Harper’s Bazaar‘s Avril Graham To Share Spring Fashion Trends At “2nd Annual Room To Grow” In NorthPark’s Neiman Marcus Courtyard

Kim Bannister (File photo)

Jamie Singer (File photo)

Andrea Weber (File photo0

Andrea Nayfa (File photo)

The lineup of nationally known types keeps growing for this spring’s fundraising. Room To Grow Co-Chairs Kim Bannister, Jamie Singer and Andrea Weber along with NorthPark Center Chair Andrea Nayfa have arranged to have Harper’s Bazaar Fashion And Beauty Editor Avril Graham to be on the agenda for the Dec My Room fundraiser.

Avril Graham*

Kimberly Schlegel Whitman (File photo)

Avril will be “presenting trending colors of spring fashion trends with NorthPark Ambassador Kim Schlegel Whitman at the luncheon on Wednesday, April 18. Following the seated luncheon and chat, guests will after-party it up on Neiman Marcus NorthPark’s Level Two.

Where is the luncheon going to take place? That’s what separates this lunch from the usual fare. The event will be held in the Neiman Marcus Courtyard, located between Neiman Marcus and the Eiseman Jewels entrance. Talk about a beautifully landscaped setting with its towering trees and artwork.

And speaking about the beauty of the environment, the timing couldn’t be better. It coincides with NorthPark’s Spring At The Park Home And Garden Show that runs from Friday, April 13 to Monday, April 23.

According to Dec My Room – Dallas Director Karen Michlewicz, “We are so grateful to NorthPark Center and to Neiman Marcus for partnering with us to host the second annual ‘Room to Grow’ luncheon and fashion presentation. We look forward to attendees enjoying the latest spring fashions in the beautiful courtyard setting at Neiman Marcus. Most importantly though, we are so appreciative of the community for not only supporting this event, but also recognizing the impact that it has on the children served by Dec My Room.”

If Dec My Room is new on your radar, it was actually established in 2007, when Houstonians Susan Plank and her daughter Kendall Plank learned that a friend’s son would be traveling from Austin to Texas Children’s Hospital for a bone marrow transplant. That was the good news. But the problem was the youngster’s stay would be three weeks away from family and friends. The mom-daughter wanted to do more than a nice floral arrangement or a visit, so their contacted the family to learn about his favorite things. After hitting Target, they had his hospital room “decked” out with University of Texas logo and other “stuff.” His reaction was amazement resulting in hugs for Susan and Kendall. That one act of kindness gave birth to “Dec My Room” for children staying in hospitals.

When “Dec My Room” arrived in Dallas a couple of year ago, the perfect spot for the “healing place for children who are being admitted into a hospital for a prolonged amount of time” was Children’s Medical Center. The very first year a half dozen rooms were decorated by volunteers.

It’s a great program to apply your creative juices, so why not volunteer? And don’t forget to get your tickets to the luncheon!

* Photo provided by Dec My Room - Dallas

 

Retired Texas Instruments Executive VP David Martin To Head Up Jubilee Park And Community Center’s Board Of Directors

With the newest year underway, the announcements of events and leaderships just keep streaming in. The latest is from Jubilee Park And Community Center.

David Martin*

Heading up the 2018 board of directors will be retired Texas Instruments executive VP David Martin. He will succeed outgoing President Jeff Rice.

According to Jubilee Park CEO Ben Leal, “David Martin is a long-time friend and advocate, not just for Jubilee Park, but for the families and neighbors whom our work represents.  His leadership and compassion have made a tremendous impact on our organization for years, and we are thrilled to have him at the helm. A true example of civic commitment, David and his family improve lives and strengthen community on every level at Jubilee.

“I want to extend my deepest gratitude to Jeff Rice for her service to Jubilee for two decades, especially during our twentieth anniversary last year. Jeff’s commitment to Jubilee is unparalleled.”

Joining David will be retired financial executive and entrepreneur Grady Schleier as VP/treasurer, Hallett And Perrin PC attorney Stewart Thomas as VP/secretary and SJL Design Group COO Kay Whelan as assistant treasurer.

New members of the board include Squeaky Connolly, Paul Polanco and Matt Waller, who will join current board members Bill Addy, Jorge Correa, Matt Davies, Tiffany Davis, Ken Gilbert, Rev. Chris Girata, Davis Hamlin, Tom Harbison, Elizabeth Hoffman, Gigi Poglitsch, Paul Polanco, Pat Prestidge, Jeff Rice and Will Snyder.

