The Wilkinson Center Is Dealing With The Loss Of Volunteer Vickie Thompson And The Need For The Can Do! Lunch To Change

Vickie Thompson (File photo)

The Wilkinson Center’s Anne Reeder admitted that the past week has been tough. Longtime Wilkinson volunteer and “Lakewood Mom” Vickie Thompson suddenly died of a heart attack following the Lakewood 4th of July parade. It was just a year or so ago that Vickie had been named Wilkinson’s volunteer of the year. Whether it was pitching in to help the community or rallying others to the need of an individual, she exemplified the very word “volunteer.”

For those who knew Vickie, it’s hard to imagine the Lakewood neighborhood and the Center being without the blonde powerhouse leading the charge.

Anne had hardly adjusted to that news when she learned that the Sixth Annual Can Do! Luncheon was going to have to change. No, not the event itself, but rather the traditional date and possibly the location. Since its inception, the fundraising luncheon spotlighting entrepreneurship had been held at the Dallas County Club on the second Tuesday of May.

But it seems the Club had recently notified event planners and members that a new policy limited events with more than 100 guests to Mondays, Saturdays and Sundays only.

Anne Reeder (File photo)

Emilynn Wilson (File photo)

What’s a girl to do?

Luckily, Anne had already arranged for fundraising force-of-nature Emilynn Wilson to chair the 2018 luncheon. It was Emilynn who hauled in a whopping $283,435 for the Callier Cares Luncheon this past April at the DCC.

Comparing notes the ladies bit the bullet and booked Monday, May 7, at the DCC.

So, white out May 8 and ink in the new date for the 2018 Can Do! Luncheon. This one is going to be tough without Vickie, but one can’t help but suspect that her spirit will fill the room.

A Passing: E.G. Hamilton

EG Hamilton (File photo)

It was just a year and a half ago that a little gentleman with thinning white hair was front and center for Neiman’s celebration of NorthPark’s 50th anniversary extravaganza at NorthPark Neiman’s. Sure, there were those in cutting-edge fashions and others whom photographers clamored to shoot, but still this elderly guest with a smart look in his eye and a smile that would have swooned the most adorable cheerleader stood out especially to those in the know.

His name was E.G. Hamilton and he was 95 years young. He was also the brainiac who designed NorthPark Center.

As Dallas Morning News architect critic Mark Lamster pointed out, when E.G. ran into a question regarding the turning of a cow pasture into a world-famous fashion plate, he would turn to the late Nasher matriarch Patsy Nasher.

It was also E.G. who deemed that the retailing oasis should be called NorthPark Center, instead of the day’s trendy “shopping mall.”

But his creative brilliance was not limited to mega-commercial structures. Back in the 1960s, he designed a breathtaking contemporary residence in Highland Park known as The Hexter House  that ironically has just been slated for demolition by its new owners.

This man, who knew Dallas greats and turned their dreams into reality, died Monday at the age of 97.

Why does one think that Patsy and Ray Nasher, Stanley Marcus and Erik Jonsson are welcoming him to redesign the heavenly compound?

A Passing: Cherri Oakley

Before the women’s movement really started with Gloria Steinem hammering at the glass ceiling, Cherri Oakley was a hungry 20-something PR person who had gumption and could scramble. So the story goes, international hairstylist Vidal Sassoon decided to open a shop in Dallas in the early 1970s. Somehow Cherri got wind of Sassoon’s plans and managed to set up a meeting with his people. There was just one hiccup. Cherri didn’t have an office. But she wasn’t going to let that quash the opportunity. The fledgling PR practitioner temporarily rented space just to take the meeting and make the right appearance. It worked! Sassoon hired her and she was off and running to become a major player in the local PR biz.

Over the years, even Cherri had to laugh about the ups and downs of PR that fluctuated with North Texas’ business climate. When times were good, Cherri had a huge conference table. When times weren’t so great, the conference table hit the road. She had more than a couple of conference tables, so they say.

There is a great story in D Magazine about Cherri’s buying three spaces at Sparkman Hillcrest for $250 each in 1985. Her plan was one for herself and one for a maybe-one-day husband. In 1986 her beloved pooch, Roberta Black, died. Cherri decided that Roberta would find her final resting place in one of the plots. Alas, the Sparkman-Hillcrest policy would not allow it — “burying animals was against Sparkman policy.” Somehow, Cherri had her way — “We had to be discreet about it, but it was a very moving funeral.”

Cherri Oakley*

As time moved on and Cherri decided a Mr. Right was not going be in her life, she decided to sell the two remaining plots back to Sparkman-Hillcrest in 2008. But, alas, Sparkman-Hillcrest would “not buy them back.” Cherri was amazed to learn that her two spots were now valued at $7,590 each.

It is with regret that Cherri may be putting to use one of her Sparkman-Hillcrest spaces due to her death on Friday, January 20. And while Cherri’s 40 years in public relations may have ended, stories — both real and tall tale — will be the stuff that will allow her to live on in the annals of Dallas marketing circles.

A memorial service for Cherri will be held at Saint Michael and All Angel’s Saint Michael Chapel on Saturday, February 4, at 11 a.m.

* Photo credit: Matt Hawthorne

A Passing: Fred Wiedemann

Dallas is filled with outstanding people. Some are above-the-fold making news frequently. Others are like delicious secrets, whose amazing life stories only come to light after their deaths. Fred Wiedemann was such a man. For those who had the opportunity to know him before his death on Friday, January 20, his 93 years of life were the stuff many just dream of.

Fred Wiedemann (File photo)

Born in New York City in 1923, he was raised on the West Coast in Hollywood. Just six months after Pearl Harbor he entered the U.S. Naval Academy, where he became a Japanese interpreter and excelled academically and in sports. Just months before his graduation in 1945, he met a fourth-generation Texan who would be the love of his life — Florence “Flo” Leachman. Following an assignment in Japan in 1947 he resigned his commission, moved to Dallas, married Flo at Highland Park United Methodist Church and undertook a 50-year career in the life insurance business.

