Retired Attorney Suzan Fenner And Northwood Woman’s Club To Receive Our Friends Place’s 13th Annual Ebby Award At April Gala

Ebby Halliday Acers (File photo)

The late Ebby Halliday Acers would have been 106 years old this month. Despite the loss of the first lady of residential real estate a year-and-a-half ago, her memory and inspiration continue. Timed in sync with Ebby’s natal day is the announcement of the Annual Ebby Award that is presented by Our Friends Place for those contributing to the advancement of girls and/or women.

Our Friends Place Executive Director Sue Thiers Hesseltine revealed the 13th Annual Ebby Awardees will be retired partner of Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP Suzan E. Fenner and the Northwood Woman’s Club.

According to Sue, “Both award winners are truly passionate about serving our community and engage with a number of nonprofits, providing leadership and resources that contribute to the advancement of girls and women in North Texas. Suzan and the Northwood Woman’s Club have made Dallas a better place.”

Past recipients include Ebby, Sarah Losinger, Barbara S. Cambridge, the National Council of Jewish Women of Greater Dallas and Leigh Richter.

The presentation of the award to Suzan and the Northwood Woman’s Club will be made at the 14th Annual Our Friends Place Gala Auction And Casino Night on Saturday, April 29 at the Omni Dallas Hotel. Joining Event Co-Chairs Tonnette Easter, Barbara Milo and Leslie Simmons will be Honorary Co-Chairs LuAnn and George Damiris and Debbie and Jack Gibson.

The full release of the announcement follows the jump.

[Read more…]

North Texas Leaders Lost In 2015 Will Live On Through Their Accomplishments And Acts Of Kindness

As the hours of 2015 wind down, it’s only right to recall just a few of the North Texans who passed away this past year. Some were native-born and others “got here as soon as they could.” While their lives came to an end, their countless kindnesses, accomplishments, philanthropy and contributions to the community and world will live on as inspirations for others to continue on.

Whether it was their memorable smiles, their contagious personalities, their wisdom or just their special aura, there was just something about them that blessed their families, friends and even strangers.

Some of those whom we have lost include:

Ebby Halliday (File photo)

Ebby Halliday (File photo)

Jac Alder and Ken Villalovos (File photo)

Jac Alder and Ken Villalovos (File photo)

Ronnie Berg (File photo)

Ronnie Berg (File photo)

Louise Cowan (File photo)

Louise Cowan (File photo)

  • Ebby Halliday Acers
  • Jac Alder
  • Ronnie Berg
  • Louise Cowan
Alfred Gilman (File photo)

Alfred Gilman (File photo)

Mardi Jones (File photo)

Mardi Jones (File photo)

Tom Spicer (File photo)

Tom Spicer (File photo)

  • Alfred “Al” Gilman
  • Lawrence “Herkie” Herkimer
  • Mardi Jones
  • Richard Rainwater
  • Mary Ann Smith
  • Tom Spicer
Dale Wigley (File photo)

Dale Wigley (File photo)

Joel Williams Jr. and Jeb Bush (File photo)

Joel Williams Jr. and Jeb Bush (File photo)

Margot Winspear (File photo)

Margot Winspear (File photo)

Philip Wuntch (File photo)

Philip Wuntch (File photo)

  • Dale Wigley
  • Joel Williams Jr.
  • Margot Winspear
  • Philip Wuntch

Moving ahead into 2016, let’s celebrate these role models and the many others who are now our guardian angels.

Round Robin September 17 Daytime: North Texas Giving Day And A Tribute To Ebby

If ever there was a Super Bowl of North Texas philanthropy, Thursday, September 17, was that day. Bad enough that it was the humpback whale fundraisers — North Texas Giving Day — but that didn’t stop other activities from taking place, like a very special tribute to legendary Ebby Halliday Acers. Here are just a couple of the activities that took place during the daylight hours.

North Texas Giving Day

The day started fresh out of the gate at 6 a.m. with Communities Foundation of Texas’ North Texas Giving Day online on little screens and on-air appearances at WFAA’s “Daybreak.”

The goal was to rise above last year’s total of $26.3Mm.

Throughout the day the events popped up throughout North Texas with dollars surging on the leaderboard. Organizations were competing for prizes. On Cistercian alum proudly revealed the school’s strategy. They aimed a whole lot of their fundraising efforts for that one day. It worked as they continued to be among the very top on the board ending up with a whopping $486,575 and the #1 spot among schools.

