Nancy And Herbert Hunt Become Les Femmes Du Monde’s First Couple Of The Year With Tributes, Laughter And Saved Ribbons

Nancy and Herbert Hunt

Nancy and Herbert Hunt

It seemed like the local fundraisers were in overdrive on Tuesday, October 25, evening. Over at the Dallas Country Club, Children’s Medical Center Foundation’s Brent Christopher was johnny-on-the-spot when the doors opened for Les Femmes du Monde’s 2016 Couple of the Year Awards Dinner. It was the first time that the organization had honored a couple, let alone a man. And that couple was Nancy and Herbert Hunt, who have been married 65 years resulting in six children, 16 grandchildren and 20 great-grandchildren.  

No sooner did he congratulate Les Femmes on their selection, than he was off to the Crescent for another Children’s event. Luckily, Children’s Bill Braem and his bride Kathy Braem were on the scene representing Children’s, which one was of the evening’s beneficiaries.

Bill and Kathy Braem

Bill and Kathy Braem

Marj Waters

Marj Waters

Barbara Hunt Crow, Jan Ward, Mary Lee Cox and Therese Rourk

Barbara Hunt Crow, Jan Ward, Mary Lee Cox and Therese Rourk

Caroline Rose Hunt

Caroline Rose Hunt

Venise Stuart

Venise Stuart

Also on hand was the other beneficiary, World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth represented by President/CEO Jim Falk, Marj Waters, Venise Stuart, Ramona Jones and loads of Hunts.

At one point in the reception, Event Chair Mary Lee Cox recalled to Barbara Hunt Crow how she had also chaired the fundraiser when Herbert’s sister, Caroline Rose Hunt, was honored in 1988.

To get the program underway Mary Lee, who could hardly be seen behind the podium, introduced emcee Scott Murray. Despite protests from Scott, Mary Lee reeled off his numerous awards and accomplishments.  When Scott finally got hold of the mic, he asked, “Do you all know my agent — Mary Lee?”

Following the invocation by Highland Park Presbyterian Church Senior Pastor Rev. Bryan Dunagan and dinner (Caesar salad, panko herb crusted chicken with garlic mashed potato, baby carrots, broccolini with boursin lemon cream and desserts of chocolate caramel cake or lemon meringue cake), Scott read a proclamation from Highland Park Mayor Joel Williams III making October 25 Nancy and Herbert Hunt Day.

Jim Falk

Jim Falk

Washington and Lee alumnus Jim Falk told the group how fellow Washington and Lee alumnus Herbert had offered to step in for a fraternity brother who was unable to drive to Hollins College for a blind date. Herbert volunteered because he had heard the date was cute and sharp. It turned out to be Nancy…”and the rest is history.”

Keeping on schedule, the award was presented to the Hunts, but opening it proved to be a challenge thanks to the gift wrap, ribbons and tape. At one point, Herbert told the audience, “My wife always saves the ribbons. We’re not going to save the paper tonight.”

Finally a piece of crystal was produced with the inscription, “Les Femmes du Monde to Nancy and Herbert Hunt, Couple of the Year 2016.”

Herbert then told the guests, “One of the great things about having children and family is you get a lot of advice. And on the way to the restroom, the advice from Bruce Hunt was, ‘Keep it short.’”

And that he did saying, “Thank you, thank you, thank you and I appreciate all of your coming.”

He stressed that family was all important to Nancy and himself, but with a twinkle in his eye, he added, “Even though I can’t remember all those great-grandchildren’s names.”

Joe Barton

Joe Barton

Keynote speaker/Congressman Joe Barton started off by telling Herbert, “I can top what Bruce Hunt told you. Doug Hunt told me, ‘You don’t have to talk if you don’t want to.’ So, this isn’t going to be long.”

Having known Herbert over the years, Joe admitted that he had to do a bit of research on Nancy, who prefers to stay out of the limelight. In asking her what she was most proud of, Nancy replied her family. He also discovered her love for dogs, especially Yorkshire Terriers.

Joe decided to delve a little deeper and checked with the kids, learning that she was known as “Grand Nana.” He also found out that years ago, she was having a rough time teaching her three-year-old daughter to read. After checking with medical experts, she discovered the youngster had dyslexia. That led her to find out that Herbert also had it.

As for Herbert, Joe had wondered why the son of oilman H.L. Hunt chose to go to Washington and Lee instead of Texas A&M, the University of Texas, or even the University of Arkansas. Herbert told him that his late mother, Lyda Hunt, had been on the board of Mary Baldwin and the girls there dated the Washington and Lee boys, “So that’s where you’re going to go.”

