Due To Demand, MySweetWishList Series Is Doubling Up This Week

MySweetCharity

With Christmas and the end of year getting near, the MySweetWishList series is going to double up this week.

If you’ve blown off reading some of these wishes, you’ve missed out on some incredible programs and organizations. Some of them have been so hard at work that they’ve never had time or a hope for a wish to come true.

So, take a break from shopping, wrapping gifts and cooking up feast and perhaps you’ll be able to play Santa Claus for a stranger. Chances are you won’t get your name on a building or even a thank-you note, but you will be able to see a wonderful person in the mirror.

We apologize if this doubling up is an inconvenience and hope that you will understand.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: Center For BrainHealth’s Legacy Award Dinner

If anyone mistakes the Center for BrainHealth types as strictly cerebral types, who sit around and use four syllable words, they definitely need to rethink that train of thought.

Need proof? Well, Brook Hollow was filled to the max with North Texas’ extreme boldfacers for the Legacy Award Dinner on Tuesday, November 14.

Debbie Francis, Laura Bush, Margaret McDermott, Deedie Rose and Caren Prothro

And what else would one expect when the co-chairs were Caren Prothro and Deedie Rose and the  honoree was that wheeling wonder Margaret McDermott? The lady-in-white, who is headed for her second century of philanthropy and wisdom, was the belle of the ball and joined other Legacy Awardees like Debbie Francis, James Huffines, Dee Wyly and Jane and Bud Smith plus a former first lady.

Patty and James Huffines

Dee Wyly

While the post is being prepared, check out the pictures at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

Jennifer and Keith Cerny and Nikki and Crayton Webb

BTW, this was The Dallas Opera GM/CEO Keith Cerny’s social swan song and he didn’t let on that a move to Calgary was in his future. Shoot!

JUST IN: The Dallas Opera’s GM/CEO Keith Cerny Resigns To Head Up Calgary Opera

Keith and Jennifer Cerny (File photo)

The Dallas Opera‘s GM/CEO Keith Cerny has just turned in his resignation to take over the position of general director/CEO of Calgary Opera in January.

During his seven-and-a-half years with the Dallas company, Keith presided over five consecutive balanced operating budgets and a host of artistic projects, expansions, and technical innovations.  These include a highly-successful simulcast program; regional, U.S. and world premieres; and innovative community outreach programs.  

According to Dallas Opera Board Chair Holly Mayer, “Keith has every reason to be proud of his legacy. We wish him every success with his new responsibilities as we turn our efforts to maintaining this company’s impressive forward momentum and strengthening the collaborations with other arts organizations that have marked Keith’s tenure here in Dallas.”

Dallas’ loss is Calgary’s gain.

Stella Wrubel, Quinn Graves And Their MistleCrew Want You To Kiss-Off Hunger With Jingle Bell Mistletoe Starting Friday

The countdown is underway for Christmas. It’s ten days filled with parties, gift wrapping, cooking and kissing. Whoa! What was the last one? Yup. Kissing. There are all types of smooching. There’s the air kiss, the pucker planting, the kiss blowing, the hand kissing, the cheek pecking and the blissful buss to name a few.

Quinn and Stella’s Jingle Bell Mistletoe*

But this indoor/outdoor activity can be enhanced with a little inspiring decoration like mistletoe. While the greenery may be considered a parasitic plant to a tree, it is the seasonal good luck charm for a lucky locking of the lips.

And if you don’t want to haul out the extension ladder and perhaps break a bone or two by cutting some greenery out of the trees, 12-year-olds Stella Wrubel, Quinn Graves, Isabella Dickason, Trevor Godkin and their MistleCrew have it all under control.

Starting Friday, their Jingle Bell Mistletoe will be back in operation for a fifth year selling mistletoe with the hope of raising $60,000 for the North Texas Food Bank to feed 180,000 children in North Texas. Just last year, Stella and Quinn were awarded the North Texas Food Bank’s Golden Fork for their seasonal project.

Stuart Reeves, Quinn Graves, Lucy and Steve Wrubel, Stella Wrubel, Jennie Reeves and Katherine Reeves (File photo)

Here is the schedule for the pop-up plant stations:

  • Highland Park Village
    • Friday, December 15: 2 to 5 p.m.
    • Saturday, December 16: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
    • Sunday, December 17: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
    • Monday, December 18: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Dallas Farmers Market on Saturday, December 16, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

xxoo

* Photo provided by Jingle Bell Mistletoe

As 2017 Gala Nears, Crystal Charity Ball Committee Honors Its Top Producers With Charms And Fashions At Forty Five Ten

As the 2017 Crystal Charity Ball committee faced their final days before the black-tie gala at the Anatole on Saturday, December 2, it was time for CCB Chair Pam Perella and her lieutenants (Leslie Diers, Elizabeth Gambrell, Anne Besser, Cheryl Joyner and trapped in traffic Kristina Whitcomb) to literally “wrap up” the year-long effort for Dallas County children’s charities.