* Photo provided by Jubilee Park And Community Center

JUST IN: New Crystal Charity Ball Members Revealed

2018 Crystal Charity Ball Chair Claire Emanuelson has just announced the newest members of the 66-year-old fundraising organization for Dallas-area children’s charities.

Ashley Allen (File photo)

Kara Axley (File photo)

Marybeth Conlon (File photo)

Let’s cut to the chase. The frosh class of 2018 include Ashley Allen, Kara Axley, Marybeth Conlon, Lissie Donosky, Anne McPherson and Lisa Rocchio

These ladies join decades of predecessors, who have provided more than $137M for more than 140 nonprofits. Just imagine — the children who benefited from that initial fundraiser at the Baker Hotel in 1952 are now AARP types with grandchildren of their own.

MLK Jr. Day Closings And Openings And An Opportunity To Serve

Monday will be the official Martin Luther King Jr. Day that will results in rethinking of what’s open for business. Here is a brief list of organizations that will be closed:

  • Banks
  • U.S. Postal Service
  • Libraries
  • City of Dallas offices
  • Dallas County offices
  • Dallas Independent School District
  • Greenhill School
  • Highland Park Independent School District
  • Jesuit Dallas
  • Plano Independent School District
  • Richardson Independent School District
  • SMU
  • State of Texas offices
  • University of North Texas
  • University of Texas at Dallas
  • Ursuline School

Perot Museum of Nature and Science*

But what will be wide open and greeting you with open arms? The Dallas Zoo and the Dallas Arboretum are both offering their special pricing. But it might be rainy. Then what about a museum visit? Alas, the Dallas Museum of Art and the Nasher Sculpture Center are following their standard operating procedures of being closed on Mondays. But never fear! The Perot Museum will be wide open.

VNA**

And if volunteering is more to your liking, consider VNA Meals on Wheels. They’re expecting more than 600 volunteers to take over 350 routes starting at 10 a.m. to provide more than “4,700 homebound, hungry seniors” with chicken fajita taco, fiesta rice, refried beans, fudge cream cookie and milk.

* Graphic courtesy 
of Perot Museum Of Nature And Science 
** Graphic courtesy of VNA

Crystal Charity Ball Members Roll Up Their Ugly Christmas Sweater Sleeves To Assemble, Schlep And Make Ready For 2017 Children’s Gala

Some may think that the 100 Crystal Charity Ball committee members spend the days leading up to their annual fundraising gala at hairdressers, makeup artists and designers for final fittings. How wrong those guessers are! Instead the gals are elbow-to-elbow with vendors and others staffers preparing for the big hoop-la. Why even past CCB chairs show up to join the work.

Pam Busbee, Christie Carter and Debbie Oates

For the Saturday, December 2nd ball at the Hilton Anatole, the Thursday before was no different except, the ugly Christmas sweaters had more of a whimsical spirit.

Beth Thoele

Mascot Bernie

With 2017 CCB mascot Bernie looking on, there was assembling of programs, Tiffany box favors, putting together clear bags for magazines and newspapers and other preparation to tackle. Even the lunch provided by Mesero found CCB-ers discussing what still needed to be done.

Leslie Diers, Phil White, Pam Perella and Elizabeth Gambrell

2017 CCB Chair Pam Perella, Underwriting Chair Leslie Diers and Children’s Book Chair Elizabeth Gambrell took a break to thank Wells Fargo’s Phil White for being the first-ever CCB Children’s Book sponsor. Who would have thought that after all these decades, the sponsorship hadn’t been gobbled up? The book has truly become a collector’s item with kids of the past now being CCB committee members.

Gary Cox, Claire Emanuelson and Tom Addis

In the meantime, event producer Tom Addis was showing his flexibility. It seems that the previous group that had held its meeting in the Chantilly Ballroom had been a wee bit slow in departing. That meant that Tom and his crew had to rearrange their POA to create “An Evening In The Alps.” Would they make it happen? Does Santa know how to shimmy down a chimney? No doubt on either count.  

A Passing: Rita Crocker Bass Clements

Rita Clements (File photo)

Whenever Rita Crocker Bass Clements took on a task, she surpassed the rule of the day. Whether it was cutting cattle on a ranch, raising four children, chairing North Texas’ most successful fundraising efforts, rising through the political ranks to national recognition or serving as First Lady of Texas, her DNA had the leadership factor.

