While Tuesday, March 20, may have been the first day of spring despite the weather not topping the 60s, it was also the first time that Dr. Ken Altshuler had made any public appearances since the death of his wife, Ruth Sharp Altshuler, this past December.
But this was a special occasion for an organization that was near and dear to the couple. It was the Callier Cares Luncheon patrons’ party at Luncheon Honorary Co-Chairs Joyce and Larry Lacerte’s stately mansion. Both Ruth and Ken were such staunch supporters of the Callier Center for Communication Disorders helping all with hearing impairments, the annual award presented at the luncheon was named in their honor.
It was just four years ago, when Sara Martineau received the award, that Ken sat at a front-row table as Ruth, standing at the podium, told how “her own grandchildren had held ‘an intervention’ because no matter what they said, their grandmother would say, “What?”’ She then reported that in her own household, she and husband Ken constantly exchange, “What?”s. As Ken choked hearing Ruth tell the group of their personal experience, Ruth admitted that Ken had already gotten a hearing aid and she had ordered one.
Ken’s presence was celebrated by all including Dee Wyly, Caroline Rose Hunt and Bob Brackhill.
In the crowd were past Altshuler Awardee Stuart Bumpas (sans wife Diane, who was hosting a dinner party and waiting for Stuart’s return), Children’s Foundation President Brent Christopher recalling his days working with Callier’s Jennifer Fowler when they were both young pups at Children’s, and Marnie Wildenthal, who had just had cataract surgery on her right eye, with the left one still to come.
Callier Cares Luncheon Chair Beth Thoele announced that thanks to the patrons like Rhonda and Fraser Marcus, Jill Rowlett, Tiffany Divis, Children’s First Lady Christina Durovich, Richard Neely, Barbara and past Callier Foundation Board President John Stuart, current Callier Foundation Board President Tricia George, Ann and Bob Dyer, Vin Perella and Richard Neely, the luncheon had already raised more than $230,000. But she admitted quietly that she had her eyes set on a higher goal.
Following Beth was Callier Center for Communications Disorders Executive Director Thomas Campbell, who reiterated Beth’s call for funding. He also told how this year’s Award recipient was going for the first time to an organization, not a person. It was the Meadows Foundation. In recalling the early days of Callier, he surprised even oldtimers with the fact that the Meadows Foundation’s first grant was to the Pilot Institute that eventually became Callier. Over the years, the Foundation has been an integral factor in the success of the Center.
Since Meadows Foundation President/CEO Linda Evans was out of town, Mark Meadows, Mike McCullough and Meaghan Parry represented the organization that has been a standout in North Texas philanthropy.
Wearing a white jacket, Mark explained that he picked it out especially to celebrate the first day of spring.
Alas, since the Crystal Charity Ball had an early morning call the next day for the announcement of the 2018 Ten Best Dressed announcement, the crowd including Pam and Vin Perella, Leslie Diers, Tiffany Divis, Angie Kadesky and Cara French had to duck out early.
Tickets for the Tuesday, April 17, fundraiser at the Dallas Country Club are available here.