David Smithee

A dying Tulsa boy loved meeting, playing games with the star.


By CURTIS KILLMAN World Staff Writer
Published: 6/28/2009  2:28 AM


Karen Wilson was traveling back to Tulsa from a business trip when she heard the news that Michael Jackson had died Thursday.

"It brought back some wonderful memories of my son and how special Michael Jackson treated him," Wilson said. "His loss was terrible, and his death brought up a heavy heart."

It was in 1984 when her 14-year-old son, David Smithee, who was terminally ill with cystic fibrosis, met Jackson at his California home.

The visit was part of a weeklong California trip for David made possible by a nonprofit organization that fulfilled the dreams of terminally ill children.

During the afternoon visit at Jackson's Encino, Calif., home, David watched a movie with Jackson in his home theater, played video games and learned how to moonwalk.

Of the video games, David told a Tulsa Tribune reporter, "I played two games with him and beat him both times."

The visit was topped off with Jackson giving David the red leather jacket he had worn in the "Beat It" video and a beaded glove he had worn to the American Music Awards, where he collected eight awards.

David wore the jacket and glove home on the plane to Tulsa, his mother recalled.

"He was just in heaven," Wilson said.

David, an eighth-grader at Nimitz Junior High School, went straight to the hospital after arriving home, his mother said.

While in the hospital, David showed visitors the jacket, glove and pictures of himself and Jackson, Wilson said.

David died one month later.

"Michael Jackson gave us the happiest last month of our lives," Wilson said. "(David) died very happy."

The visit must have made an impact on Jackson, too; he later dedicated the Jackson 5's "Victory" album to David.

Wilson continued to follow Jackson's career after her son's death. She remains an adamant defender of Jackson, who faced rumors and accusations of inappropriate behavior with children.

"Despite everything that was said of him later, we saw none of that," Wilson said. "I never, never, never believed any of it. He was alone with my son a lot and never did anything ever happen.

"I never really believed any of that."

Wilson still has all the pictures and memorabilia from their visit with Jackson.

And she still has the jacket and glove.

"They are under lock and key," Wilson said. "But now they've become too fragile to take out and touch too much."

Ironically, Wilson was dancing to a Jackson song Wednesday night while at a convention during her business trip. The song gave her the opportunity to tell others about her son's meeting with Jackson. "I still, when a Michael Jackson song comes on, my heart still pounds," Wilson said.


Read more from this Tulsa World article at https://www.tulsaworld.com/news/article.aspx?subjectid=11&articleid=20090628_11_A1_DavidS991085