Born on October 30, 1931, during the Great Depression in Newton, Kansas, she was 11 when her family moved to Texas and she attended The Hockaday School, when school founder Miss Ela Hockaday still ruled the roost at the school located at Greenville and Belmont.

After graduation she attended Wellesley College and met and married recent Yale graduate Dick Bass. During their 22-year marriage, Rita became the mother of four (Bonnie Bass Smith, Barbara Bass Moroney, Jim Bass and Dan Bass), graduated with honors from the University of Texas and moved to Dallas, where she got involved in community activities. It was during this time that the petite brunette’s skills as a leader blossomed, serving as president of the Junior League of Dallas, founding director of the O’Donnell Foundation and, in 1968, chairing the Crystal Charity Ball that took place at the Statler Hilton, where legendary designer Jed Mace decorated the room with “ceiling high, silk trees and snowflake garlands” and the Lester Lanin Band performed for 830 guests.

She also became more than interested in politics. Having volunteered in Dwight Eisenhower’s 1952 campaign for president, her involvement grew to such a point that she became Dallas County Precinct Chairman for the Republican Party, state co-chair for the Barry Goldwater campaign in 1964 and eventually a Republican National Committee member in 1973.

In the meantime, oilman Bill Clements was entering the world of politics. Under Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, he served as Deputy Secretary of Defense. This interest in the world of politics brought Rita and Bill together, resulting in their 1975 marriage.

Four years later, when Bill was first elected governor of Texas (he served two non-contiguous terms, from 1979-1983 and 1987-1991), Rita was more than up for the job as First Lady of Texas. In addition to her political acumen, the Crystal Charity Ball Hall of Famer brought her good taste and concern for the state’s well-being to the role by becoming a driving force in the beautification of Texas and restoring the Governor’s Mansion with the help of Jed Mace. As she put it, “Even though it’s open five days a week, it’s nonetheless a home for us and for all Texans.”

For 36 years, Rita and Bill were a team, both personally and politically. But it wasn’t always easy being in the political ring and spotlight. Rita stood by her man through some very daunting times. When he ran for re-election in 1982, he lost to Mark White. But Bill rebounded and made a successful run in 1987, replacing White. It was also in that year that Bill’s role in the SMU football player pay-off that led to the university’s “Death Penalty” came to light. She also saw Bill through the tragic murder of his son, Gill Clements.  

The good times trumped the challenging ones, though. Sure, there were awards, board positions and grandchildren, but Rita and Bill always stayed firm in their giving back to the North Texas community that they called home. In 2009 they gave a whopping $100M to UT Southwestern Medical Center, where the 12-story William P. Clements Jr. University Hospital stands today.

Following Bill’s death in 2011 at the age of 94, Rita’s activities slowed down due to age and being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. But when she did make an appearance, she was treated like a rock star.

Rita Clements with JLD past presidents File photo

When the Junior League of Dallas celebrated its 90th anniversary in 2011 at a Brook Hollow luncheon, a group photo was taken of the past JLD presidents. Unfortunately, Rita arrived just seconds after the photo had been taken. There was no hesitation. The consensus was to regroup and put her front row center in the place of honor with Lyda Hill by her side. Later Lyda recalled how Rita had been “her mentor and encouraged her to take a Dale Carnegie course, resulting in Lyda’s reporting, ‘Now, if there are two or more people, I’m ready to speak.’”

Rita’s death Saturday drew to an end a life that felt right at home in a saddle, knocking on the door for votes, presiding over the Governor’s Mansion private and public activities, raising a family, journeying through the mine field of politics, or inspiring a future philanthropist with wisdom and a touch of humor.

A memorial service will be held Thursday, January 11, at St. Michael And All Angels Church at 11 a.m.

MySweetWishList: The Senior Source

According to The Senior Source President and CEO Cortney M. Nicolato,

“As 2017 comes to an end and the holiday season is upon us, we take time to reflect upon our many blessings and the true meaning of the holidays.  Family, friends and togetherness are in the forefront of our minds.  For many seniors in our community, being together with those they love most is easier said than done.

