Vonda Kay Van Dyke, Miss America 1965
Vonda Kay Van Dyke, Miss Arizona, won the 1965 Miss America Pageant, despite failing to win either a preliminary swimsuit competition or talent competition award. She was the first Miss Arizona to win the title since Jacque Mercer, Miss America 1949. She was crowned by outgoing Miss America 1964, Donna Axum of Arkansas.
Shown to right: Miss America 1965 Vonda Kay Van Dyke with her dummy Kurley-Q.
Vonda was also the only Miss America ever to be voted Miss Congeniality by her fellow contestants – a highly unusual honor which she retains to this day. At the end of her year, she crowned her successor, Miss America 1966, Deborah Irene Bryant, Miss Kansas.
After her reign, she attended the University of California at Los Angeles to study radio and television, and toured the country for a time as an entertainer, including appearances with Jack Benny.
Now, a well-known Christian speaker and author, Vonda is married to David Scoates, a Methodist minister, and has one daughter, Vandy.
At the end of her reign, she returned to Atlantic City to crown her successor, Miss America 1966, Deborah Bryant, Miss Kansas.
Source: Ocala Star-Banner (February 6, 1987)
Miss America 1965: Vonda Kay Van Dyke, Miss Arizona
1st runner-up: Karen Elizabeth Carlson, Miss Arkansas
2nd runner-up: Elle Dee Kessel, Miss West Virginia
3rd runner-up: Sharon McCauley, Miss Texas
4th runner-up: Barbara Phyllis Hasselberg, Miss Minnesota
1965 Miss America Pageant Top 10
Miss New Mexico, Jane Nelson
Miss Washington, Lauren Elaine Waddelton
Miss Texas, Sharon McCauley
Miss Minnesota, Barbara Hasselberg
Miss Alabama, Vicki Jane Powers
Miss Arizona, Vonda Kay Van Dyke
Miss Arkansas, Karen Carlson
Miss West Virginia, Ella Kessel
Miss Hawaii, Leinaala Ann Teruya
Miss Kentucky, Linda Lenora Sawyer
Miss Congeniality – Miss Arizona, Vonda Kay Van Dyke