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

Vickie Thompson (File photo)

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

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

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

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

Anne Reeder (File photo)

Emilynn Wilson (File photo)

What’s a girl to do?

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

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

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

Mad Hatter’s Tea Judges Scored With Some Pretty Heady Escorts For The Arboretum’s Fundraiser Patron Party At Amy And Kelsey Warren’s Estate

As Pat Green surveyed Mad Hatter’s Tea Honorary Co-Chair Amy and Kelsey Warren’s backyard, he laughed when someone asked him if it was bigger than his spread in Fort Worth on Tuesday, April 25. What brought the country-western singer to Dallas was the Mad Hatter’s Tea patron party. No, he wasn’t going to be entertaining at the tea the following Thursday. But his adorable blonde wife Kori Green was going to be one of the category judges and Pat was playing the role of escort for the evening.

Amy Warren

Pat and Kori Green

Still another escort was Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, who was also playing a secondary role to wife Micki Rawlings, who also was to be a judge.

Mike and Micki Rawlings

Tracy Rathbun and “her husband”

But wait! There was still another judge in the crowd overlooking the palatial grounds. It was restaurateur Tracy Rathbun with “her husband.” Tracy told “her husband” she had been amazed earlier in the day at how itty-bitty Simone Biles was at the “A Chance to Soar” benefiting Jonathan’s Place.

Amanda Hill and Melissa Lewis

Jocelyn White and Joani White

Others in the crowd were the Honorary Co-Chairs Amanda Hill, Women Council of the Dallas Arboretum President Melissa Lewis, evening’s chair Emilynn Wilson and husband Claude Wilson, Anne Stodghill, Phyllis and CJ Comu, Joani White and Jocelyn White, who would be emcee at Saturday’s Equest Gala as well as the Mad Hatter’s Tea.

Awardee Kern Wildenthal Highlights A ‘Perfect’ Callier Cares Luncheon At The Dallas Country Club

Even before the doors opened to the Dallas Country Club ballroom, the Callier Cares Luncheon VIP reception filled the Founders Room on Thursday, April 20. Luncheon Chair Emilynn Wilson was with husband Claude Wilson and Ruth and Ken Altshuler Callier Care Awardee Dr. Kern Wildenthal and all smiles over the sold-out Callier Care Fund fundraiser.

Kern Wildenthall, Emilynn and Claude Wilson

In another part of the room, Beth Layton was sporting a new haircut and talking with Chick Lit Co-Chair Tricia George.

Beth Layton and Tricia George

Barbara and John Stuart

Dee Wyly and Jill Rowlett

Marnie Wildenthal and Cyndi Bassel

Others in the crowd were Callier Center Foundation Chair John Stuart and his wife Barbara Stuart, Callier Center for Communications Disorders Executive Director Dr. Tom Campbell, Dan Branch, Angie Kadesky, Brent Christopher, Heidi Cannella, Lindalyn Adams, Dee Wyly, Jill Rowlett, Dee Collins and Kern’s wife Marnie Wildenthal and longtime assistant Cyndi Bassel.

Callier Cares Luncheon table

When the doors did open to the ballroom, it was pretty obvious that Emilynn had definitely filled the room to capacity. It was surprising that she didn’t try to put a table on the stage.

As guests like Keith Cerny, Caren Prothro,  Dr. Hobson Wildenthal, Lynn McBee, and Dr. Lynn Markle made their way into the room for lunch—Southwest Roasted Chicken Chop Salad and Chocolate Caramel Cake were on the menu—Tom welcomed everyone and kicked off the program. The annual Callier Prize in Communication Disorders Award, it was announced right off the bat, would go to Dr. Sharon G. Kujawa, an associate professor of otology and laryngology at Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Kujawa graciously accepted the award, which came for her groundbreaking work that has instigated a paradigm shift in the way researchers and health workers think about noise-induced and age-related hearing loss and inner ear injury. She gave way to luncheon Chair Emilynn and then to Stuart Bumpas and Dr. Ken Altshuler, who presented the annual Ruth and Ken Altshuler Callier Care Award to Kern.

During his many years as president of UT Southwestern Medical Center, Kern had helped nourish a relationship between UT Southwestern and the Callier Center that resulted in the Callier Child Development Program, the Cochlear Implant Program, and a joint program to evaluate and treat children with autism.

