There are people who just walk into a room and hardly anyone notices the new arrival. Then there are people who light up the room just standing in the doorway. Jocelyn White was the poster child for the latter group.
It wasn’t the smile that shone like the ivories of a Steinway baby grand, the laughing brown eyes or even the hour-glass figure. It was the whole package energized by some unknown power that Joce had brought with her from Arkansas back in 1981 when she landed her first gig as a weather reporter at KDFW-Ch. 4.
Surprisingly in a land where blondes ruled, Jocelyn was a standout with her mane of black hair.
Though her stint wasn’t long at the station … less than three years to be exact … her personality outshone the sunniest forecast.
With a voice that was the perfect blend of southern comfort and sparkle and a laugh with perfect timing, she found a new home on radio working with North Texas’ legendary Ron Chapman at KVIL, where she became lifelong friends with Jody Dean. From 1988-1991, she changed the dial to KISS FM, where she worked with a newcomer — Kidd Kraddick on his Kidd Kraddick Morning Show.
Over the next couple of decades she rolled up her entrepreneurial sleeves and came up with all types of programs like Designing Texas, Designing Texas Catalog, Designing DFW and others, putting to use her journalism degree by interviewing all types of celebrities and regular folks resulting in a new best friend.
While her professional life was geared to TV screens and radios, Joce was leading a double life. She was the first to volunteer if a non-profit needed an emcee for a fundraiser.
Eventually, her roles transitioned into chairing events. Anyone who knew Joce knew that her soft spots were animals and gardens. And she did more than just cut a PSA for them. She chaired the SPCA of Texas’ Fur Ball, Equest’s Gala, the Women’s Council of the Dallas Arboretum’s A Writer’s Garden and Mad Hatter’s Tea. Why, she even tried her dancing talents to raise money at Paws in the City’s Dancing with Our Stars in 2010.
But in recent years, close friends knew that Joce’s health was not up to snuff. Just this past February she was diagnosed with a rare lung disease. There was even talk about her needing a lung transplant. But it wasn’t to be. Friday she was rushed to the hospital, where she joined many of her “fur babies” across Rainbow Bridge earlier today.
Thursday’s 2021 Mad Hatter’s Tea didn’t look like any of its predecessors. Women’s Council President Kay Weeks and Tea Chair Jolie Humphrey played by the COVID-19 rules, but they put their own spin on the Dallas Arboretum fundraiser — fewer guests, an afternoon start and a seated tea in Rosine Hall and the surrounding terrace instead of a luncheon under a tent.
But there would still be a champagne reception in the Scott Ginsburg Family Plaza for guests to see and be seen as well as strutting their stuff on a green carpet for a lineup of judges to pick the best of the best.
Looming in the days beforehand head scratchers in overdrive were wondering, “Would creative hat designs send the paparazzi scrambling?”; “Would the forecast of rain dampen spirits and finery?”; “Would the usual Mad Hatter’s characters upstage everyone?”; “Would area glue guns produce award-winning entries?”; “Who would be top of toppers?” and “Would the skewed-down arrangements succeed?”
While the post is being prepared, check out more than 60 photos of the head-turning people and faux animals at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.
Built in 1910, the two-story, red-brick house at 4513 Gaston had been built during the turn-of-the-century glory days of East Dallas when Swiss Avenue was the showplace boulevard just blocks away. Over the years, both the house and the neighborhood had their ups and downs. Like other family homes in the area, 4513 evolved into a boarding house that was in need of some love and attention.
Fast-forward to 1987, when four female alcoholics created The Magdalen House to help alcoholic women achieve sobriety. Over the years the program became the “only agency in the Dallas-Fort Worth area to offer comprehensive recovery services – without insurance or state funding – 100% free of charge.” But as its assistances and client list grew, so did the need for a larger space to expand its no-cost recovery services.
In the meantime, 4513 was seen by many as falling on hard times. But The Magdalen House team saw a greater future for both the house and their program, with 4513 serving as their new home. So they rolled up their collective sleeves to raise funds to resurrect the house. It wasn’t going to be just a nice face lift; it was going to be a total renovation utilizing 21st century talent, materials and plans while retaining its bygone charm. They even gave 4513 a new name — Maggie’s House.
The Magdalen House’s new home would provide:
After two years of fundraising and construction, the big day for Maggie’s House’s official debut took place Thursday morning. Despite a slight chill in the air, people lined up on the front walk leading to Maggie’s House with its new siding, roof, windows and doors. Stretched between the rebuilt front porch’s arch was a green ribbon waiting to be cut and allowing guests to see that the interior renovations were equally impressive and done with care.
Here’s a report from the field:
Capital Campaign Co-Chair Dave Kroencke highlighted that the idea for a new house first began in June of 2014, a milestone nearly seven years in the making, and a project that raised $3.5 million dollars from over 470 individual donors. He recognized Delia Johnson and Sandra Harper Hallmark of the Crowley Foundation who provided the funds to purchase the land in the early stages of the project. He also gave special thanks to project partners KDC and Omniplan for their time and resources gifted in-kind to the project.
KDC CEO Steve Van Amburg explained, “One of KDC’s core beliefs and values is giving back to those communities in which we work in, live in and raise our families in. In those communities like Dallas, we love to partner with not-for-profits on their various projects. It is a natural fit for us to assist with developing The Magdalen House, where the additional space and design will help even more women in our community achieve sobriety and true success in their live. It has truly been a privilege to work with The Magdalen House on their much needed new home. Serving others is a good thing for our community yet even more so our Company.”