Ballet Folklorico dancer

Ballet Folklorico dancer

Around noon the Dallas activities centered at a center — NorthPark Center’s North Court complete with Nancy Nasher and David Haemisegger on hand looking pleased as punch. With organizations like the Dallas Zoo, The Birthday Party Project, SPCA and others filling the area, Communities Foundation of Texas CEO Brent Christopher took the mic to introduce the Ballet Folklorico after the raffle drawing for a nifty check of $1,953 that went to Friends of the Bath House Cultural Center.

Brent admitted that NTGD had grown to gargantuan proportions and was concerned about its maintaining its original can-do spirit, while still growing to help all the North Texas nonprofits from the itty bitty to the big boys.

While emails flooded potential donors’ emailboxes throughout the day, others staked out spots to champion their causes. Over at Highland Park Village Starbucks, Just Say Yes Dan Bailey and Marissa Leach were manning the corner table to promote participation in NTGD and Just Say Yes.

Like cheerleaders, they were frontline cheerleaders encouraging folks about the importance of the day’s effort.

Dan revealed that four Dallas schools had been so impressed with Just Say Yes, they had managed to help fund the program.

By midnight when the final donation was made, NTGD did indeed beat last year’s goal by hitting $33,092,687.13. However, the accountants are burning up their calculators to figure out the absolute, final total that will be revealed on Monday, November 16.

Plans are already underway for next year.

Ebby’s Farewell

Hardly lunch had been gobbled up than cars headed to Park Cities Baptist Church for the 3 p.m. memorial service for Ebby Halliday Acers, who had died on Tuesday, September 8. As guests started arriving more than an hour beforehand, one of the ushers warned — “The sanctuary is already filling up.”

Ebby Halliday Acers memorial service*

Ebby Halliday Acers memorial service*

The service was so very Ebby. Speakers (Dr. Jim Denison, Laura Bush, Don Glendenning, Ebby’s niece Joan Patmore and Ebby Realtor CFO Ron Burgert) told stories that produced smiles, tears and unforgettable memories. Some guests wore touches of Ebby red, while a gaggle of gals wore black, topped with hats and yellow roses.

Upon looking at the mammoth drop-down screen displaying Ebby photos from the past, one young thing said, “She looks like Ann Landers.”

Brent Christopher had broken away from his North Texas Giving Day non-stop activities to attend the service. Seated along an exterior aisle, he was amazed when Ebby Halliday President/CEO Mary Frances Burleson pitched guests to donate to one or all of Ebby’s fav charities before the NTGD deadline.

Even Park Cities Baptist Church Senior Pastor Dr. Jeff Warren was amazed that the celebration had resulted in two standing ovations without the honoree even being present. But he soon found he erred on two points. The crowd of nearly 3,000 stood in a final celebration of Ebby as a video of the 104-year-old playing “Happy Days Are Here” again on her ukulele.

The other point? As one Ebby executive confessed, “I just know Ebby was here.”

* Graphic provided by Ebby Halliday Realtors

Ebby’s Influence Extended Today At Her Memorial Service To Support North Texas Giving Day

Just back from an incredibly beautiful memorial service for Ebby Halliday. Among the thousands in attendance at Park Cities Baptist Church was Communities Foundation of Texas’ Main Man Brent Christopher.

Despite having the daunting task of being leading the charge to set a record-breaking North Texas Giving Day today, he had taken his place to honor the Duchess of Dallas, along with a former First Lady, Dallas mayors past and present and people of all walks of life.

One of the first to speak was The Ebby Halliday Companies CEO/President Mary Frances Burleson, who said that in addition to the day being a tribute to Ebby, it was also North Texas Giving Day and she knew that Ebby would truly appreciate if friends would donate to one of Ebby’s favorite nonprofits — Happy Hill Farm and Academy, Ebby’s at the YW and The Ebby House Juliette Fowler Communities — before the midnight deadline.

Brent sat amazed that even in death Mary Frances had taken the time to make such a gracious suggestion. But then Mary Frances was just doing what Ebby would have wanted. So, the Ebby legacy continues.