Katy and husband*For example, Katy and her husband, have been married for 54 years. Now, they’re facing the challenges of their older years—together.  Shortly before she was diagnosed with dementia, Katy recognized her memory was slipping. Concerned, she asked her husband, ‘What will I do? How will I remember?’ ‘Don’t worry,’ he assured her. ‘I will be right there with you, and I will remember for the both of us.’ 

“Every 66 seconds, someone in the United States develops Alzheimer’s. The older adult and their caregiver enter into a journey they never expected. Once diagnosed, older adults will need support and their caregivers will need help in taking care of themselves. Luckily, in Dallas, those older adults have The Senior Source to turn to.

The Senior Source*

“The Senior Source matched Katy with a trained and vetted volunteer who offers companionship and assists with daily living activities. The presence of Katy’s volunteer in their lives means her husband is less likely to neglect his own needs while caring for her, and it means they can stay in their home together. This was what they wanted, just as it is the hope of so many older adults.

“Our wish is that all seniors will have the tools they need to live the lives they deserve.  This is one of the many ways we plan to fill the homes of older adults with hope this holiday season and throughout the year. If you are able, please consider a donation to The Senior Source to ensure we can continue to assist, protect, and connect Dallas area older adults today and into the future.

“Visit www.TheSeniorSource.org to learn more and to check out ways you can make a difference.”

-By Cortney M. Nicolato, The Senior Source president and CEO

* Photo provided by The Senior Source

A Passing: Nancy Ann Smith Wynne Chandler

The Idlewild Club went dark during World War II. But in 1946, it came alive again with a dozen young debutantes. One of them was Nancy Ann Smith. Five years after “bowing” to Dallas society, she attended a charity ball at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City. Returning to Dallas, she realized that Dallas needed a similar fundraiser for Dallas children. In her suitcase was a sketch of a little girl that would become the symbol for her brainchild.

Nancy Ann Smith Wynne Chandler*

Pretty soon she gathered together a posse of gal/pals like Claire Ownby Benners, Mildred Nettle Bickel, Betty Butler, Katherine Callaway, Sally Carney, Phyllis Carter, Sally Otis Cassidy, Jo Cherry, Jo Ann Holland, Margaret Kervin, Ann O’Donnell, Neil Orand, Margaret Otis, Alma Ramsden, Marilyn Ray, Sharon Simons, Ann Thompson and Dale Wigley to be the founding members of her project — Crystal Charity Ball.

Within a year, Nancy and her ladies had become a force to be reckoned with. She got Sharon Simons’ husband, Pollard Simons, to provide office space at his Fine Arts Gallery on Cedar Springs; created an advisory board including Joe Lambert, Nancy Hamon and Margaret Hunt Hill; got a permit from the Better Business Bureau; and put together an ultra-formal ball at the Baker Hotel’s Crystal Ballroom on Saturday, December 6, 1952, for 350 with tickets going for a hefty $25 per person.

Nancy had put together a recipe of panache, glitz and glamour that put the event on the map nationally. Unlike the hoop-la of “Giant’s” portrayal of Texas big events, this one was sleek, elegant, intimate and fun. With celebrity pianist Hoagy Carmichael entertaining and Stanley Marcus and actors Greer Garson and Dan Dailey drawing names for the three door prizes, one of the highlights was the midnight drop of ceiling balloons containing prize-winning numbers and a late-night supper. Another was Dailey’s performing.

Still Nancy’s dad, Howell Smith, wasn’t certain that his little girl’s project would work. The country was still recovering from the war and, after all, start-up ventures were always risky. Why he even offered to cover expenses if a profit wasn’t made.

He needn’t have worried. That very first CCB sold out and provided a whopping $17,730 for The Dallas Polio Chapter. Remember this was back in 1952, when cars were selling for $1,700 and gas went for 20 cents.

From the start, it was a hands-on effort. The CCB office was closed, so the committee could create the decorations and entertainment rehearsals. According to the late Dale Wigley, “In those days we had to work hard for the money… I mean really scrounging! Making $15,000 was a big deal, engaging our efforts all year long. But we certainly did put the ball on the map, didn’t we?”

The next year more than 750 attended with guests arriving from New York, California and Europe for the ball that Nancy would chair once again. This time it resulted in an even larger check for the Children’s Development Center, a training school for children with emotional and mental challenges.

Over the years, CCB grew in size of membership (100) and guests (1,500), activities (10 Best Dressed Fashion Show), beneficiaries, corporate involvement, prestige and reputation. It was no longer a debutante’s dream. It was the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval in fundraising circles, as well as a generous benefactor.  