Elizabeth Gambrell, Leslie Diers, Pam Perella, Anne Besser and Cheryl Joyner

Thanks to the Tim Headington posse, the reveal of the CCB top producers were feted at Forty Five Ten’s top floor restaurant on Monday, November 13. While some succumbed to downtown’s “don’t turn” traffic traps and construction turmoil, the vast majority arrived right on time.  

Adam Lippes, Lauren Ostek and Travis Christian

Promptly at noon, the ear-shattering crowd of ladies took their places to eyeball Forty Five Ten designer Adam Lippes.

Scott Polk

Just before the presentation of the awards was made, jeweler Scott Polk revealed the charm that would be presented to the awardees.

In keeping with CCB Chair Pam Perella’s theme, “Evening in the Alps,” the charm was a St. Bernard.

And the recipients were:

  • Underwriting — Tucker Enthoven, Fredye Factor, Sarah Losinger, Meredith Bebee, Libby Allred, Suzy Gekiere, Lisa Cooley, Patty Leyendecker, Amy Hegi, Lynn McBee and Claire Emanuelson
  • Foundations — Alicia Wood, Amy Prestidge, Susan Farris, Paige Slates, Linda Secrest, Vinnie Reuben, Kimber Hartmann, Leigh Anne Haugh, Jennifer Dix and Susan McSherry
  • Silent Auction/Special Gifts — Tiffany Divis, Margaret Hancock, Shelle Sills, Katherine Coker, Ola Fojtasek, Janie Condon, Tucker Enthoven, Elsa Norwood, Kim Miller and Susan Farris
  • Children’s Book — Lynn McBee, Margaret Hancock, Suzy Gekiere, Elsa Norwood, Linda Secrest, Libby Hegi, Kristina Whitcomb, Stacey Walker, Melissa Macatee and Libby Allred

For additional photos, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

Kyle Taylor To Take Over For Retiring Irving Cares CEO Teddie Story

Kyle Taylor*

Some folks didn’t know much about Irving in 1957. It wouldn’t pop up on their radar until the Cowboys moved from the Cotton Bowl to the “state-of-the-art” Texas Stadium in Irving. But the Irving residents were already addressing “the social welfare of the needy people in their community.” To help those facing financial crisis, the seeds of Irving Cares were sown.

Its success was based on a dedicated staff and a compassionate team of volunteers. In July 2010 a fellow by the name of Kyle Taylor joined up as a volunteer in the Employment Services Program. In less than two years, he was named “Volunteer of the Year.”

His efforts impressed the Irving Cares staff so much that they hired him to be Coordinator of Volunteers, “where each year he has managed a food pantry that serves thousands of Irving resident and supervised hundreds of volunteers.”

Teddie Story*

Once again his work led to his being named Community Engagement Director, “working to build mutually beneficial relationships with a diverse set of community partners.”

Now, word has arrived that Irving Cares CEO Teddie Story is retiring this month after starting off as a volunteer in 1991 and, like Kyle rising through the ranks.

Carrying on in Teddie’s place will be… yup, Kyle.

According to Teddie, “The staff, volunteers, donors and customers of Irving Cares will be well represented by Kyle Taylor as the next Chief Executive Officer. His passion for service to others is evident in his dedication to Irving Cares and its customers.”

Congratulations to both Teddie and Kyle for showing that being a volunteer can lead to even greater things.

* Photo provided by Irving Cares

JUST IN: Golden Globe’s Nominee “This Is Us” Chrissy Metz To Be Keynote Speaker At The Elisa Project’s Life Lessons Lunch On February 28

The Golden Globe nominees were revealed Monday and Chrissy Metz is once again nominated for her role as Kate Pearson on NBC’s “This Is Us.” But her success and fame didn’t come overnight or easily. Chrissy’s life story is one that screenwriters dream of. Sure, she went through the trials and tribulations that many actresses face like being out of work, surviving thanks to friends and family, watching roles won by others and learning to accept rejection.

Chrissy Metz*

But Chrissy dealing with a literally “bigger” issue — her weight. Admitting that she was born chubby, she was just 11 when she went to Weight Watchers. Her weight jumped up and down the scales at one point losing 50 pounds only to “gain back 100 pounds due to depression and ‘eating my feelings.’”