Following his mother’s orders, Herbert arrived at Washington and Lee prepared to major in geology. The only problem was that there were only two geology professors on staff, and they were strong on coal but not so regarding oil. That became evident when H.L. started questioning the professors, who were stumbling with their answers. Herbert interrupted with the right information, to which H.L told his son to “shut up,” because he wanted to find out what the professors knew.

For his class project, Herbert was to go to Louisiana and survey a site that his dad would drill. Following his legwork, he went to H.L. with the information and asked him about drilling. H.L. asked Herbert if he had the money for the operation and Herbert told his father that it would cost his entire life savings. H.L.’s response: “Welcome to the oil business.”

Joe said that of all the leaders and millionaires he had met during his 30 years in Congress, he had never met a more down-to-earth or self-effacing man than Herbert Hunt. The congressman concluded his remarks saying that neither Herbert, his late brother Bunker Hunt, nor any of the Hunt children had ever asked to do anything that wasn’t right for America.

World Affairs Council Gets An Early Christmas Gift From Les Femmes But Still Needs More To Prevent Forecasted Shortfall

As mentioned in an earlier post, the World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth brings in various speakers like Bob Woodward throughout the year to discuss issues facing today’s world. But that’s not done without funding.

So, World Affairs Council President/CEO Jim Falk sent a letter out recently appealing for a financial kick. According to the letter, “We need help closing a forecasted shortfall of approximately $65,000 by the end of our fiscal year (November 30).”

Jan Ward and Jim Falk

Jan Ward and Jim Falk

The good news is that last week, the Les Femmes du Monde President Jan Ward handed over to Jim a nice check for $38,500 earned through the ladies’ efforts during the past year. While it brought a big, old smile to Jim’s lips, he’s still in need of additional funding.

BTW, Les Femmes gals also presented Children’s with a similar check.

Les Femmes Du Monde Party At Joyce And Larry Lacertes Even Got Co-Honoree Couple Of The Year Herbert Hunt Smiling

As the 70+ guests gathered at Joyce and Larry Lacerte’s Highland home for the Les Femmes du Monde Couple Of The Year Awards Dinner, Dinner Chair Mary Lee Cox said it was just a celebration. There would be no talking. Really?

Sharon Ballew and Venise Stuart

Sharon Ballew and Venise Stuart

Billie Leigh Rippey

Billie Leigh Rippey

Then she pointed to the 2016 Les Femmes honorees (aka first-ever Couple of the Year) — Nancy and Herbert Hunt. It was hard to spot them, though. They were engulfed by well-wishers like Sara and David Martineau, Billie Leigh Rippey, Venise Stuart, Sharon Ballew, beneficiaries World Affairs Council’s Jim Falk and Children’s Medical Center Foundation’s Brent Christopher, who admitted that shifting gears from Communities Foundation of Texas to Children’s Medical Center Foundation had been easier that he had expected. Why he had even had time to catch a movie — “Sully.”

Nancy and Herbert Hunt

Nancy and Herbert Hunt

For a photo opp, the responsibility was handed over to daughters Barbara Hunt Crow and Libby Hunt Allred. As the photos were snapped, one of the daughters encouraged, “Come on, Dad. Big smile.” Herbert laughed, “I am.”

When asked how long the Hunts had been married, Barbara popped up, “Well, I’m 62.” Nancy laughed, “I married young.”

Caroline Rose Hunt and Bob Brackbill

Caroline Rose Hunt and Bob Brackbill

In the Lacertes’ great room, while Papa Larry Lacerte chatted with guests, Caroline Rose Hunt (aka Herbert’s kid sister) smiled alongside Bob Brackbill. When someone described her having a cute smile, Bob said, “She’s always cute.”

Mary Lee Cox

Mary Lee Cox

Just minutes into the event, word was passed that Mary Lee had indeed had a change of mind. At 7:15, there would be a brief presentation recognizing Nancy and Herbert and thanking the Lacertes and various people who were making the dinner on Tuesday, October 25, at the Dallas Country Club possible. Ah, so that’s what the bouquet of flowers on the bench next to the fireplace was doing there.

Touch of trivia: In addition to being the 2013 honoree and serving as Les Femmes president in 1995, Mary Lee chaired the 1988 fundraiser when Barbara Bush was the keynote speaker and Caroline Rose Hunt was the honoree.

Tickets are still available here.

Les Femmes Du Monde Shift Directions In Announcing Honoree(s) Of The Year For Annual Fundraiser

Those Les Femmes du Monde gals are once again trying something different for their annual big fundraiser. Chairing the event at the Dallas Country Club on Tuesday, October 25, will be veteran chair Mary Lee Cox. Instead of doing a luncheon, they’ve decided to once again hold a night-time gala complete with a VIP cocktail reception and three-course seated supper.