As for Nancy, the 1950s were also a turning point for her personally. The beautiful blonde married Dr. Buck J. Wynne and had two children, Howell Wynne and Nancy Wynne Saustad. Following his death in 1979, she was married to World War II hero Alfred Chandler in 1981 until his death in 2013. But all the while she watched her little project provide more than $131,244,558 for thousands and thousands of children.

It was announced that Nancy died Friday, December 15, having celebrated her 93rd birthday on December 3. But in the decades to come, her legacy will live on through her “brainchild” helping Dallas children.

Services are pending at this time with Sparkman Hillcrest Funeral Home.

* Photo provided by Crystal Charity Ball

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

MySweetWishList: Christmas In The Park

According to Christmas In The Park Volunteer Nita Clark,

“My wish is to help the SM Wright Foundation achieve its goal of securing 15,000 toys, one for each child attending this year’s Christmas in the Park event on Saturday, December 16! We are closing in, but we can always use your donations:  http://www.smwrightfoundation.org/content/donate-today/ .

Nita and Clark Cullum*

“Christmas in the Park is an annual event serving tens of thousands of residents of Fair Park and South Dallas – an area of Dallas with very high unemployment and scarce infrastructure and support. Christmas in the Park has grown beyond giving a toy or a bike to each child, but now provides winter coats, mattresses for kids who have no bed, plus books, a job fair, a college fair, hot meals, groceries, clothing, bus passes, gift cards for Walmart and help with utilities payments. 

“The Rev. SM Wright II pulls this off every year through the help from volunteers, members of the South Dallas community and corporations and donors from the greater Dallas community. Please help by supporting the toy drive.  You can also help by volunteering at the event!  Just email [email protected] to register. Like any great Christmas party, it’s sometimes chaotic, but always fun!

“The Christmas in the Park event is the best opportunity of the year for the SM Wright Foundation to reach families in the Fair Park area for the first time. Once the Foundation makes contact with a family, it can bring the adults into the computer skills training program, and kids into the South Dallas Top of the Class Community Tutoring Center. The Foundation helps people throughout the year with various immediate needs- from food at the Operation Hope Food Center, to clothes to help with rising electric bills. Again this year, there is a college expo with a dozen representatives from area colleges present, a job fair, hot meal, gift cards and bus passes. Please join us in participating in this joyous and meaningful holiday event! Christmas in the Park happens on Saturday, December 16, at the Automobile Building in Fair Park.”

-Nita Clark, Christmas In The Park volunteer

* Photo credit: Dana Driensky

MySweetWishList: Dallas CASA

According to Dallas CASA Volunteer Manager Sandra Teter,

Sandra Teter*

“My wish for Dallas CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) this holiday season is that more community members will join me and serve as volunteer advocates for abused and neglected children who have been removed from their homes and are in foster care or alternative placements.

“I joined CASA’s cadre of volunteers 20 years ago in 1997. Since then I have worked 24 different cases involving 47 children. I have always been pretty altruistic and when I found CASA I knew I had found my place.

“Though I have always been one to speak up, CASA gives my “voice” the ability to affect real immediate change.  As an advocate you have to ask the tough questions and the best decision is not always the easy one. These kids deserve someone that will really listen to them and go to bat for them to ensure their wellbeing. The healing that often occurs in whole families can make positive change for future generations.

“People tend to be afraid of volunteering at places like CASA because they worry about seeing things they do not want to see. The truth is these situations happen whether we see them or not. The toughest job out there is a Child Protective Services caseworker. They see the situations the children are removed from in real time. CASA is assigned after the children are in protective care and safe and it is time to pick up the pieces.

“CASA has taught me to be more compassionate and look at every side to a story. Every time I read a new case, I get angry. I have learned there are truly so many sides to every story. Many of the children’s parents have been victims themselves and are repeating learned behavior. Though we wish there was not a need for the process, the court’s intervention provides access to services such as counseling, drug and alcohol treatment and mental healthcare. I have gained perspective and balance as a CASA volunteer and feel I gain as much, if not more, than I give.

Dallas CASA*

“I hope you will join me on this walk as a Dallas CASA volunteer. As of Tuesday, November 7, 1,264 volunteer advocates have served 2,928 abused and neglected children in Dallas in 2017. The numbers are heartbreaking but the results are amazing.