“I couldn’t have been more pleased, knowing that Emilynn Wilson would chair this event, because I knew it would be perfect in all regards,” Kern told the guests. “Callier is an organization I heard about many years ago. It epitomizes the best of what all academic institutions try to do … and it does so in an impeccable manner, and in collaboration with other institutions.

“For four decades I’ve wanted to add Ken and Ruth Altshuler’s name to my name,” Kern concluded with a smile. “And, now I can!”

Then, following an informative video and just before keynote speaker Richard Neely was to deliver his remarks, the podium microphone went dead for some reason. That gave Richard—an emeritus trustee of the Callier foundation and a profoundly deaf person who has cochlear implants—the perfect opening to begin his talk. “When the mic went out, I thought, to the people who could hear: welcome to my world!” Richard joked.

The former CFO for a local real estate investment company and a former SMU football star, Richard recounted his struggles with hearing loss and, ultimately, how he overcame them—with no small thanks to the cochlear implants. After he got his “first one in 2008,” he laughed, he complained to his wife that “she was crinkling the newspaper!” 

According to Emilynn, the 2017 luncheon will provide a whopping $278,450 for the Callier Center for Communication Disorder’s Callier Care Fund at the University of Texas at Dallas. 2018 Luncheon Chair Beth Thoele was already making plans for her effort to help “ensure that resources are available for patients and families” in need of financial assistance for speech, language and hearing disorders..

Callier Cares Luncheon Chair Emilynn Wilson’s Smile At The Patron Party Indicated Her High Expectations For The Fundraiser Would Be Achieved

Emilynn Wilson

On the evening of Thursday, April 13, the weather couldn’t have been more perfect for about 80 guests to be chauffeured via golf carts over the bridge past the tennis court and around the fountain to Lisa and Clay Cooley’s mansion.

Inside, the Callier Cares Luncheon patron party was under way, with Luncheon Chair Emilynn Wilson looking quite happy. It seems that she had set her sights high for the Callier Care Fund, and gave all indications that she was right on target for the April 20th fundraiser at the Dallas Country Club.

Ken and Ruth Altshuler

Bob Dyer

Di Johnston

David and Sara Martineau

While Ruth and Ken Altshuler Callier Care Awardee Dr. Kern Wildenthal and wife Marnie Wildenthal were in New York and unable to attend the patron party, there were plenty of other high rollers in the crowd. They included Callier Center Foundation President John Stuart and wife Barbara Stuart, Callier Center Executive Director Dr. Tom Campbell, 2014 Callier Care Awardee Sara Martineau and her husband David Martineau, Claude Wilson, Cindy Turner, Tricia George, Kyle Edgington, Dee Wyly, Jill Rowlett, Di Johnston, Bob Dyer, and Ruth and Ken Altshuler, who had created the Callier Care Award.

Also arriving as some were leaving were Christie Carter and Claire Emanuelson, as well as Brent Christopher. Cracked Brent: “As long as the hors d’oeuvres are still out, I’m okay!”

JUST IN: 2017 Callier Cares Luncheon Nets $278,450

Emilynn Wilson (File photo)

Emilynn Wilson is a very happy camper. After chairing the sold-out Callier Cares Luncheon on Thursday, April 20, at the Dallas Country Club, she just heard from the number crunchers about the day’s results.

Whoa! The net proceeds from the event were $278,450. The funds will benefit the Callier Center for Communication Disorders‘s Callier Care Fund.

Of course, Emilynn is sharing the glory with her Honorary Chair Lisa Troutt and the honorees Dr. Kern Wildenthal and Dr. Sharon Kujawa.

Next year’s Callier Cares Chair Beth Thoele has her work cut out. Next Tuesday she’s chairing the Can Do! Luncheon at the Dallas Country Club. In September she’s chairing the Equest Women’s Auxiliary Luncheon and Style Show at Brook Hollow on Tuesday, October 3. But she’s already got Brook Hollow locked down for the Tuesday, April 17th Callier Luncheon. Looks like Beth is gonna be a busy camper.

SOLD OUT ALERT: Callier Cares Luncheon

Emilynn Wilson (File photo)

Lisa Troutt (File photo)

Kern Wildenthal (File photo)

Well, Emilynn Wilson has gone and done it. She said she would hit the “Sold Out” mark for Thursday’s Callier Cares Luncheon at the Dallas Country Club, and word just arrived that the ballroom is filled.