In addition to helping establish the highly successful The Wiedemann and Johnson Companies, he was involved with the up-and-coming arts (the boards of Theater Three and the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts and chairman of the Dallas Civic Opera Guild) and education (chairman of the St. Marks School executive committee, trustee and chairman of the Southwest Outward Bound School and on the boards of the Colorado Outward Bound School and National Outward Bound) programs.

Fred’s passports were filled with stamps from Canada, Patagonia, Tasmania, Nepal, Chile, New Guinea, Costa Rica and Japan, to name just a few. His wanderlust knew no bounds and he was eager to share the experiences. And, those trips weren’t just bus tours of the local landmarks. No, with family and friends Fred would trek, kayak, camp and take adventures.

According to his family, “the greatest, most wonderful adventure was when Fred planned a 15-month sabbatical in Europe, living in Zurich, Switzerland, to celebrate his and Flo’s 20th wedding anniversary. Their three sons [Frederic, Harden and Jon] went to schools there, and Flo began her Jungian studies at the C. G. Jung Institute in Zurich. Together there, Fred and Flo continued pursuit of their life-long love of opera, especially Wagner’s Ring Cycle. Fred spent his time in Switzerland on the couch being analyzed, skiing, learning flamenco guitar, and writing, with the latter two endeavors being singularly unsuccessful (according to Fred). Nonetheless the Jungian analytical process provided him with a seismic shift of consciousness and a grounding that he valued very much for the rest of his life.”

And the Wiedemann boys followed their father’s love for living a far-from-the-mundane routine. For instance, after graduating from St. Marks, Jon went to Harvard, became a Calvin Klein model, married actress Isabella Rossellini, producing daughter/model/actress Elletra Wiedemann, and went on to become an executive with Microsoft.

For those lucky enough to have attended a get-together at the Wiedemanns’ Preston Hollow ranch-style home filled with Japanese art, one just never knew what to expect. It might include a visiting best-selling author, a world-renowned educator or an artist, whose fame was just in the incubation stage. Why, D Magazine considered Flo and Fred to be one of Dallas’ “Heavenly Hosts and Best Guests.”

In reviewing his nine decades, Fred “acknowledged that he had made his share of mistakes and had tried to learn from them, but that his life had vastly exceeded any expectations he might have had. He felt it had been one ‘helluva’ ride, and he was so very grateful to have been aboard.”

Fred’s life will be celebrated at 3 p.m. on Saturday, January 28, at Serenity House at Lovers Lane United Methodist Church. Just imagine what wonderful stories will be shared.

A Passing: Robert S. Folsom

Not all the news today is wonderful. One of Dallas’ legendary leaders died Tuesday, January 24 — former Mayor Robert “Bob” Folsom. His 89 years of life bridged generations with successes and accomplishments.

Robert and Margaret Folsom*

There were his years at SMU where he played football alongside Doak Walker and Kyle Rote and lettered in four sports (basketball, football, track and baseball). There was his more-than-successful career in real estate that provided a wealth of experience and knowledge that would serve as a catalyst later. There were his years on the Dallas Independent School District’s school board, where he was first a board member and then president. And there were the years (1976-1981) when he was mayor of Dallas, during which his business acumen helped him energize the community’s growth for both the corporate and nonprofit sector.

And the city and university recognized and saluted his contributions with numerous awards and acknowledgments: the SMU Edwin L. Cox  School of Business Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1995, SMU Letterman’s Association Silver Anniversary Mustang Award in 1991, J. Erik Jonsson Aviation Award in 1990, Dallas Commercial Real Estate Hall of Fame – inductee in 1989, Entrepreneur of the Year – SMU School of Business in 1984, Headliner of the Year – Dallas Press Club in 1981, James K. Wilson Art Award – Contribution to the betterment of the arts in 1980, Distinguished Alumni Award of Southern Methodist University in 1975, and  NCAA Silver Anniversary Award – College Athletics’ Top Ten in 1975.

It was only appropriate that the Robert S. Folsom Leadership Award was established by Methodist Health System Foundation “to recognize individuals whose demonstrate commitment and excellence in community leadership emulating the achievements of former Dallas Mayor Robert S. Folsom.”

But most importantly there was his family. From his marriage in 1949 to his “childhood sweetheart” the late Margaret Dalton Folsom to his three children (Steve Folsom, Diane Frank and Debbie Jarma) and their famlies, Bob knew he had the best in his life right at home. In turn, his children have carried on the legacy of giving back to the community and celebrating the greatness of Dallas.

* Photo courtesy of Methodist Health System Foundation

A Passing: Liener Temerlin

During the ’60s and ’70s when Dallas had two daily newspapers and three TV stations, there were a handful of creative types and sales execs who gave birth to advertising/public relations/marketing agencies. Unlike the TV version of “Mad Men,” the Dallas men — Sam Bloom and his son Bob Bloom, Morris Hite, Stan Levenson, Stan Richards and Liener Temerlin — weren’t as much into martinis as they were into giving the New York ad community a run for their money. They were also helping the city of Dallas make it through the slow recovery from November 22, 1963.

Liener Temerlin (File photo)

Today it was reported that 88-year-old Liener died yesterday at his home in Austin.

According to The Levenson Group Co-Founders Barbara and Stan Levenson, “We always will be grateful to Liener for enriching both our personal and professional lives. Second to none, he was an industry icon and inspiring leader.”

With his bride Karla, the Ardmore native moved to Dallas to take a job a copywriter at Glenn Advertising in 1953. Over the years, he rose through the ranks becoming president of Glenn Bozell and Jacobs in 1974. Eventually the agency became Temerlin McClain in 1992 and TM Advertising in 2004. During his tenure, the agency handled such national accounts as American Airlines, Bank of America, Hyatt Hotels, J.C. Penney and countless others.

And he always seemed to be on the cutting edge. For instance, when his daughter Dana was married in the 1970s, he surprised locals by having a film crew tape the wedding reception at the Fairmont.  

But Liener’s life outside of the office was just as dynamic and visionary. He joined with the late Mayor Annette Strauss in orchestrating the building of the Morten H. Meyerson Symphony Center. That was unheard of back in that day with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra playing at Fair Park’s Music Hall.