Mary Lee Cox (File photo)

Mary Lee Cox (File photo)

Jan Ward (File photo)

Jan Ward (File photo)

Now for the big switcheroo. In the past, Les Femmes have honored a “Woman of the Year” and then, a couple of years back, they honored a host of gals. But leave it to Mary Lee and Les Femmes President Jan Ward to try something different. This year’s honorees will be a twosome and what a twosome. The Couple of the Year will be Nancy and Herbert Hunt! Yup, you read it. Herbert is going to be very first man to be honored by Les Femmes annual award. But not to worry. His little sister Caroline Rose Hunt received the award back in 1988, so she can give Nancy and Herbert Nancy some pointers. BTW, this year the Hunts are also celebrating 65 years of marriage.

Herbert and Nancy Hunt (File photo)

Herbert and Nancy Hunt (File photo)

Such a natural pick since the criteria for the selection is that the honorees be “supporters who have helped make this organization and many non-profits successful, embracing education for members and youth, while at the same time, helping others in our community.”

In the past, honorees have included Doris S. Dixon, Ruth Collins Sharp Altshuler, Caroline Rose Hunt, Annette Strauss, Vivian Castleberry, Mary Kay Ash, Ebby Halliday, Catherine Crier, Kay Bailey Hutchison, Laura Bush, Juanita Miller, Nancy Brinker, Gloria Campos, Florence Shapiro, Liz Minyard, Gretchen Minyard Williams, Karen Hughes, Billie Leigh Rippey, Dee Wyly, Anita Perry, Yvonne Crum, Geraldine “Tincy” Miller, Gail Thomas, Mary Lee Cox, Virginia Chandler Dykes, Gina Ginsburg, Lynn McBee, Margaret McDermott, Pat Smith, Nina Vaca and Virginia Cook.

Individual tickets start at $250, but that category has only a limited number of seats available. Single patron tickets range from $500 to $1,000. Suggestion: Think sponsorship and underwriting.

Funds raised will go to the Child Life Program at Children’s Medical Center and the International Education Program of the World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth.

2015 Les Femmes Du Monde Team Presents Checks To Children’s Health And World Affairs Council Of Dallas/Fort Worth

The most gratifying part of fundraising is the handing over of the checks to the recipients. After months of efforts and activities, the Les Femmes du Monde group proved that point on Thursday, November 12, when they presented Children’s Health and the World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth with early Christmas gifts. Here’s a report from the field:

The ladies of Les Femmes du Monde met at the home of Amy and Mitchell Malone last week to hand out checks to the two beneficiaries of the Woman of the Year gala in October, The Child Life Program at Children’s HealthSM Children’s Medical Center and the International Education Program of the World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth.

Chaired by Venise Stuart, the gala event at Dallas Country Club honored Virginia Cook as the Woman of the Year. It was an intimate affair, attended by 350 friends and supporters in the social and business community with Geraldine “Tincy” Miller as honorary chair – a former Woman of the Year – and Jody Dean, KLUV 98.7 FM as the emcee.

Les Femmes du Monde President Alyce Heinirch has always been one to treat her guests to homemade casseroles and delicious desserts. This celebration luncheon was no different. She made chicken breasts stuffed with wilted spinach and a delicious cheese, a sumptuous potato au-gratin casserole, luscious and crispy on the top, dripping with a secret sauce and a cranberry Jell-O mold taken from her Helen Corbitt cookbook from years ago. Dessert was a chocolate tart topped with raspberries and whipped cream.  It was all accompanied with wine and coffee, making for a perfect ladies luncheon.

Jan Ward and Alyce Heinrich*

Jan Ward and Alyce Heinrich*

After the luncheon, Alyce announced the new slate of offices as approved by the board and a majority vote was taken and approved the slate, naming Jan Ward as President, 2016 and Sharon Ballew as President-Elect for 2017.

She then brought out the checks, each for $37,000, to each beneficiary. Kyra Barnett accepted the check on behalf of Children’s Health and James Falk,  on behalf of the  World Affairs Council of Dallas Fort Worth.

Jim Falk and Whitney Schneider*

Jim Falk and Whitney Schneider*

The Child Life Program’s primary goal is to minimize the impact of illness on a child’s normal growth and emotional and cognitive development. This involves establishing supportive relationships with patients and families and providing them with developmentally-appropriate information that helps them prepare for, understand and cope with their healthcare experiences.

The International Education Program (IEP) at the World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth seeks to educate students and teachers on how international events affect their lives, their communities, and their country. The goal is to empower students to become effective, active global citizens and leaders in the community. Celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2014, this program has impacted more than 1 million students and trained more than 8,000 teachers since its inception in 2004.