But then how could she lose with Lisa Troutt as her honorary chair, Dr. Kern Wildenthal receiving the Ruth and Ken Altshuler Callier Care Award, and noted audiology researcher Dr. Sharon Kujawa being presented with the 2017 Callier Prize?

Proceeds from the luncheon will benefit the patients in need through the Callier Care Fund at the University of Texas at Dallas’ Callier Center for Communication Disorders.

Grovel Alert: Callier Cares Luncheon

With the Callier Cares Luncheon still 10 days away, Event Chair Emilynn Wilson and Honorary Chair Lisa Troutt report that the tickets are nearly gone with the wind. They’ve nearly filled the entire Dallas Country Club’s ballroom thanks to having the Ruth and Ken Altshuler Callier Care Award being presented to Dr. Kern Wildenthal and the Callier Prize in Communication Disorders awarded to Dr. Sharon Kujawa.

Emilynn Wilson (File photo)

Lisa Troutt (File photo)

While Kern is well known for his leadership in healthcare administration, clinical medicine, education, biomedical research and philanthropy, Sharon may not be a familiar name. That’s because she’s not a local. She’s the director of audiology research and a senior scientist at the Eaton-Peabody Laboratories at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary in Boston. Her focus is “to clarify mechanisms and manifestations of common forms of acquired sensorineural hearing loss in humans; particularly, those due to aging and exposure to noise and ototoxic drugs.”

In addition to receiving the Prize at the Thursday, April 20th luncheon, she’ll be the keynote speaker at the Callier Prize Conference at Callier Dallas the following day.

Proceeds from the luncheon will benefit the Callier Care Fund that was created by Ruth and Ken Altshuler to “help children and adults who would otherwise be unable to afford treatment to overcome speech, language and hearing disorders.”

Suggestion: Don’t put off buying that ticket much longer, because it just not be there.

Three Days Of Letter Signing Got Underway For Callier Cares Luncheon At Beth Layton’s Dining Room Table

Beth Layton

All was not clear Tuesday, January 10, at Beth Layton’s home. While  Callier Care Luncheon Chair Emilynn Wilson arrived early to arrange stacks of letterhead and envelopes on the dining room table for a three-day-athon of letter signing, hostess Beth was already head down, hand-signing the letters.

Looking up briefly, Beth complained the windows looking out on the street weren’t pristine. Instead of grabbing a bottle of Windex, Beth just got back to signing.

Missing in action was Callier Center for Communication Disorders’ Dr. Tom Campbell, who is usually one of the first ones at the signing. Instead he was under the weather and not in the sharing mood.

Jill Edgington and Emilynn Wilson

For the next three days, peeps like Marybeth Conlon, Stacy Crouch, Marie DeCamp Dean, Jill Edgington, Louise Griffeth, Stephanie Haley, Angie Kadesky, Jean Lattimore, Vicky Lattner, Pat McEvoy, Richard Neely, Barbara Stuart, Betty Suellentrop, Beth Thoele and Kristina Whitcomb would converge on Beth’s home to personally address letters to friends and supporters about the Callier Cares luncheon honoring Dr. Kern Wildenthal with the Ruth and Ken Altshuler Callier Care Award.

The event will take place at the Dallas Country Club on Thursday, April 20, and the luncheon speaker will be announced in the days ahead. If you haven’t received your letter, go ahead and get your seat reserved.

MySweet2017Goals: John Stuart

According to Foundation for the Callier Center President John Stuart,

John Stuart*

“My personal goal for the Foundation for the Callier Center is to build on the vision of Past President Bennett Cullum and continue to improve the visibility of Callier through a strong board, strong development and strong awareness within the greater community.

“My goal as Foundation for the Callier Center President aligns with our mission to support the Callier Center for Communication Disorders by increasing recognition of the center regionally and beyond, as well as boost our fundraising efforts that benefit patients with speech, language and hearing disorders who otherwise could not afford their care. I am hopeful that our annual Callier Cares Luncheon, scheduled for Thursday, April 20, at Dallas Country Club, will be another sold-out event thanks to the leadership of Chairman Emilynn Wilson.

