The Passing Of The Great And Little Known Of 2017

On the eve of 2018, it would be impossible to move ahead without recalling and honoring those whose life journeys ended in 2017. Their kindness, generosity and personalities have served as an inspiration for their families, friends and strangers in the past and will continue through the years to come. Some were well-known throughout North Texas; others were only known to those within their immediate sphere of influence.

While we regret the loss of these remarkable lives, we are grateful to have had them in North Texas and the legacy they have bequeathed.

Ruth Collins Sharp Altshuler (File photo)

Nancy Ann Smith Wynne Chandler (File photo)

Eli (File photo)

Al Hill Jr. (File photo)

  • Ruth Collins Sharp Altshuler
  • Nancy Ann Smith Wynne Chandler
  • Eli
  • Robert S. Folsom
  • E.G. Hamilton
  • Al Hill Jr.

Shelly Katz (File photo)

Cherri Oakley (File photo)

Jan Pruitt (File photo)

Liener Temerlin (File photo)

  • Shelly Katz
  • Don Malouf
  • Cherri Oakley
  • Jan Pruitt
  • Liener Temerlin

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