NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. — The 1952 Miss America, Colleen Kay Hutchins Vandeweghe, was every inch a queen, according to the 1948 BYU yearbook.
Before winning the national beauty pageant, Vandeweghe was crowned BYU's homecoming queen in 1947 by LDS Church President George Albert Smith. Early Wednesday, at age 83, Vandeweghe died in her home in Newport Beach, Calif., according to her son, Kiki Vandeweghe, the general manager and interim coach of the New Jersey Nets and former New York Knicks player.
Kiki Vandeweghe said his mother had been ill for about six months.
"It was time," her son said. "She was in a lot of pain."
According to the Miss America Pageant Web site, Vandewegh was over 6 feet tall with heels on and once stopped a University of Pennsylvania basketball game when she came in late and walked down the sidelines.
Vandeweghe's husband, Ernie, played for the New York Knicks for six seasons in the early 1950s. Her brother, Mel Hutchins, a Midvale resident, also played for the New York Knicks and was NBA Rookie of the Year in 1952 after playing basketball for BYU.
Vandeweghe's daughter, Tauna, was on the U.S. swimming team in the 1976 Olympic Games and was a member of the U.S. volleyball team that earned a silver medal in the 1984 Olympics.
Vandeweghe's granddaughter, 18-year-old Coco Vandeweghe, won the girls' U.S. Open Championship in 2008.
— Sara Lenz, AP