“I want the citizens of Dallas and the greater Metroplex to know that right in their own backyard is the Callier Center – the crown jewel of treatment, training and research in communication disorders. Not only does Callier have brilliant researchers and clinicians, the people at Callier truly care and build relationships with individuals and families that last a lifetime.”

* Photo provided by Callier Center for Communication Disorders

Callier Cares Luncheon Chair Emilynn Wilson Announces Dr. Kern Wildenthal To Receive Ruth And Ken Altshuler Callier Care Award

Before the flurry of snow Friday became a convention of snowflakes stymieing afternoon traffic in North Texas, 2017 Callier Cares Luncheon Chair Emilynn Wilson held an intimate luncheon at the Warwick Melrose’s The Landmark Room’s private dining room. The purpose was the formal announcement of plans for the Thursday, April 20, luncheon benefiting patients in need through the Callier Care Fund.

Tom Campbell, John Stuart, Emilynn Wilson and Kern Wildenthal

With Callier Center Foundation President John Stuart and Callier Center for Communications Disorder Executive Director Tom Campbell in attendance, she revealed that former president of UT Southwestern/former president of Children’s Medical Center Foundation/community leader Dr. Kern Wildenthal would be the recipient of the Ruth and Ken Altshuler Callier Care Award and that Dr. Sharon Kujawa would receive the Callier Prize in Communication Disorder.

Kern, who just recently retired from Children’s Medical Center Foundation as president, reported that the day after his retirement he was called back to duty as a consultant for the foundation.

Lisa Troutt (File photo)

Cyndi Bassel (File photo)

Joining Emilynn in orchestrating the luncheon at the Dallas Country Club will be Honorary Chair Lisa Troutt and a host committee of hundreds including Kern’s former associate/Children’s Medical Center Foundation Senior Vice President Cyndi Bassel, who retired from the foundation Thursday. When asked what her future plans were, Cyndi responded, “I plan to light my fireplace and stay near it with a good book. A wonderful way to begin my new chapter.”

While tickets aren’t available, sponsorships are.

KidneyTexas’ The Runway Report Had Everything From Heartfelt Stories To Bewitching Close Encounter With A Chandelier

There are just some things that your mammy and pappy harrumphed about as dinner table talk. Such things included one’s inner plumbing. Love the folks, but they weren’t always on the spot. While the subject of kidney disease may not have been considered as appropriate in years past, its outing has allowed countless people to learn and help.

McKamy Tiner and Anna Bland "AB" Aston

McKamy Tiner and Anna Bland “AB” Aston

Since coming out of the topic closet, the battle against kidney disease has added young people to the ranks of warriors. This situation was apparent on Tuesday, September 20, at Brook Hollow. Sure, it was billed as The Runway Report Luncheon and Fashion Show benefiting KidneyTexas, but the Tootsies fashions and luncheon were just lovely window dressing compared to the day’s message.

KidneyTexas President Anna Bland “AB” Aston had overseen the selection of The Price family (Carole Cleveland Price, Alicia and Scott Price, Stacey Price Wright and Larry Wright) as honorary chairs and McKamy Tiner to chair the luncheon.

The reason for McKamy’s chairing the lunching was not due to her being a sixth-generation Dallasite, an Idlewild deb and a 10-year associate of Dave Perry-Miller. It was a very personal reason — childhood bud Ian Arena.

McKamy Tiner and Ian Arena

McKamy Tiner and Ian Arena

Their families had known each other through Ian’s childhood battling with cancer. Then, at the age of 13, he was diagnosed with kidney disease that had resulted from his chemotherapy. When McKamy’s folks discussed the situation at the dinner table, 15-year-old McKamy declared that she knew that she would be a perfect candidate for Ian’s transplant.

This announcement may have sounded like a very optimistic comment by someone who hadn’t even gotten her driver’s license yet. But to everyone’s surprise but McKamy, she proved to be the perfect match.

Martha Tiner

Martha Tiner

Michael Tiner

Michael Tiner

Robin Arena

Robin Arena

As McKamy’s and Ian’s folks (Martha and Michael Tiner and Luncheon Co-Chair Robin Arena) sat nearby admiring their kid hero/ine, Ian told the audience that almost immediately following the transplant, he felt great and color had returned to his face for the first time in years.