A Loving Tribute To Ebby Halliday Acers For Teaching Gratitude

Don Glendenning (File photo)

Don Glendenning (File photo)

At 3 p.m. on Thursday, a multitude of people will convene at Park Cities Baptist Church to celebrate Ebby Halliday Acers 104 years of life. Many will pay homage to the great lady who influenced and befriended so many, both professionally and personally. MySweetCharity asked one of Dallas’ premier wordsmiths, Don Glendenning, to describe his memories of Ebby. From his submission below, it is obvious that the loss of his dear friend inspired an extremely touching and “grateful” tribute. For your consideration —

Gratitude brought me to Ebby Halliday Acers.

It was 1999 at the Thanks-Giving Square Foundation that she was leading as the first woman president, yet another in an innumerable line of “firsts” for a woman who never saw barriers, only opportunities. Introduced by a mutual great friend, Steve Durham, for my assistance with a challenging issue of the moment for the charity, it was “admiration and adoration at first sight” for me, although gracious and forgiving as she surely was with everyone, most certainly including me, within minutes of our acquaintanceship she was firmly holding me in her gaze, quietly controlling the room, and asserting:  “You’re repeating yourself.” And I was — chewing on the uncomfortable gristle of an awkward matter that she, inexorably, already had deduced to its practical, inevitable conclusion.

And so began, however improbably, one of the central friendships of my life.

Ebby Halliday Acers (File photo)

Ebby Halliday Acers (File photo)

“Ebby.” Two distinctive syllables of a charmingly anachronistic name . . . a life of 104 years is apt to produce at least a few anachronisms . . . a single name that has communicated for decades to a vast metropolitan area a singular identity. And more than an identity:  an ideal . . . the concept that a person of good will, integrity, insight and industry can achieve greatness no matter how modest his or her beginnings, and in the personification of “Ebby,” to do so through a living embodiment of the Golden Rule, always putting the wellbeing of others first, and coming to do well only after, and as a by-product of, doing good.

In her professional life, she was “Ebby Halliday” — and when she used her professional last name, with a jubilant but understated intonation, it always made me think of the combination of “holiday” and “hallelujah.” Just hearing the name has always made me smile. But in her personal and philanthropic life, she was “Ebby Halliday Acers,” her married name, invoking the unquestioned love of her life and partner in all great endeavors, Maurice Acers. This was the nuance of her identity that I relished above all others. While Maurice predeceased his bride by many years, theirs was a partnership that she lived throughout her life, and to hear her speak of Maurice was to experience the embodiment of an exceptional love, true soul mates that completed and enhanced one another, and that Ebby kept alive in spirit and in fact for the more than two decades by which she survived him.

And then, there was her ukulele, her inimitable wit, her singularly confident if not entirely pitch-perfect singing voice, and her consummate showmanship. A number of years ago, Ebby did me the enormous honor of serving as an honorary chair for a fundraiser of which I was the object, and then capped it off by pulling out her ukulele and intoning her trademark “we honor an honorable Texan . . .” which always ended, many hearty ballroom-gasping laughs later, with “and remember the Alamo.” I could never repay the favor, but I tried, relying upon the notions of self-abasement and humiliation as fall-back coinage when the gold of actual talent is not available. In introducing Ebby as the featured speaker for a United Way Tocqueville luncheon a few years later (and remember that Ebby, together with Ruth Sharp Altshuler and Caroline Rose Hunt, were, together, the embodiment of Tocqueville), with the requisite support of the (gratefully, genuinely talented) “Levee Singers” beloved by Ebby and so many other Dallasites (and who loved Ebby enough to risk their reputations playing as my back-up band and singers), I sang my own version of that much-overlooked-in-my-view Broadway tune from decades ago “Big D,” converted to “Big E” — with the refrain: “Big E, my oh yes; Big E, little b, little b, y; Big E, little b, little b, y; Big E, little b, little b, y — YES!”  Okay, you had to be there . . . many of you were . . . and, well, maybe even being there wasn’t nearly enough. But I think Ebby genuinely relished my pitiable effort to repay her, in some small, talentless measure, in kind. Or maybe she was just fascinated, as so many professed to be, that I could turn that exceedingly bright red and still not require hospitalization.