* Photo credit: Chris Waits

Round Robin October 14 Part II: Champion Of Children Award And Les Femmes Du Monde Woman Of The Year Dinners

One of the MySweetCharity elves was so weary s/he missed these two events that were supposed to be posted with the October 14th Round Robin. The elf is taking some time off…an hour to be exact to catch up on their sleep needs. In the meantime, check out what Les Femmes Du Monde and Dallas CASA folks were doing the evening of Wednesday, October 14.

Champion of Children Award Dinner

Jerry and Gene Jones and Kathleen and Michael LaValle*

Jerry and Gene Jones and Kathleen and Michael LaValle*

Over at the Fairmont Dallas, the excitement was palpable at the jam-packed reception before Dallas CASA’s big annual fundraising dinner. AT&T Chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson was making a rare public appearance, shaking hands and mingling with the crowd. Not far away, the Dallas Cowboys’ First Couple Gene and Jerry Jones were doing the same. All around them were guests like Event Co-Chairs Jana and Mike Brosin, Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones, Christie Carter and Caroline Rose Hunt. Also spotted: Cortland Grynwald, lead co-chair of Attorneys Serving the Community, which named Dallas CASA its 2015-2016 beneficiary.

Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones*

Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones*

Greg May and Randall Stephenson*

Greg May and Randall Stephenson*

Dallas CASA president and executive director Kathleen LaValle was saying the dinner crowd of about 550 would be the fundraiser’s biggest ever. “We’re so excited to honor AT&T,” she said. “Three of their executives are on our board, and we’re honored to be honoring them.” Dallas CASA gave its Judge Barefoot Sanders Champion of Children Award to the telecom giant at the dinner.

It also heard from Ashley Rhodes-Courter, a best-selling author whose book, Three Little Words, described her nine years in foster care. Rhodes-Courter was interviewed by Gloria Campos, the event’s honorary chair.

Les Femmes Du Monde Woman Of The Year Dinner

Across town at the Dallas Country Club, meanwhile, Realtor Virginia E. Cook was being honored as Les Femmes du Monde’s 2015 Woman of the Year. About 150 guests enjoyed dinner (Panzanella salad, Boursin chicken, Julienned vegetables, chocolate mousse) and a tastefully-done video tribute to Cook starring the likes of Herb Weitzman, Roger Staubach, Tincy Miller and Lee Kleinman.

Emcee Jody Dean kept the program moving along, delivering quips like this one about Les Femmes du Monde President Alyce Heinrich: “She asks and won’t take no for an answer. It’s like talking to a tornado,” Dean said. “A wonderful, gracious tornado.” Heinrich was ably assisted at the podium by Dinner Chair Venise Stuart, who warned before the video played: “You’re going to need tissues.”

After the SMU Stampede singers serenaded Virginia with tunes like “Blackbird” by the Beatles and “My Girl,” Heinrich took to the dance floor to cut an elaborate rug with her longtime dance instructor. “You’ve heard of ‘War and Peace’?” Alyce’s dance partner asked when the couple finally took a break. “I’m Warren Slaughter.”

* Photo credit: Lara Bierner

Tincy Miller’s Home Was Busting With Les Femmes Du Monde Members For Former U.S. Ambassador Robert Jordan’s Talk

Desert Diplomat - Inside Saudi Arabia Following 9/11

Desert Diplomat – Inside Saudi Arabia Following 9/11

When Tincy Miller learned that 40 guests were coming to her home on Tuesday, August 18, for Les Femmes du Monde lunch, she had some trepidations. Well, any hostess would. But her home-sweet-home was already filled to the rafters with loads of family photos, furniture and collectibles. It was the kind of place to raise a family and have holiday feasts, but it was going to be a stretch to have a buffet lunch and seating for 30 to hear from former U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia/author/attorney/SMU Fellow Robert W. Jordan plus have an area for him to sign books.

Loads of photos

Loads of photos

Luckily, Tincy’s ability to be flexible rose to the occasion when the organizers arrived and told her that the body count had risen to 60.

Parking along the street was the first challenge. Construction on neighboring properties had created a cozy car situation.

Luckily, the Jack Boles crew was at the driveway to greet the guests, with Gary Ferraro escorting them up the steps and to the front door where a table was set up for check-in.

Buffet table

Buffet table

To assist guests from the dining room buffet to the sunken family room, there was another gentleman to offer a hand.