Then the moment came when all the stars were in alignment and she landed the role of Kate, whose storyline was so akin to Chrissy’s. But even more than the role, Chrissy’s popularity has been due to her being so open about her dealing with her weight issues.

For that reason, The Elisa Project organizers are thrilled that they have just gotten word that Chrissy will be at the 13th Annual Life Lessons Luncheon on Wednesday, February 28, at Brook Hollow Golf Club for a conversation with Kimberly Schlegel Whitman.

Kimberly Schlegel Whitman (File photo)

Kim Bannister (File photo)

According to Luncheon Chair Kim Bannister, “As an organization dedicated to the development of healthy children and adolescents by raising awareness of body image and self-esteem issues and the prevention of life-threatening eating disorders, we know Chrissy will truly captivate attendees as she shares her own inspirational stories of courage and self-acceptance. This year’s luncheon is not to be missed!”

Honorary co-chairs will be Sandra Estess and Elizabeth Estess Hughes.

Starting at $2,000, tables are available for purchase now. If space permits, individual tickets will go on sale in early February. Suggestion: Gather up pals and get a table locked down now. Don’t depend on those individual spots coming available.

* Photo provided by The Elisa Project

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: 2017 Crystal Charity Ball Wrap-Up Luncheon

Elizabeth Gambrell, Leslie Diers, Pam Perella, Anne Besser and Cheryl Joyner

After a year of work, the 2017 Crystal Charity Ball Chair Pam Perella and her team were tallying up the results for Dallas children’s charities. While the final dollar amount won’t be revealed until 2018, the top producers of the committee were recognized at the annual Wrap Up Luncheon on Monday, November 13, at Forty Five Ten’s Mirador penthouse restaurant.

Meredith Bebee

Caren Kline

Patti Flowers

Before learning the heavy hitters, check out the MySweetCharity Photo Gallery for some of the folks lunching and being “charmed.”

The Eight Days Of Hanukkah Begin At Sunset Today

Monuments Men album and seven-branch menorah (File photo)

So many parties and get togethers are taking place this week. But at sunset tonight (5:21 p.m.) the eight days of Hanukkah will commence for the members of the Jewish community. Commemorating the successful rebellion of the Maccabees against Antiochus IV Epiphanes and the rededication of the Temple of Jerusalem in 165 B.C.E., the menorah will be the centerpiece of the days and nights ahead. With the lighting of each of the candles at sunset, those of the Jewish faith will celebrate how despite having just enough oil for one day in the Temple, the oil lasted eight days.

If your calendar isn’t already filled to capacity, you might want to join the events that are taking place in the area and learn about this age-old celebration. Or, why not try one of the recipes that will be used during the eight days. Here’s one by Temple Emanuel’s Tina Wasserman.

Hanukkah ends at 5:24 p.m. on Wednesday, December 20.

2018 Dallas Black Dance Theatre’s Farewell Founder’s Award Luncheon To Honor Founder Ann Williams As Awardees Andy McCarthy, Herdercine Nash And Linda Todd

Back in 1996 Dallas Black Dance Theatre Founder Ann M. Williams wanted a fundraising event to support the organization’s community outreach and education programs in the area including dance classes, workshop and lecture-demonstration for students. She also wanted to recognize “civic and business leaders of Dallas who have impacted Dallas Black Dance Theatre and the Dallas arts community.” Her supporters came up with the perfect solution — the Annual Founder’s Award Luncheon

Thanks to the support of such sponsors like Presenting Sponsor Chase, the event became the major community fundraiser for the “oldest, continuously operating professional dance company in Dallas,” that was established in 1976.

But the upcoming fundraiser on Wednesday, January 17, at the Hilton Anatole has been renamed the 2018 Farewell Founder’s Award Luncheon. The reason is that it will be the last one. It’s time to launch a new “initiative.”

But the luncheon will be far from a boo-hoo occasion. It will be a celebration highlighting “the legacy and extraordinary service of Ms. Williams, to Dallas and the field of dance,”as well honoring the 2018 awardees Andy McCarthy, Herdercine Nash and Linda Todd

Doug Curtis, Lucy Billingsley and Ann Williams*

Joining Event Co-Chairs Kimberley Runnels and the Rev. Lelious Johnson will be Honorary Co-Chairs Lucy Billingsley and Doug Curtis.

With this finale luncheon just a few weeks away, better lock down your reservations pronto. Plans for the fundraiser’s replacement will be revealed at the meal.

* Photo credit: Derrick Waiters

A Passing: Ruth Collins Sharp Altshuler

Ruth Collins Sharp Altshuler (File photo)

Perhaps it was just selfish, but no one ever thought Dallas would be without Ruth Collins Sharp Altshuler. She exemplified the city with her energy, determination, humor and ability to rise above loss. That’s why her death Friday night will cause many to recall their favorite stories about “their Ruth.”