“The Ebby Show” had genuinely universal appeal. And I had the privilege of witnessing an extraordinary example of just how universal that appeal truly was. In 2005, Ebby was one of the recipients of the Horatio Alger Award, presented annually in a massive Washington, D.C. ballroom with fabulous fanfare. She was in the company of billionaires, Fortune 500 CEO’s and at least one astronaut. And to the masses of those in attendance, Ebby was the relative “unknown.” My wife Carol [Glendenning] and I were seated at a table of guests assembled from across the country, there to honor their friends whom they clearly considered “national household names.” No one had heard of Ebby, and had little interest in our telling them about her. We felt like minor pariahs, that is, until Ebby took the stage, and then even we turned into minor rock stars in our corner of the ballroom, just for being her acquaintances. Our mutual friend Steve Durham again was center-stage as Ebby’s introducer. And then Ebby, whose presence alone had captured the spirit of the vast room, set her notes aside and just “talked.” She had everyone’s total, complete, and rapt attention. She spoke wildly in excess of her “allotted” time, but not one person in the room longed for anything but for her to just keep talking, to keep sharing her magnificent life perspectives, her laughter, her joy, her gratitude. I’m a Dallasite, so I have witnessed and participated in countless sincere (okay, and quite a few perfunctory) standing ovations. But I have experienced one and only one “Leaping Ovation,” — and that is precisely what Ebby received when she closed her glowing remarks. I felt genuinely sorry for the poor astronaut who had to receive his award after Ebby left the stage . . . I’m almost certain that even he was wishing that Ebby was still holding forth, as she was all anyone could think of, as she had so consummately filled, elevated and elated every heart in the room.

Yes, gratitude brought me to Ebby, and gratitude will continue to be the bond that will forever bind me to her, as I join countless others in celebration of, and appreciation for, a life that has so immeasurably enriched the lives of so many, and our community as a whole.

Ebby Halliday’s Celebration Of Life Service Will Take Place Thursday

In addition to Thursday, September 17, being North Texas Giving Day, it will also be the day on which Ebby Halliday Acer‘s 104 years of life will be celebrated at Park Cities Baptist. The service will begin at 3:00 p.m.

If you can’t make the service, then consider donating to one of the nonprofits that Ebby requested — Ebby’s Place at the YW, The Ebby House at Juliette Fowler Communities, Happy Hill Farm and Academy, or the charity of your choice.

Lucy (File photo)

Lucy (File photo)*

A side story: In her final years, Ebby had a “catty” roommate named Lucy. Actually, Lucy was a feline that moved into Ebby’s home with Hilaria Harris, who became the centenarian’s devoted caretaker about three years ago.

As a result, “Lucy was a benevolent dictator and brought much delight to Ebby’s days.”

According to Ebby’s Cody Baker, Lucy was the “most spoiled cat in the world” and she equally spoiled Ebby with love. Lucy like the rest of the world is now trying to adjust to life without Ebby.

* Photo provided by Ebby 
Halliday Realtors

A Passing – Ebby Halliday

Dallas lost a legend Tuesday night — Ebby Halliday. Her life was one that covered not just 104 years of living, but established standards for others to follow both personally and professionally.

Ebby Halliday (File photo)

Ebby Halliday (File photo)

It was easy to lose count of all her accomplishments and accolades, like the Horatio Alger in 2005. There were just too many of them, just as there were countless men, women and children who benefited from her example, her generosity, her wisdom and her smile.

And like the finest of vintage wines, she only became finer and finer with age. But there were those who didn’t know if that would happen. With the death of her beloved husband Maurice Acers in 1993, some worried that the twinkle in Ebby’s eye would dim and her zest for life would wane. But no! Far from it. Ebby being Ebby, she carried on inspired by Maurice’s memory, creating a legacy that will continue for generations to come.

There will be articles written about her childhood in Kansas, her moving to Dallas, her selling hats and her eventually moving into something called residential real estate. But the real gems will be the stories that people who encountered Ebby will relate. Like the time that Ebby attended a reception for a newlywed couple. She called over the strolling guitarist and asked him to play “Hawaiian Love Song.” As he played and the guests stood spellbound, her eyes glistened with tears. That had been the song that she and Maurice had shared.

Perhaps it is best if instead of thinking of Dallas’ loss, one thinks of Ebby now smiling as she plays “Happy Days Are Here Again” on her ukulele to the delight of Maurice. With all those harps up above, heaven could use a great ukulele and another angel with a twinkle in her eye.