Robert Jordan and Tincy Miller

Robert Jordan and Tincy Miller

Luckily, Robert was able to beat the crowd to the buffet and gulped down his lunch before telling about his days as U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia. Following 9/11, he was appointed by former President George W. Bush to serve from October 2001 to October 2003. Despite having no diplomatic experience, he learned on the job. He spoke of the close relationships that he built with “Crown Prince Abdullah and leaders in Saudi Arabia on sensitive issues of terrorism and human rights.”

As usual, Les Femmes provided an opportunity for members and guests to learn about the world outside of North Texas for the benefit of the World Affairs Council Dallas/Fort Worth and Children’s Health. If you weren’t able to make it, you can read all about it in Robert’s book “Desert Diplomat – Inside Saudi Arabia Following 9/11” that was released in July.

MySweetCharity Opportunity: Woman Of The Year Award Dinner

According to Woman of the Year Award Dinner Chair Venise Stuart,

Venise Stuart (File photo)

Venise Stuart (File photo)

Les Femmes du Monde will celebrate the 31st Woman of the Year Award black-tie dinner on Wednesday, October 14, 2015, at the Dallas Country Club. President Alyce Heinrich and I announced Virginia Cook as the 2015 distinguished woman at the beautiful Beverly Drive home of Gina and Scott Ginsberg in March.

“Virginia is thrilled to be this year’s Woman of the Year recipient, and is someone who has helped make this organization and many nonprofits successful, embracing education for members and youth, while at the same time, helping others in our community. Virginia Cook is CEO of Virginia Cook Realtors, served as the first woman president of the MetroTex Association of Realtors and the Texas Association of Realtors, both of which named her Realtor of the Year. Prior to founding Virginia Cook Realtors, she worked closely with Henry Miller and Vance Miller, and sold her first company to them while she was still in her 20s. She had built her firm to 13 agents, which started the residential branch of Henry S. Miller Real Estate Brokerage. She served as the president of that company for 28 years. Throughout her career, Virginia has consistently supported a broad range of organizations and charities with her time, energy and resources.

Les Femmes du Monde*

Les Femmes du Monde*

“Virginia is honored to be included with some of the past Woman of the Year recipients as Juanita Miller, Margaret McDermott, Pat Smith, former First Lady Laura Bush, Ruth Collins Sharp Altshuler, Gloria Campos, Lynn McBee and others.

“Les Femmes du Monde began in 1961 at the encouragement of Gen. Robert J. Smith, Chairman of the Board of the Dallas Council on World Affairs, who hosted a luncheon at the City Club for 20 prominent young women. He proposed that they form a special fund-raising committee to be called Les Femmes du Monde which would support the Dallas Council on World Affairs with visiting delegates and efforts to accomplish future goals. These eager young women began immediately with Helen Storey as its first president. Moving forward, in1987 Les Femmes du Monde became its own nonprofit organization, and in 1995 added Children’s Medical Center Child Life Program (now called Children’s Health).

“The Woman of the Year Award Dinner began in 1986 with Doris Dixon as the first ever recipient. Les Femmes du Monde has been able to provide the International Education Fund for the World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth over $2 million since 1961 and the Child Life Program at Children’s Health with over $670,000 since 1998.

“For tickets, sponsorships and further information on the October 14 black-tie event, contact me at [email protected] or 214.599.9058. Information for Les Femmes du Monde can be found on the www.lesfemmesdumonde.org website.”

Despite Traffic Hassles, Les Femmes Du Monde’s Soup And Salad Series Filled The Alexander Mansion

Truck blocking the entrance

Truck blocking the entrance

Despite the summer heat, Les Femmes du Monde gals are souping and salading. For instance Thursday, June 18, the ladies managed to overcome 18-wheelers partially blocking the parking lot of the Alexander Mansion on Ross. But once inside Les Femmes President Alyce Henirch and Venise Stuart had the place decked out to the nines.

Venise Stuart, Safeeya Schnaufer and Alyce Heinrich

Venise Stuart, Safeeya Schnaufer and Alyce Heinrich

The original plan was to have it at Venise’s home, but then the fear would be that it might be a bit too crowded, so it was moved to the historic mansion with its vintage finery.

Andrea Pearson-Haas, Rhonda Aicklen and Eileen Nagel

Andrea Pearson-Haas, Rhonda Aicklen and Eileen Nagel

Buffet in the dining room

Buffet in the dining room

Following lunch, the guests like Mary Lee Cox, Claire Cunningham, Jan Ward, Rhonda Aicklen, Eileen Nagel and Children’s Andrea Pearson-Haas wearing a tiara gathered in the living room for a talk by Safeeya Schnaufer about her being raised the daughter of the Kuwait Defense Minister in a Muslim home, witnessing the brutality in the Middle East, escaping the Saddam Hussein forces in Kuwait, going against her family’s wishes and converting to Christianity, and eventually settling in North Texas.