There won’t be many who will remember the little girl who started life in 1924 on Swiss Avenue. Five years later when the Great Depression threw the country into a financial nightmare, her family’s resources protected her and her two brothers (Carr Collins II and Jim Collins) from the poverty that ravaged others.

At the age of 21, she was widowed when her first husband’s plane was shot down during World War II. A couple of years later she met and married her second husband Charles Sharp. Together they made a striking couple and their marriage of 40 years would produce three children (Sally, Stanton and Susan). It would also test the part in the wedding vows — “in sickness and health” — when Charles was diagnosed with Parkinson’s.

Ruth Altshuler and Susan Sharp (File photo)

It was during their marriage that she joined the Junior League and took on a lifelong mission to support the nonprofit sector including the Crystal Charity Ball, SMU, United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center, Dallas County Medical Society, The Salvation Army DFW, Susan G. Komen, Dallas Summer Musicals, North Texas Giving Day, Retina Foundation of the Southwest, Family Gateway, I Stand For Parkland, Laura Bush’s Foundation for America’s Libraries and countless others. 

In 1963 both the 39-year-old Ruth and the city of Dallas faced a turning point that would determine the city’s fate when President John F. Kennedy was killed in downtown Dallas. Overnight the city became internationally synonymous with hatred. But eventually the city rebounded, thanks to the leadership of the late Mayor Erik Jonsson and others including Ruth, who was on the grand jury that indicted Jack Ruby the day after he killed Lee Harvey Oswald.

The following years were indeed challenging on a personal level as well for Ruth with Charles’ disease progressing until his death in 1984. Still she carried on, juggling her family’s needs and her community involvement.

Ruth and Ken Altshuler (File photo)

With the children grown and, widowed once again, Ruth threw herself into helping others. Eventually, she found the perfect partner in Dr. Ken Altshuler, who shared her sense of humor and her commitment to others. Just this past Tuesday, they celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary.

True to form, Ruth was always a magnet for attracting people. Whether it was U.S. Presidents (four of them to be exact — Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, George Bush and Barack Obama), movie stars like Ginger Rogers and Sophia Loren, noted intellectuals like David McCullough or just a child in need, Ruth treated all the same with appreciation and that legendary quick wit.

For instance, at the 2014 Callier Center for Communications Disorders luncheon when she presented the Ruth and Ken Altshuler Callier Cares Award to her longtime friend Sara Martineau, she “admitted that 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?’ 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.”

In the days, weeks and years ahead, it’s going to be difficult to imagine a world without Ruth. But on the other hand, if one just looks around, they’ll see her in the programs, buildings and people that have benefited from a life well lived.

According to The Dallas Morning News, a memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday at Highland Park United Methodist Church, 3300 Mockingbird Lane. A reception will follow at the Umphrey Lee Center at SMU in the Margaret Mack Ballroom. Both will be open to the public.

A Gentle Reminder: 2017 BMW Dallas Marathon Weekend Will Have Runners On Area Roads Both Saturday And Sunday

BMW Dallas Marathon*

Back in 1971 the very first Dallas White Rock Marathon was held on March 6. Over the years the name and date changed. In 2012 “White Rock” disappeared from the name and it became Dallas Marathon. Over the years some things stayed the same like Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children being the beneficiary and thousands of participants including world-class runners.

2017 Coors Light 5K and 10K*

This weekend the annual runathon has been expanded. For starters, it’s going to be a two-day run including

If you’re not planning on being part of those running or volunteering, you might want to check the road closures that will be in place. They range from Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge through downtown Dallas on Saturday to Sunday mega-run starting at City Hall and heading around White Rock via Turtle Creek and back to City Hall.

* Graphics courtesy of BMW Dallas Marathon

Prepare Flower Children For First Freeze Of The Season

Dallas Arboretum pansies (File photo)

As confusing as the weather has been for wardrobes, the poor residents of the Dallas Arboretum are in a blooming quandary. One day it’s sunshine and temperatures in the 80s. The next day it’s cloudy, windy and a drop of 30 degrees. And to top it all off, tonight there is a threat of a freeze that would make a pansy shiver down to its roots.  