He then introduced KDC Design and Construction VP Hector Patino, mentioning his “servant’s heart” and that his “commitment to the project was unwavering.”
Hector gave more special thanks to project partners, and a brief history of the project that officially began in 2017, expressing that his involvement on the project led him to joining The Magdalen House Board of Directors earlier this year.
The Magdalen House Director of Outreach/The Magdalen House programs alumna Ainsley Chapman gave a brief history of how the organization began in 1987, how it saved her life in 2014, the growth that the organization has experienced in her six years as a staff member, and expressed her gratitude for the new space that will continue to help alcoholic women for years to come. “Through it all, one thing that has and will always stay true to this house is our mission. We help alcoholic women for free. We show them a spiritual solution that will give them total freedom for a lifetime. We provide love and care to them and their families. We give them a place and a community to feel connected to. And now, we get to do all of those things in a beautiful home that these women deserve.
The Magdalen House Executive Director Lisa Kroencke thanked The Magdalen House staff for all they have done to keep the doors open throughout the project, while continuing to prosper and grow. She gave additional thanks to all the individuals who have worked to provide alcoholic women with a place of dignity to recover, especially Steve who helped set the project into motion with his desire to help, and Hector for his unwavering commitment to the project. She shared her experience finding the house in 2007 as a newly sober woman, and the community of women that make The Magdalen House so special. “Here we will help others find the light, find the light in the darkness. Because in the light, the stigma and the shame of alcoholism cannot survive.”
* Photo provided by The Magdalen House
MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: 2021 Crystal Charity Ball 10 Best Dressed Fashion Show Announcement Reception
Earlier today the 2021 Crystal Charity Ball 10 best dressed women (Marybeth Conlon, Tiffany Divis, Jennifer Dix, Cate Ford, Cara French, Libby Hegi, Kim Hext, Karla McKinley, Amy Prestidge and Kimberly Schlegel Whitman) and Hall of Famer Mary Clare Finney were presented to a record number of friends and family members at Neiman Marcus NorthPark’s third level.
In between sips of champagne and other G-rated beverages, guests had to doff their masks to toast the ladies who will officially be recognized at the 2021 CCB Fashion Show on Friday, October 1, at NM NP for their years of supporting countless North Texas non-profits.
As each woman was presented, NM NP General Manager Mary McGreevy described their favorite charity and NM memory that ranged from the orange souffle to shopping for their bridal gown.
When 2021 CCB Chair Leslie Diers and 2021 CCB Fashion Show Chair Lisa Cooley announced that things were definitely underway to raise more than $5.3M for the 2021 Dallas County children’s non0profits, a whoop went up from the guests that probably could have been heard down in the first floor cosmetic department.
For a look at the crowd, check out the MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.
Just after 6 p.m. Wednesday, Equest Community Engagement Director Christine Volkmer was delighted looking at the turnout for the Equest Gala kick-off party at Stanley Korshak. Someone thought Christine’s guess of 50 people was a little conservative as the crowd spilled into the various departments on the ground floor. Some were lined up at the bar, where Gala Auction Chair Lauren McHenry said she would be stationed to accept auction items. Others like Co-Chair Kendall Laughlin were shopping, while his wife/Co-Chair Lisa Laughlin was going over her notes—and what notes they were; others were happily posing for photos with the Equest mini-ambassadors.
A few minutes later, Equest CEO Lili Kellogg welcomed the invite-only guests as the mini-ambassadors took a hay break. Lili thanked the assembled group, including Gala Underwriting Chair Cynthia Beaird, Elsa Norwood , 2017 Judy Bloomberg Memorial Volunteer Spirit Awardee Harley Cozewith and Linda Faulkner Johnston , for their support of the equine therapy program that was celebrating 40 years of horse power.
To prove how the therapeutic program is getting results, 18-year old client Alex Salser told how her three years at Equest had been life changing. As her mom Lynne Salser reported earlier in the evening, of all the therapy sessions Alex has to attend, Equest has been the one that has been a joyous one for the teenager. As other girls were embracing cars, Alex was finding her own mode of happiness on a horse named Amigo.
Lisa also agreed about the importance of the Equest horses and their interaction with youngsters. Her granddaughter Elizabeth Laughlin is also an Equest client, and Lisa has become a member of the Equest board of directors. Why, she has even managed to ride along with Elizabeth.
But back to the news of the day. Lisa and Co-Chair Katherine Wyker reported that not only were they halfway to their goal of $500,000, but they had arranged to have Chef Dean Fearing create a multi-course menu for the gala including Texas Wagyu Brisket, Granny Fearing’s “Paper Bag Shook” Fried Chicken with classic southern sides of jalapeno grits, Gun Barrel greens and pickled okra, among other “Dean-licious” items.
To celebrate the four decades of “horsing around” with a purpose, Lili announced the honorary co-chairs who represented each decade including:
- 1980-1990 — Susan Schwartz and Louise and Guy Griffeth
- 1990-2000 — Steve Barnett and Dr. Chandice Chandler
- 2000-2010 — Pam and Michael Petty
- 2010-2020 — Carol and Bill Huckin and The Huckin/Lupton Family
As for the future decade, Lili announced it would be represented by Julia and Blake Schwarz and Caitlin and Thomas Laughlin.
As for the Gala itself, it will take place at Texas Horse Park come rain or shine, thanks to the covered Al Hill Jr. Arena, with the Walton Stout Bank providing the musical backdrop on Saturday, June 5. Tickets are still available here.
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