If you haven’t already got your ticket to today’s Soup and Salad series, oops! Author Doug Box, who has been making the rounds with his new book “Cutter Frisco: Growing Up On The Original Southfork Ranch” about his late dad Cloyce Box will be the featured speaker.

Round Robin March 25: Nexus Spring Luncheon And A Legendary Evening Kick-Off Parties And Les Femmes’ Woman Of The Year Announcement

Whoever decided to move the usual Thursday overload to Wednesday…well, they got their way on Wednesday, March 25. The Family Place Partners were holding a membership social at Bistro 31. The Dallas Arboretum Corporate types were dining amid the flowery beauty of the Arboretum’s Dallas Blooms.

Women’s Auxiliary of Nexus Spring Luncheon Kick-Off Reception

Erin Cluley and Liz Pasquinelli

Erin Cluley and Liz Pasquinelli

The usual slam by guests didn’t happen at Erin Cluley Gallery for the Women’s Auxiliary of Nexus Spring Luncheon Kick-Off Reception. The reason was the up-in-the-air start time. Some, like Chair Liz Pasquinelli, were under the impression that the party started at 6. While others among the 75 got word that it started at 6:30. Not to worry. Sharon Van Meter’s staff got the white table-clothed buffet table decked out with delish food in no time. So much so that some guests hit the tables before checking out the artwork displayed on the walls.

Cocktail buffet

Cocktail buffet

All came to a halt when plans were announced for the April 23 Nexus Recovery Center fundraising luncheon at Belo Mansion with New York Times Best-Selling Author Koren Zailckas as the keynote speaker.

A Legendary Evening Kick-Off Reception

Neena Newberry

Neena Newberry

Tina Robertson

Tina Robertson

Just across the Trinity, the Mod Gallery was filled with all types like Family Compass Clinic Director Tina Robertson, Carrine and John Reilly, Terry Crane, Neena Newberry, Adam Kroviak and Martha Tiller for the kick-off of A Legendary Evening. Course it helped when the party was taking place in the kitchen where food was overly available.

Loads of food

Loads of food

Jessica Trudeau

Jessica Trudeau

As Family Compass Executive Director Jessica Trudeau schmoozed with some of the 60 guests, it was revealed that the Family Compass fundraiser dinner will be held in the Hilton Anatole’s Stemmons Ballroom on Saturday, April 25, thanks to Co-Chairs Kristy Faus and Shakeya McDow and former State Senator Florence Shapiro as honorary chair. WFAA’s Colleen Coyle will serve as mistress of ceremonies with Chef Blythe Beck, Dallas Film Society Artistic Director James Faust and retired WFAA-ers Gloria Campos and Troy Dungan as just some of the legendary table hosts.

Regarding the awards, Ernst & Young will receive the Spirit of Community Restoration Award and Kim Garrett will be presented the Spirit of Compassion Award.

Les Femmes Du Monde Women Of The Year Announcement

As the clouds started moving in, so did the record-breaking crowd for the Les Femmes du Monde Woman of the Year announcement party. What was the draw for the 100 guests? Well, the announcement, of course. But having the party at Gina and Scott Ginsburg’s mansion certainly didn’t discourage a soul.

Venise Stuart, Alyce Heinrich and Virginia Cook

Venise Stuart, Alyce Heinrich and Virginia Cook

In addition to the big announcement that Realtor Virginia Cook would be the Woman of the Year, it was official that recent Dallas Symphony Orchestra League Deb Presentation Chair Venise Stuart had stepped up to chair the Wednesday, October 14th dinner at the Dallas Country Club.

As the living room filled with guests, World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth chief Jim Falk was amazed at the turnout and the past couple of years under Les Femmes du Monde President Alyce Heinrich. “Les Femmes is having a revival,” Jim said.

Scott Ginsburg

Scott Ginsburg

Gina Ginsburg

Gina Ginsburg

In the two-story library, meantime, host Scott was taking time to prepare for a project and Gina, in sparking yellow, was seated on the couch across the way accepting compliments.

Jan Ward and Regina Bruce

Jan Ward and Regina Bruce

Just outside the dining room, 2014 Women of the Year Chair Regina Bruce was introducing Jan Ward as the upcoming Les Femmes du Monde president.

Tuesday Ain’t Lookin’ So Great, But Don’t “Skip” Out

Skip Hollandsworth (File photo)

Skip Hollandsworth (File photo)

The Dallas Independent School District and others are already shuttering down due to the predicted overnight freeze that will create Tuesday morning’s “Auto Ice Rink.”

On the other hand, Les Femmes du Monde is charging ahead with its “members only” meeting with Texas Monthly‘s Skip “Be Still My Heart” Hollandsworth.