Dave Forehand (File photo)

But no need to worry about the Arboretum plants. The staff is taking action to protect the little critters thanks to Dallas Arboretum VP of Gardens Dave Forehand, who has shared the following tips for your garden:

 

  • Water plants before freeze: First, water plants before a freeze, particularly the plant root zone. Water acts like a blanket insulating the roots. This makes the plant stronger against a freeze. When plant cells are full of water, they are less likely to be subject to frost damage. If possible, water a day or two before a freeze and make sure to water the entire root zone of the plant. This is especially important in newly planted trees and shrubs. Try watering early in the day so plants have time to absorb water before a freeze. If at all possible, avoid watering the foliage. If you have an irrigation system, hand watering might be the best option for certain locations. Keeping water off the foliage prevents the formation of ice on leaf material which can cause breaks and more damage.
  • Cover cold sensitive plants: Cover them with blankets, sheets or towels. Do not use plastic because it is not breathable and will freeze to the plants causing damage. When daytime temperatures rise above freezing, it is important to remove the cover because, if left under cover all day, temperatures under the blankets can get too warm, damaging the plants and waking them from dormancy. 
  • If possible, use frost cloth: Frost cloth acts as a blanket and helps trap heat. Make sure that you secure the cloth entirely around the plant and tighten to the soil using fabric pins or bricks (anything that will hold it down firmly will work). Frost cloth is made from a product that “breathes,” and this cloth helps against burn caused by other materials. Purchase frost cloth months in advance, if possible. When the threat of a freeze is coming, frost cloth sells out quickly. Do not use frost cloth when there is a chance of snow. Otherwise, it will cause more damage breaking plants from the weight of the snow.
  • Take care of plants constantly: The healthier your plants are, the more prone they are to handle stress. Proper water and maintenance throughout the growing season will help in the winter months. It is also important to select the right plant for your area.  Check to make sure that the plant material you select is appropriate for your location. Check out USDA plant hardiness zone map to see what zone you live in. This information will help you purchase the best plant material for your zone. 
  • Move plants inside, especially with high winds: When high winds are a threat, it is a good idea to move potted plants into a shed or garage. Although plants don’t feel wind-chill, cold winds quickly dry them out.  Most plants can survive upper 30-degree temperatures easily in a shed or garage because these areas usually don’t drop below freezing until severe weather in February. 

JUST IN: While Barbara Daseke Splashes As Addison Magazine Cover Girl, Husband Don Daseke Is Named 2018 Horatio Alger Awardee

The name “Daseke” is familiar to locals for Barbara and Don Daseke‘s support of all types of nonprofit. From WaterTower Theater in Addison to the Dallas Zoo just south of Dallas’ CBD, they’ve made their paw/foot print on fundraising. Why Addison The Magazine of the North Dallas Corridor just featured platinum, spiky Barbara as their cover girl this month.

Don and Barbara Daseke (File photo)

Ah, but word has just arrived that Don has been busy building his empire to gargantuan levels as well as his philanthropic levels.

Word just arrived that Don will receive the prestigious Horatio Alger Award on Thursday, April 5, thru Saturday, April 7, during the Association’s 71st Horatio Alger Award Induction Ceremonies. Gee, hope Barbara and Don can schedule it into their “Must Attend” agenda. The twosome will be joining fellow awardee Reba McEntire and others in Washington D.C. for the ceremony.

According to the Horatio Alger Award committee, “This annual award recognizes exceptional leaders – all with a commitment to philanthropy and higher education – who have overcome significant personal challenges to achieve success. Horatio Alger Award recipients solely fund the Association’s scholarship programs, which provide education opportunities to promising students who, like the Award recipients, have faced adversity in their young lives.”

Don will join such locals as the late Ebby Halliday Acers, Jody Grant, T. Boone Pickens, Jeff Rich and Bob Schlegel.

Follow the jump for all of Don’s accomplishments including his marriage to Barbara. [Read more…]

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: 2017 Crystal Charity Ball Underwriters Party

With the 2017 Crystal Charity Ball less than a month away, the final big thank-you reception was held on Thursday, November 9, at Amy and Corey Prestige’s fabulous mansion. From the amazing dining room filled with Cassandra must-haves to the standing-room-only in the den, the CCB underwriters had plenty to talk about and to feast upon.

Ginny and Randy Bailey

Liat and Amit Berger

But as dazzling as the entry’s lacquered eggplant purple walls were, the bling-bling provided by the evening sponsor Diamonds Direct had guests thinking about adding a glitter for the children’s gala on Saturday, December 2, as well as Christmas shopping.

Lee Bailey

Leslie and Bryan Diers

Kim Hext

While the post is being completed, check out the faces and twinkle at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: 2017 Awards For Excellence In Community Service

This year’s Awards for Excellence in Community Services on Thursday, November 9, at the Fairmont was a true gathering of greats in all fields. From the pre-luncheon reception for the recipients to the presentation of the awards, the Dallas Historical Society fundraiser showcased those who have contributed to the betterment of the area.