The Ebby House At Juliette Fowler Communities Is Dedicated With Ebby Halliday Cutting The Ribbon

While the attention may have been on Dwell With Dignity’s month-long Thrift Studio back in April and May, the DWD team was busily working with Dallas Junior Forum, Comerica Bank and contractor David Oliver and Olicon to finish up a major project — The Ebby House at Dallas’ Juliette Fowler Communities in Lakewood.

The Ebby House dining room*

The Ebby House dining room*

No, it wasn’t a retirement home for residential Realtors. Don’t you know, Realtors never retire!

The Ebby House is “a new innovative transitional community for young women who have aged out of foster care. . . . The Ebby House program seeks to reverse negative trends and outcomes faced by these young women by offering them a home to live in and mentors to love them while learning to become self-reliant, entrepreneurial volunteers and mentors themselves, which is reflective of the values and life of Ebby Halliday Acers.”

According to Juliette Fowler Communities President/ CEO Sabrina R. Porter, “The Ebby House is a solution-based program that can serve up to 16 women at a time for a period of 12 to 24 months.”

Sabrina R. Porter and Ebby Halliday Acers*

Sabrina R. Porter and Ebby Halliday Acers*

And who better to cut the Wednesday, May 21st ribbon for the dedication of The Ebby House than Ebby, who turned 103 in March?

Bravo to all these organizations for coming together for young women, whose lives will be changed. That’s the beauty of the word collaboration.

Brava to Ebby for continuing to be a role model and Dallas treasure.

Others responsible for this remarkable home can be found after the jump.

* Photos provided by Ebby Halliday Realtors [Read more…]

Make-Believe-Benefactor: Ebby Halliday Acers

Ebby Halliday Acers and Santa

“I’ve always believed that the best way to create lasting change is to give people the tools they need to help themselves, and there’s no better place for opportunity than Dallas, Texas. When I stepped off the train in Downtown Dallas in 1938, I thought I’d died and gone to heaven, and I quickly learned that the entrepreneurial, can-do spirit of our city is like no other in the world. 

“My first thought for the $1 million gift was to divide it up amongst several great causes, but then I realized that was against Jeanne’s rules. Because she also asks for the gift to focus specifically on the betterment of Dallas, I would choose to give my $1 million gift to United Way of Metropolitan Dallas. I think this would be the best use of the dollars because United Way supports 125 exceptional programs right here in our community that prepare children to graduate and succeed, help families leave poverty permanently, and enable people to live healthy, responsible lives. I also love that United Way magnifies the impact of every donation by coordinating efforts by people and organizations across this community and providing opportunities for anyone to volunteer to help.  We must remember that volunteering is just as impactful, if not more so, than a monetary donation. No matter the size of your bank account, everyone can volunteer and make a difference in someone’s life. My late husband Maurice Acers had a sign on his desk until the day he died that said, “Do Something for Someone Every Day” and he did. That’s something I try to do each day also.  He was the most wonderful man I have ever known and I think if we all followed his example of doing for others, the benefit to our community and our world would be immeasurable.

“I would like to add that while this Benevolent Benefactor series is for an imaginary gift of $1 million, I am so proud to say that in reality, my Associates at The Ebby Halliday Family of Companies have given more than $1.2 million to United Way of Metropolitan Dallas since 1999. One of the founding principles of our company is service to the community, and to honor that each year, every one of our offices coordinates various activities and events to raise money for United Way.  That is truly one of our company traditions that I’m most proud of. “

-Ebby Halliday Acers

Photo credit: Dana Driensky

Ebby Halliday Acers’ Grateful Four

Ebby Halliday Acers (File photo)

Let’s start off the “Grateful Four” series with a true veteran of Thanksgiving Days — first lady of Dallas residential real estate Ebby Halliday Acers. Ebby, who is celebrating her 100th Thanksgiving, says:

  1. I am grateful for my 35 years with Maurice Acers during which time he did so many constructive things for our company, Texas and for the world.
  2. I am grateful for my longevity – 100 years and 9 months on December 9!  My secret – don’t drink, don’t smoke and don’t retire.
  3. I am grateful for my continued good health and a good mind.
  4. I am grateful for my family and also for my work family, which is comprised of almost 1,600 fine Associates in 30 offices that serve more than 12,000 square miles in North Texas.

If you want to fill your mind with more Ebby wisdom on gratitude, check this article out.