And Liener’s foresight extended to still another art form — film. In 2006 he and Michael Cain sowed the seeds for the Dallas Film Society. In fact it was their connection to the American Film Institute that gave birth to the AFI Dallas International Film Festival that evolved into today’s DFS’s Dallas International Film Festival.

According to DFS President/CEO and DIFF Executive Director Lee Papert, “The Dallas Film Society is terribly saddened to learn of the passing of Liener Temerlin, our Founder and Chairman Emeritus. He was instrumental in the creation of the Dallas Film Society and the AFI Dallas International Film Festival. His passion and vision for film knew no bounds. That passion for this unique art form was limitless and he strived daily to bring a greater awareness of film to Dallas through the Film Society and the Dallas International Film Festival and the nation through his involvement with the American Film Institute. But beyond that passion, Liener was kind, genuine, and helpful – serving as a mentor to so many in the formation of a fledgling arts organization. He exuded class and most of all — he was our friend. We will miss our friend and we will continue to do our best to further his desire to celebrate this great medium.”

A Linz Award recipient, Liener was also involved with the Vogel Alcove, UT Southwestern Medical Center, SMU and a host of others.

Despite all these involvements, Liener’s top priority for more than six decades was his wife Karla Temerlin, their daughters Dana Temerlin Krebs and Lisa Temerlin Gottesman and their families.

On Sunday at 3 p.m., a memorial service will be held at in the Stern Chapel at Temple Emanu-El.

UPDATE: Arrangements Announced For Jan Pruitt’s Services

Jan Pruitt (File photo)

The North Texas Food Bank just shared the information about the visitation and funeral service for the late Jan Pruitt.

Visitation will take place on Friday, January 6, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Sparkman Hillcrest Funeral Home

Services will be 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, January 7, at First United Methodist Church Dallas.

In addition to parking at Bryan Tower (between Olive and Hardwood on San Jacinto) for a discounted rate, valet will be available behind FUMC on Harwood and San Jacinto.

Suggestion: Early arrival would be wise.

A Passing: Jan Pruitt

Jan Pruitt (File photo)

There are just some posts that one dreads writing. This is one of them. It is with the greatest sorrow to report that the North Texas Food Bank’s former President/CEO Jan Pruitt died today.

It was just a month ago after battling cancer for more than a year that she and her doctors decided that her time would be best spent with her family and she “stepped down from her position at NTFB.”

As NTFB Director of Communications Anna Kurian said, “I was comforted knowing that she spent Christmas and New Year’s Day with her family. I am sitting in our offices, looking at her office and missing her very much.”

In the days ahead much will be written about Jan’s leadership at NTFB and how she took it on 20 years ago and grew the organization that feeds thousands upon thousands each year. But it will be difficult to describe the zest she had. There was just a twinkle in her eye and a down-to-business attitude that inspired all around her to roll up their sleeves and help faceless and nameless people.

During her months of illness, she continued to juggle her families at home and at NTFB with her treatments. But then that’s how Jan was. And that’s the inspiration she has provided for those who knew her and those who benefited from her efforts.

According to NTFB Board Chair Tom Black,

“Jan was a one-of-a-kind leader whose spirit and passion for feeding our hungry neighbors will continue to live in each of us as we fulfill her extraordinary legacy through the mission of the Food Bank.  

“I knew Jan well, and I know that she would want us to forge ahead to close the hunger gap in the 13 counties that the Food Bank serves. To that end and as part of our ten-year plan, the North Texas Food Bank will fulfill Jan’s vision of providing 92 million nutritious meals annually by 2025.”

Today and tomorrow and the tomorrows to come, while you’re filling your kitchens with marvelous aromas or giving your orders to waiters for chef-prepared dishes, there will be folks who will count their blessings for a meal provided by the efforts of a person, whom they never met but will be ever grateful. That person is due to a dedicated wunderkind amongst us by the name of Jan Pruitt.

In keeping with Jan’s commitment and love for NTFB, her family has requested that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the North Texas Food Bank honoring Jan.

We extend our most sincere condolences to her family, the NTFB staff and to the countless children and adults, who will not go hungry today or in the future thanks to Jan. As tears are shed, may the multitudes be fed.

The Passing Of Too Many Took Place in 2016

While 2016 may be remembered for many things like a national election, Dallas being cast in the national spotlight due to a July tragedy and countless acts of philanthropy, it will also be one in which we lost too many people whose lives served as inspiration.

Before celebrating the year to come, let us remember and honor just some of those who have left us:

Paige Anderson (File photo)

Betty Blake (File photo)

Jo Guerin (File photo)

Bill Booziotis (File photo)

  • Paige Anderson
  • Betty Blake
  • Bill Booziotis
  • Antoinette Brown
  • Sis Carr
  • Dallas Police (Lorne Ahrens, Michael Krol, Michael Smith, Brent Thompson and Patrick Zamarripa)
  • Jo Guerin

Joe Laird (File photo)

Rusty Rose (File photo)

Karen Settle (File photo)

Karol Wilson (File photo)

  • Joe Laird
  • Roy Orr
  • Rusty Rose
  • Mickey Rosmarin
  • Karen Settle
  • George Underwood Jr.
  • Karol Wilson

A Passing: Paige Anderson

Paige Anderson was the Clark Kent/Superman of the Dallas animal scene. Her daytime life was a stylist for stars, socialites and catwalk beauties. Her off-hours job was heading up Beast Agent, where she represented dogs, cats, parrots and, yes, even red-tailed hawks like Mira and Mr. Chitters the owl for such companies as Neiman Marcus, JC Penney, Brookstone, Procter and Gamble, Purina, Dillard’s and countless others.

For some, Paige might have reminded them of Tinkerbell with her twinkling eyes, blonde hair, size-one figure and sparkle.

But besides the glitz and glamour of the runway and the repping of animals with advertising agencies, Paige saw and undertook the very ugly reality of the animal world as executive director animal cruelty investigator at Animal Investigations and Response (AIR).

Paige Anderson*

Paige Anderson*

The wee blonde was a role model for many. Sure, she probably weighed less than an SUV’s tire, but she loved animals. While others may have thought that Paige favored adorable Malteses and Bichon Frises, she was a Pit Bull girl in her home life. It was amazing to see the petite Paige with the muscular bulls that melted in her arms. But that was just the way Paige was, whether it was with people or pets.