The chat with one of the Dallas media’s most charming fellers is taking place at a private resident. So, it takes membership to get the deets.

If you’re not a Les Femmes member, sign up just to attend Skippy’s talk. He’s quite a storyteller. So many stories that he discovered and told beautifully. In fact, he’s the one who brought “Bernie” to the public eye. Just ask him about his daughter, Tyler‘s take on who was more adorable  Matthew McConaughey or Jack Black.

Les Femmes Du Monde Holiday Party Was A Real Traffic Stopper

When mom is holding an afternoon party, it can really cramp a son’s POA. Such was the case for Spencer Hardin on Tuesday, December 16, when his mom Sarah Hardin hosted the Les Femmes du Monde Christmas party. As a more-than-expected flock of females filled the Hardins’ Park Cities home, Spencer got in his two-seater and headed out the driveway only to come to an abrupt stop. Blocking the way was a spotless Mercedes.

Dixie Marshall, Rhoades and Sarah Hardin

Dixie Marshall, Rhoades and Sarah Hardin

There was good reason. Dixie Marshall and Connie Rhoades, who had arrived in the Mercedes, were assisting another guest with a walker to the house. Being a gentleman, Spencer patiently waited without revving his engine once.

Sarah admitted that they really should have had valet parking. But it was a beautiful day and who would have thought the turnout would be so surprising that the cars lined the block.

As Dixie and Sarah helped the guest into the house, Connie headed back to the street to move the blocking car. Spencer was seen immediately driving away.

Alyce Heinrich

Alyce Heinrich

Just as well. Inside the guests spilled out of the family room and into the adjoining living room, as 2014 Les Femmes du Monde President Alyce Heinrich announced the following:

The membership drive was on.

  • Alyce would continue as president through 2015.
  • Phyllis Comu would serve as 2015 president-elect.
  • Regina Bruce, who chaired the sold-out 2015 Women of Distinction luncheon at Harlan Crow’s library, would be 2016 president-elect.
  • Carmaleta Whiteley and her husband Otis Felton would chair the 2015 Woman of the Year evening fundraiser for Children’s Health and World Affairs Council Dallas/Fort Worth.

As soon as Alyce was finished, many of the guests headed to the dining room, where a feast was waiting.

Les Femmes Du Monde Luncheon Honors Six Outstanding Women Of The Year With Pomp And Smiles

Alyce Heinrich

Alyce Heinrich

Les Femmes du Monde President Alyce Heinrich explained that the organization benefiting Children’s Health and the World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth had taken a slight shift. To attract more young members, it had been decided to adjust its annual Woman of the Year fundraiser. This year it would be Women of the Year, one to represent each of Les Femmes’ six decades.

Nina Vaca, Gina Ginsburg, Pat Smith, Lynn McBee and Regina Bruce

Nina Vaca, Gina Ginsburg, Pat Smith, Lynn McBee and Regina Bruce

The class of 2014 included Virginia Chandler Dykes, Gina Ginsburg, Lynn McBee, Margaret McDermott, Pat Smith and Nina Vaca.

In the crowd at the Harlan Crow Library on Thursday, October 16, were Honorary Co-Chairs Faye Briggs and Yvonne Crum, Ruth Altshuler, Gillian Breidenbach, Holly Reed, Ka and LL Cotter, Martha Ann Schneider, Linda Ivy, Mary Lee Cox and Markita Thompson. Ralph Gorman was sporting some remade Nocona boots that had suffered mud overload from a previous Cattle Baron’s Ball. The boots looked pretty spiffy with the decorated metal toe caps. Loyal husbands Emmitt Smith and Scott Ginsburg hot-footed it upstairs to see the second level of the library.

Martha Ann Schneider and Marine escort

Martha Ann Schneider and Marine escort

Last of the honorees to arrive was centenarian Margaret McDermott in her wheelchair. Instead of Margaret taking the arm of one of the Marines escorting the ladies into the building, a ramp for her magically appeared.

Margaret McDermott

Margaret McDermott

Then it was class photo time, with Lady Margaret as the centerpiece. It seemed like everyone wanted time with her afterwards, but there was the luncheon in the main room. Ah, but more steps. This time a couple of the Marines gently lifted her and chair downward with Margaret smiling.

Alyyce revealed to the 120+ guests in the Harlan Crow Library that once she had managed to lock down the location, she went after the luncheon chair. She lucked out with a call to Regina Bruce. From that point it was just tapping the six. Unfortunately, Virginia was not able to attend the event due to a stay in the hospital.

Speaking of hospitals, Doris Jacobs reported that husband Jack was doing well following surgery.