Lindalyn Adams, Mary McDermott Cook and David Brown

At one point in the program, former Dallas Police Chief David Brown proved just why he had been selected for the Jubilee History Maker.

While the post is being prepared, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

A Passing: Al Hill Jr.

The tapestry of Al Hill Jr.’s life was one of many threads, colors and textures.  

Al Hill Jr. (File photo)

For many young people, Al was the behind-the-scenes patriarch of Highland Park Village and a very generous and supportive philanthropist. As one person told a new nonprofit development director on how to raise funds, “Go visit Al. He’ll take the meeting and listen. If he likes what he hears, he’ll answer your prayers.”

He was easy to spot at any event. It was his wheelchair that had become a double-edged sword since his fall in 2003 that resulted in his being paralyzed from the waist down. But even that couldn’t dampen his spirits. There was always the smile, especially when he was at events with his daughters Elisa Summers and Heather Washburne.

Old-timers remember Al of the late ’60s and early ’70s, when he was just in his 20s. He and his uncle Lamar Hunt spearheaded the growth of tennis, thanks to the World Championship of Tennis. It made sense, since Al had been an ace tennis player at St. Mark’s School of Texas and Trinity University. Tennis was on the launch pad to become a major sports contender like football and baseball. And the timing couldn’t have been better for Al, Lamar and Dallas.

Those were heady days, with Dallas’ new airport making it an international player in the world of travel and such membership nightclubs as Oz on LBJ and elan at Greenville and Lovers Lane for partying it up. To do it up big, Al and Lamar brought in such names as Arthur Ashe, Rod Laver, John Newcombe, Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe and Bjorn Bjorg, who could barely speak English.

But the venture into building the world of tennis wasn’t Al’s only undertaking. Being the grandson of the late H.L. and Lyda Hunt and son of the late Margaret and Al Hill Sr., he was involved in the oil business. Being the nephew of the late race-horse-loving Bunker Hunt, he developed a hands-on interest in horse racing. Being the nephew of Pumpkin Air owner Caroline Rose Hunt, he took on the charter-jet business as well.

And on the home front, he and his beautiful blonde wife, Vicki, were new parents of son Al Hill III and daughters Heather and Elisa.

But it hadn’t all been wonderful for Al. There was the divorce from Vicki, the life-changing fall from his porch in 2003, and legal issues following the death of his mother in 2007. Yet, those developments didn’t slow him down. He ended up adjusting his interests to focus on the building and restoring of Park Cities homes, as well as being a part of the purchase and redevelopment of Highland Park Village starting in 2009.

But it was in philanthropy where he shone, by putting even more of his family’s money and influence into the world of such nonprofits as Baylor Health Care System Foundation, Equest, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of North Texas, Center for BrainHealth, Salvation Army of DFW Metroplex Command, Big Thought, Perot Museum of Nature and Science, The Family Place, Communities in Schools of Dallas, Callier Center for Communication Disorders, The Senior Source, Dallas Historical Society, and many others.

Saturday night, Al’s confinement to the wheelchair ended with his death at the age of 72. One can’t but suspect that he was the first one on the tennis courts the next morning in his after-life.

Our condolences to his family, friends and the countless others who have benefited from his generosity and friendship.

A Passing: Eli

Eli (File photo)

Eli worked with more patients than most doctors. You might say he was a general practitioner since his skills were limitless.  And his bedside manner was better than even Marcus Welby’s.

For a decade, Eli was the Numero Uno member of the Baylor Animal Assisted Therapy program. From his birth on March 13, 2007, there was something special about the Golden Retriever. Sure, he was like any dog if a tennis ball caught his eye. But once he arrived at any of the Baylor campuses in North Texas wearing his ID badge and bandanna, he transformed into a care provider.

By an act of the fates, Eli was able to pursue his calling with his partner Linda Marler, who was in charge of the Baylor program. Partner? Yes. Anyone could see that in Eli’s and Linda’s relationship, there was no “owner.” They were partners.

For years, Linda and Eli would daily go to “their” office on the first floor of Baylor Institute for Rehabilitation and set up schedules and work with all types of patients. In some cases, it was just to provide some comfort for a patient who missed their own dog. For others, it was helping a young person trying to regain the use of their hands after a motorcycle accident. And for still others, it was quietly putting his head in someone’s lap when they were having a bad day.

Linda Marler and Eli (File photo)

However, it was more than the patients who got the Eli treatment. Baylor staff members would greet them as they walked through the halls.  Their little office became the “must-stop-by” spot for anyone working in the building. It was never surprising to see a patient in a wheelchair roll up to the door to see how Eli was doing. The Golden Retriever greeted each visitor with a wagging tail and a smile. Yes, Eli did smile.