And yet, let her sense an abusive or neglectful situation, then the ferocity of a volcano immediately took place. In skinny blue jeans and with her thatch of blonde hair, she marched through mud and all kinds of poo-poo to rescue those held captive in cruel conditions.

That march didn’t waiver in recent months when Paige was diagnosed with a very rare form of ovarian cancer.

Monica Ailey and Paige Anderson*

Monica Ailey and Paige Anderson*

According to AIR Co-Founder/President Monica Ailey, Paige passed away early this morning. “She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer four days after AIR launched and four days after AIR was awarded the Justice Award by the Legacy Humane Society. Paige fought a long year battling a very rare form of ovarian cancer. She gave it a run for its money that’s for sure! Even though she is no longer with us, I believe she won her battle. She won her battle because of the impact she made on this world and everyone that knew her! She won because we are all better people for having known her. She saved so many lives and she would want us to continue to do the same… her name. She would say that AIR is our future….that we are going to do big things in Texas and save a lot of animals! I plan to make her proud of our future as I know she will be by our side every step of the way!

“We are squaring away plans for a celebration of life event to honor this amazing hero and all the lives she saved and touched! I will keep you posted on the details as they become final.”

Chris McGilivray and Paige Anderson*

Chris McGilivray and Paige Anderson*

Paige was 50 years young, but the difference she made in so many lives, both human and critters, was simply incredible. The world is a better place because of her efforts. Those on the other side of the rainbow bridge are welcoming her with wags and purrs.

According to Kristina Browman, one of Paige’s dying wishes was that “We would continue AIR… and we intend to make her proud.”

Our most sincere condolences go to her husband Chris McGilivray and innumerable friends and critters.

A memorial service will be held at 7 p.m. on Saturday, September 24, at Manny Rodriguez’s studio. Tears are to be left at the door and cheers will be welcomed.

* Photo credit: Kristina Bowman 
** Photo provided by Facebook

A Passing: Karen Settle

In the fundraising world of meetings and social gatherings, where first impressions are the norm, it’s always gratifying to encounter a person who exudes beauty both inside and out. Such was Karen Settle. While Karen was not part of the non-stop fundraising herd, she made her mark when she took on a project. It was just two years ago that KidneyTexas Inc. President Jolie Humphrey arranged to have Karen chair the KidneyTexas Runway Report at Brook Hollow. Karen appreciated the cause because both she and her college sweetheart/husband Jay Settle had undergone kidney surgery.

Karen Settle (File photo)

Karen Settle (File photo)

In typical Karen style, she opened her University Park home for an appreciation party. As reported, the house was not the biggest one, the newest one nor the oldest one in the neighborhood, but, like Karen, it immediately made folks feel right at home. Sure, there was the “two-story, red barn in the backyard along with a pool and putting green,” but it was the type of place that made you want to return for a longer stay. It was the perfect reflection of Karen.

But Karen’s dazzling looks and genteel style belied her talents. Having earned her BBA from Texas Tech University, a master’s degree from SMU in psychology and a PhD in Counseling Psychology from UNT, she worked at SMU. During her 25 years at SMU, she served as Director of the Counseling and Testing Center and as a Licensed Psychologist for the SMU Memorial Health Center until her retirement in 2013. In recognition of her efforts, she was awarded the Distinguished Psychologist Award from the Dallas Psychological Association.

In addition to her various leadership roles in the world of psychology, she was a founding member and past president of the Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center League and a member of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra League.

Despite the professional and community accomplishments, family and friends were still the priority in Karen’s life. From her meeting Jay on a collegiate tour of Europe and that first kiss on a bench in Rome, raising two sons (Blake Settle and Trey Settle), and becoming a grandmother to growing her collection of friends, Karen’s life was the type others envy.

Still Karen’s life was not without loss. She suffered the incredible grief of a parent whose child has died, when Trey was killed in a car wreck in 2011.

As Jolie put it, “I’ve only known her well for four years, but we became very close quickly. We spent every week together planning the KidneyTexas luncheon and spent more time after that. Karen was smart, had a quick sense of humor, loved playing jokes, loved photography and she was pretty good at it herself. She had a high appreciation for art and loved entertaining. Karen was also a fashionista. Karen and Jay loved to travel. In fact they went on a river cruise in Europe this past May.

“Karen battled with her health for many years and things became worse the past two years. She never dwelled on it. Karen loved life, laughed often, was filled with joy and loved the Lord. I truly loved Karen like a sister. We connected instantly. She has many friends from many circles. People instantly liked her when they met her. She was very special.”

According to KidneyTexas Inc. President Anna Bland Aston, “KidneyTexas Inc. has so many warm and wonderful members who enjoy each other and support each other. We lost a true treasure of a friend in Karen Settle’s death this Tuesday, August 30.”

A memorial service will be held at Park Cities Baptist Church on Friday, September, 2, at 1 p.m.

A Passing: Joe Laird

Today the world lost a world-class leprechaun. His name was Joe Laird. For decades he photographed the famous and wannabes for The Dallas Morning News. There was something magical about him. With the twinkle in his sky-blue eyes and the mischievous smile, he called out the famous and infamous by their first names. “Hey, Stanley!”, “Hey, Sophia!”, “Hey…”

Joe Laird

Joe Laird

Joe always called everyone by their first name and no boldfacer minded. They didn’t mind because each of Joe’s photos somehow made them look better than they had dreamt.  And this was a time before Photoshop and digital enhancement. Joe just knew how to make them respond magically.

Perhaps that’s why Neiman’s would arrange for Joe to take a two-week vacation from his normal duties at The Dallas Morning News photography staff to work the legendary Neiman Marcus Fortnight.

It was during the Italian Fortnight that, upon Sophia Loren’s departure at Love Field (DFW International was still dirt), she beckoned him up the ramp. He obeyed and she planted a kiss lip-to-lip. Later he claimed it was like making contact with the world’s most glorious pillows.

