Carlene Gregg Victor passed away on Friday, January 11 in Houston from complications of Parkinson’s, a disease she fought bravely and vigorously for 14 years. She was surrounded by her loving family.
Born August 29 in Dallas, Carlene inherited her entrepreneurial spirit from her father Carlton, her artistic talent from mother Irene, her love of travel from grandfather Will, love of cards and games from her grandfather Daddy John, and skin care lessons from grandmother Mamie.
She traded in her ballet shoes to become a Bryan Adams Belle in high school. After earning a B.A. in fashion design from North Texas University, she indulged her love of travel by becoming an American Airlines stewardess, initially based in New York City. Then she married, moved to College Station with her new husband, and had her “biggest marriage dividend,” her son Vean Joseph Gregg III.
Always active, she managed the Avis station in College Station and then in Fort Worth after moving to Arlington, Texas. She started her own cosmetics company in the mid-1970s called Seanté based on natural ingredients and sold in health food stores. After selling Seanté several years later and following her divorce, her corporate cosmetics career took off, first with Alcon’s Allercreme division in Fort Worth, then with Mary Kay in Dallas for 10-plus years. She ended up overseeing all international product development, including their new Japanese market initiative. An added bonus: Vean graduated from UT-Austin and lived/worked in Tokyo for several years, so they saw each other regularly on her long business trips.
She left Mary Kay and became a consultant in 1993. Her biggest and best client was Laura Mercier, where she and Laura created a line with 144 individual products in just under a year. She worked with Laura for the next 13 years, and many of her products are still industry sales leaders.
First diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease (PD) in June of 2004, she shrugged it off and spent the next eight years traveling the globe, taking new products from “concept to counter.” She had to retire in 2012 as PD made everyday living so much harder. She actively battled her PD, traveling to Cologne, Germany in 2008 for a stem cell treatment that actually worked for several months. Subsequent stem cell treatments were ineffective, so she used exercise and diet as her primary medications.
Two other major events transformed her life. First was a 35-year relationship and marriage to Stan Victor. They scuba dove around the world (Fiji, Red Sea, Costa Rica, Bonaire), traveled extensively (Beijing, Monaco, Rome, Pompei, Athens, Istanbul, Cairo, Luxor, the Galapagos, and India), and took two safaris in the Serengeti. Ballroom dancing became a passion as well, and as they say, it takes two to tango.
Second was her Leadership Texas Class of 1990 where she made lifelong friends and attended every annual class reunion during the past 27 years.
Her family was her rock: Vean and Jessica Gregg, Carly (16) and Josey (14). Jason and Meera Victor and Jake (8). Stan and Ed, Ann, Scott, Liz, and Pat. Her wonderful sisters Lurah Brawner and husband Jim (and Cindy and Zoe and Judith and Mitch) and Melinda Padgett and husband Bo; her sister Beverly Williams died in 2002 (Joe, Chris and Kara, Randy and Caitte). A strong California family bond includes her 87-year old cousin John Trask, his recently deceased wife Pat, and Linda, Steve, Brad and Mark. Extended family includes Allan and Valle Caldwell and Gwen and Heather, plus Vasu and Pankaj Dhruve and Nikki. She also made and kept friends worldwide.
In lieu of flowers, please donate in her memory to the Houston Area Parkinson’s Society (www.hapsonline.org). Special thanks to her caregiver Sherrie Drew for her love and devotion and friendship these past three years.
Tell those you love that you do. Treat each other with kindness and respect. And carry on her smile and spirit and love of life. Peace.