Alas, poor Eli had to put up with some of Linda’s silliness. She would balance everything from treats to balls on his nose to show how obedient he was. Everyone from children to the most highly educated specialist would look in amazement as he held his nose just the right way until Linda gave him the signal to release.

Eli in the center with Baylor Animal Assisted Therapy testing team (File photo)

And, of course, Eli became the rock star of the Animal Assisted Therapy program. The temperament testing team considered Eli not to be a dog, but rather one of the testers. When new dogs would be tested for the program that was considered one of the toughest, Eli would quietly lie nearby until Linda needed him.

Eli (File photo)

As the years passed, Eli found himself training a new puppy in the Marler household. The pup’s name was Micah and, like Eli, he was a Golden Retriever. Only Micah was a bit of a cut-up. As a youngster, he got loose and was the victim of a hit-and-run. Luckily, Micah pulled through, but it is believed that Eli took him aside and told him to get his act together … which he did.

In recent years, Eli’s muzzle was turning white and he was slowing down a bit. After all, that’s why he had been training Micah to take over some of his duties. But Eli was still showing up for work with Linda and taking care of their patients and staff.

Just this past Sunday, an email was sent by Linda, “Went to ER today. Eli has hemangiosarcoma … We brought him home with us…..giving him extra love and attention. He is not eating….. it is only a matter of time.”

That time came last night, when Linda watched her partner cross the rainbow bridge.

MySweetWishList: Perot Museum Of Nature And Science

Julie Diaz*

According to Perot Museum of Nature and Science Chief Advancement Officer Julie Diaz,

“The Perot Museum celebrates its 5th birthday this December!

“We are grateful for the support of the North Texas community, which has allowed us to serve 5.5 million people since our opening in 2012 and enabled us to fulfill our mission of ‘inspiring minds through nature and science.’

“Our wish this holiday season is to give the gift of discovery to North Texas families who might not otherwise have the means to visit. A contribution in support of the Perot Museum’s Financial Aid Program – which gives over 100,000 school children from all over North Texas the opportunity to experience the Museum’s amaze-your-brain fun and learning – would be meaningful!

Perot Museum of Nature and Science*

“Your gift to this program is a great way to help us spark curiosity in the next generation of scientists, engineers and innovators. Our goal is to distribute $500,000 in financial aid this year – you can help make that possible! Check it out here. For more info, call 214.756.5808.

-By Julie Diaz, Perot Museum of Nature and Science Chief Advancement Officer

* Photo provided by Perot Museum of Nature and Science

JUST IN: 2017 Crystal Charity Ball’s 452-Page “Children’s Book” Is Unveiled Today Thanks To Wells Fargo Private Bank

Today the Crystal Charity Ball elves committee members donned their “Alpine” sweaters and started schlepping flowers, favors and all kinds of goodies at the Anatole in preparation for Saturday night’s “Evening in the Alps.”

In addition to the activity, 2017 CCB Underwriting Chair Leslie Diers revealed a first for CCB. According to Leslie, the legendary “Children’s Book” that will be given to guests was being sponsored by Wells Fargo Private Bank.

Leslie Diers, Phil White, Pam Perella and Elizabeth Gambrell

On hand for the delivery and the unveiling of the 452-page book by 2017 CCB Chair Pam Perella and 2017 “Children’s Book Chair” Elizabeth Gambrell was Wells Fargo Private Bank DFW and Oklahoma Regional Director Phil White.

If you’re one of the lucky ones to get one of these keepsakes, you’ll have a wonderful time checking the beautiful photos of area children photographed and donated by John Derryberry Photography, James French Photography, Gittings and Haynsworth Classic American Portraiture.

Jewelry Designer Jorge Adeler’s His-And-Hers Package Of Historic Note Added To The Array Of Crystal Charity Ball Silent Auction Items

Unlike other fundraisers, the Crystal Charity Ball has no live auction with that arm-raising competition. Heavens, no! Instead, they have a glamorama silent auction of luxury items that would impress the most persnickety Black Card holder. In preparation for the sleek bidding, the CCB committee sends out a fabulous book containing the goodies to guests.

This year Silent Auction and Special Gifts Co-Chairs Anne Besser and Cheryl Joyner really challenged postal carriers with their 230-pager for the Saturday, December 2, so-very-sold-out gala at the Anatole.

But, alas, one of the dreamy items arrived just as the tome had left the printers. Provided by jewelry designer Jorge Adeler, who is sold exclusively at Forty Five Ten, this his-and-hers package is perfect for the gal and guy who appreciate “unique pieces that are seeping in history and tradition, while being transformed into current, wearable art to enhance any wardrobe.”