And speaking of pillows, Joe was a gentleman. There was an “enhanced” glorious socialite who embraced Joe. He whispered later that it was like hugging cement bricks. But he would never admit her name.

And despite the glamorous crowds that he photographed and schmoozed with, he always looked and talked about the loves of his life — his wife, the legendary Mary Laird, and their collection of Laird kids.

Within moments of knowing Joe, one was aware that Joe was an expert when it came to Volvos. Why? Because each one that he purchased would become a hand-me-down to his kids for whom he served as mechanic.

He adored his Mary. No matter how late the event or how glamorous the gathering, he would go to his darkroom, produce the photos for the persnickety writers and head directly home. There was no schmoozing with the guys at an after-hours bar. He knew the best place to be was with Mary and the kids.

Despite having survived heart-attack deaths on the operating table, Joe wasn’t without his fears. On one occasion when DMN staffers were returning from an associate’s funeral, Joe was discovered in his darkroom seated on a stool with his head bowed. When questioned, he said, “I don’t go to funerals.” Perhaps that’s because this Marine had encountered death too many times before.

You couldn’t blame the guy. After all, at a couple of points in his life, he had suffered devastating heart attacks. One resulted in his losing large amounts of weight and take up jogging. In his Oak Cliff neighborhood, he eventually became “the guy with the dogs.” Seems his daughter Sandi Laird became an animal rescuer and Joe and Mary supported her efforts with animals joining the Laid household. It was no surprise to see Joe doing his morning jogs with a herd of dogs in tow.

So typical of Joe, at the age of 90 he didn’t let on that he wasn’t feeling all so great. According to Jonnie England, “Joe had been ill and pretty much bedridden for a few months and, typically Joe, refused to go to the doctor. Until yesterday, when he started experiencing a lot of pain.  Only then did they learn that he had colon cancer. He was a tough fighter until the end.”

Yes, he was a fighter until the end and that fight came to an end this morning.

Joe’s memorial services will be this Friday at 11:30 a.m. at Jeter and Sons Funeral Home on West Illinois, with internment at 1:30 p.m. at the National Cemetery at Mountain Creek Lake.

Don’t you just know that he’s calling God by his first name? And, yes, Joe still has a twinkle in his eye, a killer smile and is jogging with a pack of dogs across the rainbow bridge.

A Passing: Betty Muhlenberg Brooke Blake

Betty Blake (File photo)

Betty Blake (File photo)

Even some of Texas’ most legendary characters would seem beige compared to Betty Muhlenberg Brooke Blake (aka Boop).  And why not? She came from genes that spelled high society and breaking from the herd. Why, her mother socialite Lucile Polk Carter not only survived the sinking of the Titanic in 1912 with Betty’s older stepbrother and stepsister, she rallied the other women in the lifeboat to start rowing.

Two years later Lucile filed for divorce from her husband. It was at that time that she met wealthy banker/steel manufacturer George Brooke Jr. at a dinner party. Following the finalization of her divorce, Lucile headed back to Europe with the idea of staying for a year. But just as she arrived, World War I was breaking out. George attempted to make it to Paris to help Lucile, but wartime restrictions prevented that and he only made it to London. So George managed to arrange for Lucile to gain passage to London. It was there, on August 16, 1914, that the two were married and boarded the Titanic’s sister ship, Olympic, back to the states. On April 14, 1916, Lucile and George became the parents of Betty Muhlenberg Brooke.

Despite her mother’s death when Betty was 18, it was obvious that, like Lucile, Betty was her own person and considered the world her community and art her calling.

When she finally arrived in Dallas in 1943 thanks to her third husband Jock McLean, she combined her love of collecting art with advising and eventually selling art. At a time when other ladies were joining the Junior League and lunching at the S&S Tearoom, Betty opened up Betty McLean Gallery right next to Neiman Marcus in Preston Center. Instead of displaying the classics, Betty opted for the world of contemporary art with the likes of Chagall, Cassatt, Renoir and Matisse.

Back in March 2012, Rob Brinkley wrote about the Boop’s influence in Dallas’ art world.

On Monday, August 8, Boop died leaving more than 100 years of memories, a rich legacy of instilling art in North Texas and generations of relatives. While a memorial service is still pending, Betty will be buried in Newport, R.I.,  on Wednesday, August 17.

Let us hope that among the future generations, there are Boops-in-training.

While You’ve Been Away

For those who have been away on vacation, you may be wondering if Dallas is still functioning. Since 8:58 p.m. on Thursday, July 7, most locals have continued to show up for work. The shelves at grocery stores are still fully stocked. There has been no shortage of gasoline. Electricity continues to provide air conditioning. ATMs are still blowing out cash. Yes, life has gone on, but not as usual.

Television soap operas and game shows have been replaced with televised memorial services of fallen officers. Drivers have patiently accepted the traffic jams created by the mile-long funeral professions. People who haven’t been to church in years have found themselves there with bowed heads. There has been an influx of uniformed people from around the country. The sound of bagpipes has become all too familiar.

When you return, you’ll see the buildings, parks and neighborhoods are where you left them. But there is an air of change. Like a community swept by a tornado, we are looking at the devastation created by a horrific event. Yes, we are grieving, starting to heal, taking care of the victims and making plans to regroup to prevent such an occurrence from taking place again. But that can only happen if we are willing to come together armed with respect, compassion and courage.

There will be those who scoff that this pie-in-the-sky goal is impossible. They will say that the age-old wall of differences will always stand in the way. But that way of thinking has to be the first barrier to overcome. Dallas has the opportunity to become a role model for other cities in working together and standing united.

We look forward to your coming home and joining a remarkable mission to overcome the differences that have become a disease in this day and time.

Topgolf Initiates Healing Process To Financially Help Dallas Shooting Victims And Their Families

Despite the shock of last night’s shootings, area companies and people are already stepping up to help the victims. The folks at Topgolf have undertaken a “grassroots effort of Dallas businesses supporting local law enforcement after last night’s tragic events downtown.”

According to Topgolf’s Amanda Hill, the Dallas-based company is “pledging $10,000 to the Assist The Officer Foundation, an organization dedicate to making a difference in the lives of families of fallen officers… We’re asking other Dallas-based businesses to join us in donating to the Assist the Officer Foundation.”

