso, and had come to Dallas to start his practice.

Dr. Hunter was part of a welcoming group of African-American professionals. Dad was impressed with his high integrity, and our families became friends. Our fathers would work together in community and professional organizations. Our mothers were involved in the community as well. Mine was a newscaster on KERA’s “Newsroom” and later an educator at Brookhaven. Connie’s mom was a home economics high school teacher. As my mother weakened from the cancer that would take her life in 2016, Aunt Staphalene was by her side in the hospital.

Connie and I went to different schools but were each other’s friend and respite in a world where we were one of the few Black families on this side of town and even fewer in our classrooms. We were each other’s weekend party companions traveling across town in our teen years.

We would go off to college together at Howard and were freshman roommates. She returned home to finish at SMU. I stayed on at Howard. Holidays were a time to reunite, and we always did. We later would be in each other’s weddings.

Left: Peter Louis and Grandson Malcolm, and Irby Hunter and grandson Clarke

I met my husband while home to be a bridesmaid in Connie’s wedding. Her firstborn daughter is my god-child. Cecily remains the prettiest baby I have ever seen, and my kids are pretty darn cute. I remember running to the hospital from work the day she was born and holding the tiniest little doll of a creature in my arms. I burst into tears at her sheer beauty and preciousness.

A few years later, my son Malcolm was born three months after her son Clarke. They were playmates from Day One and SPC track and football rivals — Malcolm (St. Mark’s ’14) and Clarke (ESD ’14). They were in the Jack and Jill of America Inc., Dallas Chapter, together. Now as young professionals out of college, they maintain their friendship and reach out to each other to share their lives, now long distance with Clarke on the East Coast.

My daughter, Rachel, and Connie’s second daughter, Camille, followed and also became friends and running buddies in the same vein as their mothers before them. They were Jack and Jill Belles and party bud-dies. They celebrated each other’s milestone 21st birthdays and have endured COVID college life as homebound podmates.

Connie and I stay active in the community, a tradition passed down from our parents and embraced as we served in the Junior League of Dallas and other organizations.

We have no doubt our three-generation friendship will become a four-generation friendship, and hopefully each will do their part to enrich the Preston Hollow community that has been a part of our lives for more than four decades.

— As told by Jill Louis


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