Emcee WFAA’s Ron Corning encouraged the filled-to-capacity ballroom including Nancy Carter, Marena Gault, former blond Holly Davis now more brunette-ish, Lisa Cooley with soon-to-be daughter-in-law Bela Pietrovic and some walking wounded types like Vodi Cook with arm in cast and Sharon Popham on a walker, to consider following McKamy’s lead. He told of one man who had donated his kidney to another with the understanding that if and when his grandchild needed a kidney, the child would be higher on the list of recipients.

Then Ron interviewed 16-year-old kidney patient Jira (aka cutest guy in the room), who told how in addition to spending three days a week in dialysis, there was an emotional toll. He felt out of the loop at school due to his kidney disease.

Jira and Ron Corning

Jira and Ron Corning

But thanks to efforts and fundraising by KidneyTexas, such transplant recipients like Ian, Christine Martin and Andy Meyercord were all on hand.

But it wasn’t all talk about kidney disease.

Andy Meyercord

Andy Meyercord

Emilynn Wilson

Emilynn Wilson

In the humor department, Ron once again provided the laughter. In announcing KidneyTexas co-founder Emilynn Wilson was being honored with the Sue Goodnight Award, he said that the plan had been to present her with a nice piece of Baccarat. But realizing that Emilynn had applied a frugal eye to the organization’s dealings, they decided to give her “a bag of M&M’s… the peanut ones. I mean, they’re not the brand name. They’re the ones from Costco, so you get more. They’re nicely wrapped. Remember, it’s the thought that counts.”

Runway recovery

Runway recovery

And as for the fashions, Jan Strimple‘s fashion show featuring Tootsies day- and night-time clothes went flawlessly until… well, there was that dramatic series of black gowns highlighted by towering black hats. It was like a bewitching grouping of Herve Leger, Cinq A Sept, David Koma and ML Monique Lhuillier. The almost-oops resulted when the first model in the series walked the elevated runway down the center of the room… right under the ballroom’s mammoth chandeliers.

Yup, you guessed it. It was a brief encounter of “towering black hat” with the room’s center “mammoth chandelier.” But you’ve got to hand it to the model. The hat stayed put and she didn’t lose a beat. Her reward was the guests smiling in amazement that she had handled it masterfully. Evidently word was passed among the lovely catwalkers and the rest of the lineup steered clear of the hanging glass and light fixture.

This year’s beneficiaries include Baylor Health Care System Foundation, Children’s Health/Children Medical Center Foundation, Camp Reynal — National Kidney Foundation, Parkland Foundation, Methodist Health System Foundation and Texas Health Resources Foundation.

If you couldn’t make the lunch and missed the moving stories and the show’s tip of the hat, you can still donate to KidneyTexas or sign up to be considered as a transplant. There are more than 4,000 Texans in need of a healthy kidney that you could share.

For more photos of the fashions and folks in the audience, check out the MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

Mad Hatter’s Fashion Show And Luncheon Patron Party At Betsy And Guinn Crousen’s Mansion Was An Over-The-Top Draw

The line-up of luxury vehicles pulling up to Betsy and Guinn Crousen’s palatial Highland Park digs was impressive just 10 minutes into the Tuesday, April 19, affair. The valet parking company had been advised to expect 50 guests, but that number ended up being tripled including Jocelyn White, Linda Spina, Barbara Daseke, Linda Ivy, Connie Carreker, Jennifer and Coley Clark and Jennifer Houser. Needless to say, the car parkers were scurrying around the streets like roadrunners.

Jennifer Houser and Betsy Crousen

Jennifer Houser and Betsy Crousen

Barbara Daseke and Barbara Bigham

Barbara Daseke and Barbara Bigham

The event was the Women’s Council of the Dallas Arboretum‘s Mad Hatter’s Tea patron party. Some like Leslie Ann Crozier were splitting their time between Mad Hatter’s and making it home in time to learn the outcome of the New York presidential primary.

Betsy and Guinn Crousen's courtyard

Betsy and Guinn Crousen’s courtyard

As a first-time event, the house with its marvelous courtyard had guests wandering throughout. Some even decided to check out the Crousens’ closets!

In the kitchen Emilynn Wilson was receiving congrats on being named 2017 Callier Cares chair. Another one receiving pats on the back was Barbara Bigham for the recent Bighams’ million-dollar donation for Scenic Overlook in the Arboretum’s newest project — A Tasteful Place.