There are 12 families, whose lives have been shaken to the core within the last 18 hours. While the emotional loss is daunting, the financial impact is something that the community can assist by donating here.

The foundation provides such services and programs as confidential counseling program, finance assistance (injury/illness), Dallas officer/reserve death benefits (on or off-duty) and line-of-duty benefits.

And this opportunity to help is not limited to companies. Individuals are more than welcome to donate.

Thank you, Topgolf, for providing the input of information and seed money. It is an important step in the healing process.

A Morning Of Mourning

For baby boomers and other old-timers, the news of the sniper(s) in downtown Dallas killing people knee-jerked them back to the nightmare of November 22, 1963. They remembered the days and years of Dallas being damned as a “city of hate.” This time it was a victim of hatred.

It was hard to imagine that the spot where 800 had peacefully marched to protest shootings in Minnesota and Baton Rouge had become a war zone with police as the key targets. Despite the resulting chaos of civilians running for cover and an unknown number of assailants, city leaders immediately came together to resolve the situation.

For Mayor Mike Rawlings, it had been a rough week already. In addition to the torrential flooding that resulted in the loss of an off-duty officer on Tuesday, his mother-in-law, Willine Gunderson, who had lived with the Rawlings family, had died Monday. She had been more than an in-law for the mayor. At night after putting in a long day of running the city, he would go to her room and talk with her before joining the rest of the family. Just hours before the downtown ambush, he had attended her funeral in Canton. Now, just past midnight, he was mourning the loss of officers and consoling his city.

But he was also letting the world know that Dallas would not tolerate the assassinations. Backing him up was Dallas Police Chief David Brown, who was commandeering the fluid developments. Not only was the city under siege, the situation also provided a ripe opportunity for widespread vandalism. Luckily, the latter was stopped before it could take hold.

But even at this time when Dallas city and county leadership was rising to the occasion, there were some who evidently didn’t realize the gravity of the situation.

In the days ahead, there will be funerals and healing. In the weeks and months ahead, there will be revelations. In the years ahead, this nightmare will require patience, understanding and grit for Dallas and the rest of the country.

A Passing: Mickey Rosmarin

Dallasites have clucked for ages about bringing fashion to the Southwest. And who’s to question Carrie Marcus Neiman, Herbert Marcus, Stanley Marcus and the rest of the tasteful Marcus clan’s establishing the forefront of the smart set in the world of couture?

Why, sure, there were the Sakowitz folks in Houston with W’s Johnny Fairchild’s ever darling Lynn Sakowitz Wyatt. Does that woman ever age? But still the Marcus crew ruled for decades.

Then, in the 1970’s, a young upstart in Houston by the name of Mickey Rosmarin opened up a T-shirt shop — Honest Threads — in Houston’s  Montrose neighborhood. His interpretation of cutting-edge fashion was such a hit that he opened up a boutique in 1975.

In the 1980s he moved the operation to Houston’s Highland Village along Westheimer with avant-garde dressing. Then in 2011 Mickey “relocated from its Highland Village digs to a [35,000-square-foot] luxurious fashion palace in West Ave.”

That Mickey center-of the-world fashion was called Tootsies, and it delighted the very fashionable set. Think of it as a Lou Lattimore, Gazebo or Forty Five Ten of the 70s, 80s, 90s, etc.

Mickey saw gold in the them-thar-hills of Dallas and opened a salon in the digs that once were Neiman Marcus in Preston Center. Over the years…decades… the boutique smartly tied in with charity offerings with fashions for fundraising opportunities like Mary Kay’s Suits for Shelter.

Today we regret to share that the Houston Chronicle is reporting that Mickey, at the age of 63, died of a heart attack. Luckily, his sister, artist Susie Rosmarin, reports that, “He seemed fine. He loved life. He was full of energy.”

According to Houston’s Kristi Schiller, “Mickey Rosmarin was the consummate gentleman of haute couture. The world has lost one of the most extraordinary people I have ever known. If I could say one last thing to him that summarizes over 25 years of admiration and friendship I would say, ‘Thank you for helping me become the woman I am today and for always inspiring me to make a statement without saying a word.’ Mickey always stuck to his conviction about how women should look – elegant, joyful, feminine – no matter how much fashion changed, but his taste never wavered.”

The Tootsies team put it simply, “Today we lost our amazing founder, Mickey Rosmarin. He loved Tootsies, and has left us with a legacy of style and generosity. We will miss his smiling face every day.”

To the Houston home base of Tootsies and its Dallas cousin, we extend our sincere condolences and our thanks for sharing your generosity and fashion sense with North Texas.

A Passing: Karol Wilson

Public relations people are amazing creatures. They are the fulcrum delicately balancing the seesaw of clients on one end and the media on the others. To do this they have to be Jacks- and Jills-of-all-trades with a talent pool including psychology, negotiating skills, writing, empathy, financial acumen and the ability to think on their feet and adapt to any situation. They embrace each project like a parent holding on to their first born. Too often they suffer the abuse of the media demands and clients wanting more and more. Luckily, these PR types soldier on.

Karol Wilson (File photo)

Karol Wilson (File photo)

One of those remarkable soldiers died late last night — Karol Wilson. While not the head of a major public relations firm, she worked with some greats like the Mansion on Turtle Creek, the Hyatt Regency, the SPCA, Les Dames d’Escoffier and so many others.

Karol was known for being generous with her time and talents. For years she would work with Diane Brierley to produce the SPCA’s datebook with scores of photos of pets. Despite being in extremely ill health, she continued on promoting the recent Les Dames d’Escoffier’s Raiser Grazer 2016 and the Junior League of Dallas’ Linz Award Luncheon.

Even when going through a battle against cancer, she managed to use her sense of humor to calm the fears of her friends. When heading to the hospital on Friday, February 26, she posted on Facebook, “Off to hospital for mini vakay…wondering if backless cotton gown will be featured on Fashion police post-Oscars. Should be fine — adjusting meds, etc.”