“There are more children who need advocates. Dallas CASA is currently able to provide advocates for three out of four children in need. As proud as we are all of that, it is the child without an advocate I can not stop thinking about. These children deserve our care and attention, not just during the holidays but year round.

“The first step is to go to an information session at Dallas CASA.

“New volunteer information sessions are offered weekly, go to DallasCASA.org to register.”

-By Sandra Teter, Dallas CASA volunteer manager

* Graphic and photo provided by Dallas CASA

MySweetWishList: SPCA OF Texas

According to SPCA Of Texas Volunteer Janice Anderson,

Janice Anderson*

“My wish is that all animal lovers include the SPCA of Texas in their will and estate plans. Leave a legacy and give to one of the best non-profits in our community.”

“When my husband Bill and I moved to McKinney from Tennessee 17 years ago, it wasn’t long before we discovered the SPCA of Texas McKinney facility just around the corner from our home on Stacy Road.

“We loved to stop by and see the pups and we quickly learned about all the great work the SPCA of Texas does throughout North Texas.

 “We have been donors since 2005 and have adopted six dogs from the McKinney shelter over the years. About a year ago we decided to make a future commitment by including the SPCA of Texas in our estate plans.

SPCA of Texas*

“We wanted this to be our legacy to help the SPCA of Texas continue their important work, and (as Legacy Society members) knowing that our pups will be taken care of if something happens to us, is very comforting.

“It was also my dream to become an SPCA of Texas volunteer after retiring. I began my labor of love as a McKinney volunteer last fall.

“For Bill and me, the SPCA of Texas is where our love is.

“The SPCA of Texas is the leading animal welfare organization in North Texas. Founded in 1938, the non-profit operates two shelters, three spay/neuter clinics and an animal rescue center, all located in Dallas and Collin Counties, and maintains a team of animal cruelty investigators who respond to thousands of calls in seven North Texas counties. The SPCA of Texas is not affiliated with any other entity and does not receive general operating funds from the City of Dallas, State of Texas, federal government or any other national humane organization. The SPCA of Texas is dedicated to providing every animal exceptional care and a loving home. 

“To learn more about how you can leave a legacy to the SPCA of Texas, please contact Eunice Nicholson at [email protected] or 214.461.5166.”

-By Janice Anderson, SPCA of Texas volunteer

* Photo and graphic provided by SPCA of Texas

Dallas Historical Society’s Awards For Excellence In Community Services Recipients Displayed Insight And Graciousness In Accepting Their Honors

While the Dallas Historical Society‘s 2017 Awards for Excellence in Community Services crowds gathered outside the Fairmont’s International Ballroom, the VIPs and 2017 Awardees attended a private reception in the Venetian Room on Thursday, November 9. For some it was a great opportunity for people whose paths had never crossed to meet up.

Lindalyn Adams, Mary McDermott Cook and David Brown

Diane Bumpas and Bill Helmbrecht

Caro Stalcup

Joan Walne, Mary Suhm and Laurie Evans

For instance, historical preservationist Lindalyn Adams was almost giddy meeting former Police Chief David Brown. Speaking of David, he reported that due to his ABC contract, he was splitting his time between Dallas and New York City… Across the way, Laurie Evans was doing the swivel head looking for her husband Dr. Phil Evans to arrive. She knew he would be there, but when? … Already on the scene were past Award recipients Marnie and Kern Wildenthal, who were there to celebrate Kern’s brother Hobson Wildenthal’s being recognized for his work in education…. Patricia Meadows reported that the family home in the State Thomas neighborhood was on the market… and others like Joan and Alan Walne, Mary McDermott Cook, Louise Caldwell, Diane Bumpas, Caro Stalcup, Mary Suhm, Creative Arts Awardee Carolyn Brown, Arts Leadership Awardees Ann and Gabriel Barbier-Mueller and Sports Leadership Awardee Tony Dorsett with his wife Janet Dorsett.

Louise Caldwell

Marnie and Kern Wildenthal and Mary McDermott Cook

Janet and Tony Dorsett

Phil Evans

 

Just moments before the chimes called the group to the luncheon, Laurie was relieved to see her husband arrive with a big smile. Seems he had gotten an early Christmas gift — a million-dollar grant —from an “anonymous” donor. That’s a pretty darn good excuse for a delayed arrival.