Jorge Adeler pendant and cuff links*

For the lady, Jorge has created a pendant mounted in 14kt gold featuring the authentic ancient coin of the Constantine the Great’s son, Emperor Constantius. For non-history buffs, Constantius ruled from 337-361 AD in which he made “a concerted effort to promote Christianity at the expense of Roman polytheism.”

As for the gentlemen, Jorge has transformed “authentic ancient Isshu-Gin coins that were minted in Japan when shoguns ruled” into exquisite cuff links.  Mounted by hand in 18kt gold in Adeler’s atelier, the coins were used by Shogun to pay the Samurai.”

Retail value of these historic treasures is $9,476.

Get your credit cards warmed up.

* Photo provided by Crystal Charity Ball

JUST IN: KidneyTexas Distributes $144,639 To Six Organizations

KidneyTexas President Andrea Alcorn looked relieved Tuesday night at Tootsies. She revealed that thanks to the KidneyTexas committee efforts especially the Runway Report Luncheon chaired by Christine Martin and Susan Russell, they had met their goal — $144,639.

Andrea Alcorn, Susan Russell, Dustin Holcomb and McKamy Tiner Looney

Then she played Santa doling out the following checks:

  • Baylor Health Care System Foundation: $30,000 for five year study of kidney transplants;
  • Camp Reynal: $19,500;
  • Children’s Medical Center Foundation: $20,500 for hemodialysis and blood pressure machines;
  • Parkland Foundation: $30,500 for kidney dialysis Unit;
  • Texas Health Resources Foundation: $14,214 for hemodialysis machine; and
  • UT Southwestern Medical Center: $29,925 for kidney related research.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: 2017 ReuNight

JB Hayes and Robert Weatherly

The llama of honor was picture perfect on Wednesday, November 8, at the Statler for The Family Place’s ReuNight. After standing for more than an hour, its ears were still standing straight up and it never shied away from the camera flashes and the guests taking selfies.

Kristi Hoyl, Jennifer Dix, Paige Flink, Charlotte Jones Anderson and Gene Jones

And when the chimes called the guests upstairs for the seated dinner and live auction, the step-and-repeat, four-legged star made a brief exit out the front door passing by Honorary Co-Chairs Gene Jones and Charlotte Jones Anderson on their way in.

While the rest of the soiree write-up is being prepared, check out the llama and faces at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

MySweetWishList: Community Partners Of Dallas Toy Drive

According to Community Partners of Dallas CEO/President Paige McDaniel,

Community Partners of Dallas’ annual Toy Drive is now underway!  I wish for the community to help us in providing more than 12,000 holiday gifts for abused and neglected children in the care of Child Protective Services. CPD is accepting donations of new toys through Friday, December 8.

This year we have received 1,000 more wish requests for abused and neglected children in Dallas County, and need the support of the community to ensure that every one is filled. We can send you 2 wishes, 20 wishes or 200 – all donations are welcome!

Paige McDaniel*

Community Partners of Dallas’ Toy Drive is unique in that the wishes are brought to the agency by CPS caseworkers on behalf of the children in their care, and those same caseworkers will have the wonderful opportunity to deliver the gifts personally. For many of the children, these might be the only gifts they receive, and for some the first holiday gift they have ever been given.

A significant need this year is gift cards, valued at $25 or more, for the teens we serve.  Gift cards from retailers such as Target, Wal-mart, Bath & Body Works, Forever21, GameStop, Academy, Old Navy, Ulta and Best Buy are always appreciated as every teen should have the experience of shopping and selecting something for themselves.  As well, popular wishes for kids of all ages include Paw Patrol toys, African American Dolls, Sophia the First toys, Batman, Spiderman, learning toys for toddlers, bath and body gift sets, anything from Disney’s Frozen, light up toys, MP3 players, LEGO Sets, remote control cars, toddler push toys, tablets, LeapFrog toys and basketballs/footballs/soccer balls.

Toys and gift cards can be provided by companies, churches, scout troops, business offices, or individuals. Organizations and individuals can also organize a new toy drive for the undesignated toy collection used to serve additional children who come into CPS’ protective care after the wish list deadline and to fill wishes not selected by donors.

All gifts should be new and not wrapped. Toys must be delivered to the Community Partners of Dallas’ Toy Drive Warehouse at the Peacock Alley Warehouse located at 2050 Postal Way, Dallas, Texas 75212, no later than 3:00 p.m. on Friday, December 8.  For more information on participating in the Toy Drive or for warehouse hours, contact Corinne Karp, 214.624.7588 or visit www.communitypartnersdallas.org.”

-By Paige McDaniel, Community Partners of Dallas CEO

* Photo provided by Community Partners of Dallas