Karol’s death caught many within her wide circle of friends by surprise. They hadn’t realized that her health had been so devastating because Karol was the consummate PR person. She was a caretaker of others and didn’t want to worry anyone. Luckily, during her final days at Parkland, she was surrounded by a coterie of very close friends, who showered her with love and compassion.

A memorial service will be held in June.

A Passing: Bill Booziotis

When 36-year-old architect Bill Booziotis was courting his wife Jean in 1971, he was also designing a house for his sister Kanell Lontos and her husband Jimmy Lontos. For some the 3,500-square-foot, multi-level building neatly fit into its natural surroundings just a few feet away from Turtle Creek. For others, it was a true break from the traditional architecture that had dominated Dallas for ages. It wasn’t Dilbeck. It wasn’t ranch style. It wasn’t colonial. It was Booziotis.

Bill Booziotis (File photo)

Bill Booziotis (File photo)

Over the decades his talents expanded with the precision of a surgeon and the beauty of a master artist. His portfolio extended from museums, churches, and corporate buildings to residences. Perhaps the home that he recently designed for Mary McDermott Cook was the culmination of his wisdom, his passion and his love of Dallas. With flawless views of his hometown, the multi-leveled structure that he affectionately dubbed “Dump Top” was a true masterpiece. It was smart. It was breathtaking. It was Booziotis.

Besides achieving his clients’ dreams, he was active in building Dallas’ architecture community. Having founded the AIA Dallas Foundation, he was president of AIA Dallas in 1983 and on the Dallas Center for Architecture board of directors. In 2008 he was presented the Lifetime Achievement Award by AIA Dallas.

But he and Jean, who died in 2013, were also equally committed to various non-profit organizations. Bill himself was a board member of the Dallas Museum of Art, president of the Dallas Bach Society and founder/chairman of the Directors Circle at the Center for Vital Longevity at the University of Texas-Dallas.  Just recently the Center and UT Dallas presented him with the 2016 Gifford K. Johnson Community Leadership Award, which “is UT Dallas’ way of thanking champions of UTD, who have taken up the University’s cause with exceptional support, dedication, passion and enthusiasm for our vision of becoming a leading national research university.”

In addition to numerous awards and accolades, 80-year-old Bill was presented the Creatives Arts Award by the Dallas History Society this past fall. In accepting the award, he said, “Art is the substitute for the natural resources that we don’t have [in Dallas]… Art really is the substance that we have [instead of mountains, ocean, etc.].”

Recently Bill had not been in good health and he succumbed to death last week.

While Bill will no longer be creating new masterpieces for clients, his legacy will be studied, admired and serve as inspirations for generations to come.

Our condolences to his family, friends and associates. A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, June 18, at Communities Foundation of Texas. And, yes, he designed Communities Foundation of Texas.

A Passing: George M. Underwood Jr.

There was a time when locals considered the Meadows building on Central Expressway to be the last landmark before the Red River. It was a time when a young man by the name of Ray Nasher from Boston was envisioning plans to build something called “an enclosed shopping center” with Sparkman Hillcrest cemetery on one side and the Caruth farm on another.

But before Ray had even arrived in Dallas, there was a local fella who’d returned to his hometown after serving in World War II and gone about building “a number of brick homes in the Park Cities and North Dallas.” When he learned about plans to develop Central Expressway, he saw it as an opportunity. Sure, he was married and raising a young family, but still he saw a great future that lay north of Dallas, where cow pastures and cotton fields were in place. But he wasn’t the only one to see the post-WW II growth heading north. A group of young “brainaics” were eyeballing some property in the area for a company.

So, the young man partnered up with fellow SMU alumnus Lindsay Embrey and bought a chunk of land west of the proposed expressway for development in the mid-1950s. There were those who claimed that his father told his son that he was crazy. After all, by 1952, Central Expressway only ran from downtown Dallas to Mockingbird. The expressway wouldn’t extend to present-day Campbell Center until 1956.

Despite the doubts of others, he stayed true to his vision that would become “Richardson Heights, which is a large part of the City of Richardson.”

The young man with the vision was George M. Underwood Jr.

Over the decades, George continued his commitment to grow North Texas, both professionally and personally. His numerous contributions ranged from supporting his alma mater SMU, after whom the SMU Law Library is named, to serving on the Dallas City Council during the turning point days of Dallas.

But his life was not without pain. Over his nine decades of life, he would suffer the losses of his wife Nancy Underwood and daughters Twinkle Underwood and Nancy Underwood.

This past Monday, the “young man with the vision” passed away at the age of 96. He is survived by his son, George Underwood III; his daughter Helena Sparling; 13 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held Friday, May 13, at 2 p.m. at Highland Park Presbyterian Church.

Once again a member of the greatest generation has left us, but he has bequeathed a rich legacy for those who follow.

Two-Legged Critters Are To Blame For Vicious Canine Mauling And Killing

MySweetCharity loves critters. Oh, you didn’t know that? Well, welcome to the MySweetCharity universe! But like two-legged animals, all dogs aren’t lovable. Sure, there’s the debate that their perfections/imperfections are due to genetics and/or owners, but until dogs can drive cars and fill out IRS forms, they are still subservient to humans.

Over the past few days, a deadly situation took place where a woman was viciously attacked and killed by a pack of dogs. These animals will no doubt pay the price for their crime and their human owners will be charged for allowing this dangerous condition to exist.

But that’s not the answer. And neither is blaming Dallas Animal Services. This problem is one that continues to divide this community. The occasional stray dogs in parts of the city are snatched up immediately and returned to their grateful owners, thanks to microchips.

In other parts of town, litters are born and blown off to survive according to the age-old rule of survival of the fittest. These creatures know no hugs, no healthcare, no tags. They are turned out and revert to their basic animal instincts because their owners allowed them to be born.

The answer is not massive euthanasia at the hands of the DAS staffers. The long-term solution is to prevent their being born thanks to humans being responsible and not channeling their own primal urges.

When Dallas puts an full-court press in irresponsible areas of the community and enforces the rules and regulations, the atrocities will subside. But this will only happen when constituents stop looking at this problem as a “cute puppy” issue and address it as the critical health and crime problem it is.