The ballroom was filled to the max, as people like Jill Bernstein, Sandi Chapman, Kimber Hartmann, Gail Thomas and Lee Cullum took their seats. At 11:50 a.m., Master of Ceremonies Stewart Thomas called the group to order. Following an invocation by St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church Rev. Chris Girata, Stewart introduced Luncheon Co-Chairs Carol Montgomery and Kaysie Montgomery, who welcomed the group. They were followed by Dallas Historical Society Chair Bill Helmbrecht, who officially thanked all for attending and supporting the society.

Kaysie Montgomery and Carol Montgomery

All of this was done within six minutes! Promptly at high noon, Stewart reported that the program would continue in a few minutes and guests should settle back for lunch. Missing in action was table host Bobby Lyle, who was under the weather, but his table was filled with Adam McGill, Stan Levenson and Robert Prejean… Arriving just after luncheon was underway was Shirley Miller.

Adam McGill, Stan Levenson and Robert Prejean

At 12:25 p.m. Stewart was back at the podium and invited the award recipients to take their places in chairs on the stage.

Some of the highlights from the acceptance speeches were:

Carolyn Brown and Hobson Wildenthal

  • Hobson Wildenthal for Education — The University of Texas at Dallas Executive VP recalled how 50 years ago TI was created and the UTD resulted. 157 National Merit Scholars were in this year’s freshman class and it was designated as the Best U.S. College less than 50 years old. He finished saying, “Margaret McDermott is the queen of Dallas.”
  • Steve Pounders for Health/Science — The internist told how in 1981 he was just starting his care and discovered a disease that was affecting young men that would late become known as AIDs. It would become his life’s calling resulting in his serving as the primary physician for men in the Dallas Buyers Club. He thanked Veletta Lill, Resource Center’s Cece Cox and his spouse James O’Reilly.
  • Willis Winters for History — The Dallas Park and Recreation Department Director gave thanks for the recent passage of the bond: “One of the first projects will be the restoration of the Hall of State.”
  • Jorge Baldor for Philanthropy — The Cuban-born businessman acknowledged that 800,000 have been the recipients of DACA and encouraged audience members to support the Dream Act. He went on to thank the event and kitchen staffs and finished by reporting that several hundred students are living under bridges and still going to school.

Then the most poignant moment came unexpectedly. It was when former Dallas Cowboy Tony Dorsett accepted his award for sports. He admitted that he was a little taken aback by the people, and went on to recognize the late Cowboys Coach Tom Landry, who made Tony understand that things were going to be tougher in the NFL. Landry held Tony back and it taught the young football player patience.  Tony went on, saying, “I was always told that I was too small, time and time again.” Through effort and determination, he was able to play in the NFL for 13 years.  

Looking at the other recipients seated on stage, he went on to saying “These are fantastic and incredible people up here.”

He thanked his wife Janet saying, “What I’m going through is tough, and she puts up with me. It can be really difficult and she understands that that’s not the real me. This is tough.”

Having gone beyond his two-minute limit, Janet was seen quietly approaching the side of the stage. Tony heard her say, “Tony,” and he took note and sat down.

Moments later David Brown took his place at the podium to accept the Jubilee History Maker Award. He could have easily sucked the air out of the room for his leadership for the July 7 tragedy. Instead, David rallied the audience to give Tony another round of appreciation. The applause was deafening for both Tony and David’s act of graciousness.

David went to tell how his father hadn’t wanted him to be “a cop.” But on the day when he was made a lieutenant at the Hall of State, he had what would be the last conversation with his father, who said “You were right in your choice.”

Then David went further back in his history, telling how in fourth grade, he had played Captain George Ludwig von Trapp in the “Sound of Music.” The students had to do more than learn their roles. They had to research the backstory of the musical. Today he had become nostalgic when seeing the white flowers on the tables and hearing the musician play “Edelweiss” — the last song Richard Rodgers wrote with Oscar Hammerstein.

Tying it all together, he said, “Remember who we are, what we stand for, how we should treat each other.” Then he voiced disappointment at the lack of participation in the recent election.

At 1:14 p.m., Bill Helmbrecht returned to the stage and invited all to take part in the annual A.C. Greene Toast.

For more pictures of the day, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

As “A Writer’s Garden” Symposium And Luncheon Nears, Patrons Gather At Diane And Scott Sealy’s For Sipping And Sampling

Just days before “A Writer’s Garden” at the Dallas Arboretum, Diane and Scott Sealy hosted at cocktail reception on Monday, October 30, at their home complete with the pre-event book sales, food and foodies from Edible Dallas and Fort Worth. Here’s a report from the field:

Scott and Diane Sealy*

The Women’s Council of the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden held a reception for the patrons of the 11th annual A Writer’s Garden” Literary Symposium and Luncheon on Monday, October 30, in the home of Diane and Scott Sealy.

The symposium “Authentic Texas…food and gardensto be held on November 2 features three authors presenting engaging histories showcasing the cultural influences that shaped the distinct styles of Texas food, heartfelt stories about the farming and ranching families that are in the forefront of the organic food movement, and personal experiences that celebrate the value of using native plants and flowers in the planned landscape.

For the reception, guests were treated not only to a preview of the books that will be available for sale at the event, but also sampled appetizers made with recipes from Texas author Jessica Dupuy’s new cookbook “United Tastes of Texas: Authentic Recipes from All Corners of the Lone Star State.”

Elizabeth Rois-Mendez*

Marsha Dowler*

Susan Adzick and Kay Weeks*

Chef Elizabeth Rois-Mendez of Classic Gourmet Catering prepared delicious recipes including Pimento Cheese Canapes, The Original Nacho, Texas Gulf Fish Tacos with side of Chipotle Mayo, Tequila Lime Pie, and Texas Pecan Pie. It was a smart marketing ploy by Co-Chairs Kay Weeks and Susan Adzick to kick start the book sales. Marsha Dowler, who manages the sales each year, allowed guests to pre-order the books that evening to ensure they get a copy. In past years, attendees at the symposium have left empty handed when the books sold out quickly. It looks to be another year where attendees may have to order online from Amazon.

Nanci Taylor, Dorothea Meltzer and Terri Taylor*

None of the featured authors could be present, so special guests for the evening were Nanci Taylor and Terri Taylor from the local magazine Edible Dallas and Fort Worth. For eight years, they have shared stories of the North Texas food community including growers, food and drink artisans, merchants, restaurateurs and chefs. The quarterly publication features recipes from each season.

Women’s Council President Melissa Lewis introduced Honorary Chair Nancy Bierman, founder of “A Writer’s Garden” and past president of the Women’s Council. She also thanked Dorothea Meltzer for securing another stellar line up of authors for the program, ensuring the success of the event. Dorothea has worked tirelessly to plan the speakers for the past several years.

Cynthia Beaird, Jill Goldberg and Venise Stuart*

Guests included Mad Hatter’s Chair Venise Stuart, Sarah and Mark Hardin, Barbara and Bob Bigham, Jo Anne and Mike McCullough, Jill Goldberg, Cynthia Beaird, Linda Spina, Lisa and Kendall Laughlin and Patricia Cowlishaw.

Sponsors for the event include Dallas law firm Geary, Porter and Donovan (third year of sponsorship), Hilton Dallas/Park Cities, Worth New York and Edible Dallas and Fort Worth.

The symposium will be held Thursday, November 2, 2017, 9:30 am to 2:00 pm, at the Arboretum’s Rosine Hall and is part of the Women’s Council’s 35th Anniversary Celebration.

As part of the Women’s Council’s 35th anniversary celebration, the featured authors for the Thursday, November 2nd symposium at the Arboretum’s Rosine Hall include:

  • Jessica Dupuy of Austin — well-known columnist for Texas Monthly and author of “United Tastes of Texas: Authentic Recipes from All Corners of the Lone Star State”;
  • Pamela Walker of Santa Fe — local farm and food activist, and author of “Growing Good Things to Eat in Texas: Profiles of Organic Farmers and Ranchers across the State”;
  • Andrea De-Long-Amaya of Austin— Director of Horticulture, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, garden columnist and teacher.

For the past thirty-five years, the major goal of the Women’s Council has been the development, funding, maintenance and endowment of A Woman’s Garden, the centerpiece garden of the Dallas Arboretum. Dedicated to the universal spirit of women, it is the only public garden in the nation conceived by women, built by women and funded by the efforts of women. The support of over 550 members of the non-profit, all volunteer Women’s Council makes possible the continued improvement and expansion of A Woman’s Garden.

* Photo provided by Women's Council of the Dallas Arboretum