A Passing: Jo Guerin

Jo Guerin (File photo)

Jo Guerin (File photo)

It was always easy to spot Jo Guerin in a crowd. With her blonde hair, teal-blue eyes and her never-ending smile, she was known for having an enormous collection of friends and being a tireless supporter of a wide variety of nonprofits.

Hailing from Arkansas, she found her way to SMU back in 1956, where time and time again she made her presence known thanks to her beauty (Rotunda Beauty, SMU Modeling Squad, etc.) and her talent (SMU Arden Club, President of the Neiman Marcus College Board, etc.).

Her appearing in SMU theatrical productions came as no surprise, since her older blonde sister/the late Martha Bumpas Gaylord was a favorite leading actress in Dallas theaters.

However, following college Jo married Dean Guerin in 1960 and shifted her focus to community involvement that included the Junior League of Dallas, Big Sisters, Children’s Medical Center, DAR, Dallas Museum of Fine Arts League, Crystal Charity Ball, Les Femmes du Monde, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra League, Dallas Garden Club, Susan Komen Foundation, Dallas Heritage Society, Flora Awards, Dallas Civic Opera and Dallas Arboretum Women’s Council.

But Jo was also known for her style. Whether it was being selected to the Crystal Charity Ball’s Best Dressed and its Hall of Fame or living and entertaining with Dean in the only Texas home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, Jo was a standout.

We regret to report that Jo died Sunday, April 24. A memorial service will be held at Sparkman Hillcrest on Friday, April 29, at 2 p.m.

Our condolences are extended to Jo’s family, friends and those who benefited from her efforts.

A Passing: Gladys Weatherby “Sis” Carr

The official records have her listed as “Gladys Weatherby Carr.” But everyone knew her as 96-year-old Sis Carr, who was way ahead of her time along with gals like Annette Strauss. Everyone seemed to conjure the image of her deep brown hair pulled back in a bun, her face always glowing with a smile and a marvelous twinkle in her eyes. Wednesday, March 2, that smile and twinkle continued in the memories of those who knew her.

But ask anyone who knew her firsthand and the words like philanthropy, generosity and femininity couldn’t help but enter the conversation. But in the back of their minds, they still thought — “Yellow.”

Whoa! That’s not to say that Mrs. Plack Carr was wishy-washy like a chicken-type color. It was rather her signature color. Before Madonna was born, Sis was the Yellow Rose of Texas. From her polished yellow nails to her donning a yellow mink jacket, she was a shining star.

For those who knew Sis, they couldn’t help passing the Carr estate on Forest built in 1952 without acknowledging the yellow flowers at the entrance, the yellow upholstery, the yellow furniture and the yellow curtains that welcomed family, friends and friends-to-come.

According to a Preston Hollow Advocate article, “We moved out to the country because our daughter really loved horses. We originally had 20 acres, with a large pen out here. She could just ride her horse all over.”

When her daughter Catherine Carr dated the late comedian George Burns, she sloughed it off like any mom would when their adorable daughter was seeing an upper classman.

As TACA Executive Director Becky Young proclaimed about one of the TACA founding sisters, “She was an extraordinary supporter and patron of the performing arts. She rolled up her sleeves and just did the work. She made a real difference in everyone’s life she touched. And, she probably connected thousands of citizens in our community to the arts.”

Her collection of support included being a board member for TITAS, TACA, Dallas Opera, Fort Worth-Dallas Ballet (now Texas Ballet Theater), Dallas Theater Center, Dallas Symphony League, Friends of WRR, “former president of the Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra, member of the Charter 100, board member/chairman of conducting auditions for National Council of Metropolitan Opera, the Dallas Garden Center, Dallas Children’s Theater Center, Dallas Summer Musicals and countless more.”

As for the wave of honors and awards, Sis’ included “Dallas Dance Council’s Mary McCherry Bywaters Award for lifetime contributions to dance, Sammon Center for the Arts Queen of Hearts Award, Dallas Theater Center’s Center Stage Gala honoree, Dallas Historical Society Award for Excellence, Family of the Year Award of the YMCA Award of Metropolitan Dallas, Juanita and Henry Miller Opera Award, March of Dimes’ Obelisk Award, Flora Award, Grand Dame Award, Opera Guild Sweetheart of the Year Award, TACA Silver Cup Award and many, many more.”

It is with great regret that MySweetCharity reports the passing of a remarkable person within our community. If you have a load of time, you might want to read Sis’s obituary. In the meantime, Sis is with Plack and probably raising funds for the heavenly sounds of music.

The memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, March 4, at St. Michael and All Angels Church.

A Passing: Roy Orr

Former Dallas County Commissioner and DeSoto Mayor Roy Orr was a big name in Dallas politics and community involvement back in the ’60s , ’70s and ’80s. He worked with business gurus and political types like Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan. And like most politicians, he had his fans and critics like fellow Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price, who described him as “a snake since the day he was born.”

While Roy’s resume boasted politico highlights, he was on the executive committee of the Board of the Circle Ten Boy Scout Council and a member of the DeSoto Chamber of Commerce, Texas Research League, Oak Cliff Lions Club, Dallas Alliance, Dallas Assembly, DeSoto City Charter Commission, Advisory Board of Abilene Christian University and the board of the Medina Children’s Home.

His hometown of DeSoto even had the Roy Orr Trail named after him, while Grand Prairie branded a major street with Roy Orr Boulevard.

As his family put it, “He was a remarkable man who could and would do all that was possible for his fellow man. He was loved, he was admired, and all who knew him respected him. He was always there for his friends and his family. One could have no better friend or mentor than Roy Orr!”

In 1952 Roy married Janice Gallagher Orr, who died this past November. Both Janice and Roy were lifelong DeSoto residents. The two went to the same high school but didn’t start dating until after graduation. As Roy told Red Oak Now in 2011, “My class at Lancaster High School had six people in it. I tell everyone I was sixth in my class, and they think I’m a genius.”

At the age of 83, Roy joined Janice on Friday, January 29. Funeral services will take place at Brown Street Church of Christ in Waxahachie on Tuesday, February 2, at 1 p.m.

Our condolences to the entire Orr family and the countless folks who benefited from Roy’s life.