Lunch in the library

Lunch in the library

After an invocation by Dr. Sheron Patterson, emcee Suzie Humphreys handled the day’s program. It all came off without a hitch.

Three little Crows

Three little Crows

By the way, the next time you’re in the Crow library. check out the ceiling. Opposite the stage, you’ll see a scene of trees. Peeking out of a clusters of branches are three “little Crows.”

Sold Out Alert!: Les Femmes Du Monde Luncheon

Regina Bruce (File photo)

Regina Bruce (File photo)

Favorite two words for fundraising organizers? Sold out! And that’s the status for Thursday’s Les Femmes du Monde Luncheon honoring the 2014 Women of the Year (Virginia Chandler Dykes, Gina Ginsburg, Lynn McBee, Margaret McDermott, Pat Smith and Nina Vaca) at The Harlan Crow Library.

Luncheon Chair Regina Bruce and her honorary co-chairs Faye Briggs and Yvonne Crum have pulled this off to benefit Children’s Health (formerly known as Children’s Medical Center) and the World Affairs Council Dallas/Fort Worth.

September 3 Round Robin: Les Femmes Du Monde And Harvest Receptions

Wednesday, September 3, the starting gun of the fall fundraising season went off with gusto all over the area. No matter what the cause or the crowd of supporters, guests were like giddy collegiates returning from summer to play the game of catch-up. Squealing over spotting friends, air kissing like angelfish and pressurized hugging were favored activities. For those who were able to squeeze into Traffic LA for the Junior AssociatesAn Affair of the Art underwriters party or were blown away from the noise, there were a couple of other stops for them to get back in the North Texas swing of fun(d)raising:

Les Femmes Du Monde

Ka Cotter

Ka Cotter

LL Cotter

LL Cotter

Ka and LL Cotter’s Preston Hollow home looked like the top stop for a residential Realtor tour day. After all, there was Nancy Dunning’s “For Sale” prominently displayed in the front yard. And cars lined the street just minutes before the 6 o’clock start time.

Regina Bruce

Regina Bruce

Alyce Heinrich

Alyce Heinrich

Actually it was the announcement of plans for the Les Femmes du Monde award luncheon. But this year Luncheon chair Regina Bruce and LFdM President Alyce Heinrich had decided to up the ante.

They had already revealed the lunch would be held at the Harlan Crow Library on Thursday, October 16.

The question still in a holding pattern was who would be the honoree.

As the crowd filled the entry hall and spilled into the open living room overlooking the pool and grounds, the gals finally reported that Faye Briggs and Yvonne Crum would be the honorary co-chairs.

As for the honoree, there wouldn’t be one. Nope. There would be six – one for each decade since LFdM had been in the fundraising business for the likes of the World Council Affairs of Dallas/Fort Worth and Children’s Medical Center.

The six would be Virginia Chandler Dykes, Gina Ginsburg, Lynn McBee, Margaret McDermott, Pat Smith and Nina Vaca.

As for Ka and LL, they’re staying in Dallas, but they’re thinking of downsizing a bit and possibly building something.

Harvest Underwriters Reception

Nancy Gopez and Kristi Bare

Nancy Gopez and Kristi Bare

Closer to downtown Dallas, Harvest Co-Chairs Nancy Gopez and Kristi Bare were finding an overflow crowd including Maggie Kipp, Kate Rose Marquez, Kim and Justin Whitman, Danya Anderson and Connie Yates to recognize the recipients of the “Golden Fork Award” and the September 19th event’s underwriters.

Danya Anderson

Danya Anderson

Connie Yates

Connie Yates

The North Texas Food Bank fundraiser will take place at the newly renovated Shed 1 at the Dallas Farmers Market with food stations including goodies from area foodies Sharon Hage, Graham Dodds, Hibiscus, David McMillan, Robbie Lewis, Meddlesome Moth, Charles Miller, Place at Perry’s, Meaders Ozarow, Paula Lambert, Empire Baking Co., Dallas Mozzarella Company, Tida Pichakron, Haute Sweets Patisserie, Pierre Trevino and Pakpao.

Highlight of the evening will be the official presentation of the “Golden Fork” that’s really a plate. This year’s recipients are:

  • Hunger Ambassador of the Year — Bob Miller of The Dallas Morning News
  • Volunteer of the Year — Texas Second Chance
  • Lifetime Achievement — Janet and Phil Cobb and Ruthie and Jay Pack
  • Agency of the Year — Christian Community Action of Lewisville
  • Corporation of the Year — Wal-Mart

While Honorary Co-Chair Katherine Reeves was under the weather and MIA, Janet and Phil Cobb were doing double duty as honorary co-chairs and honorees.

Phil Cobb

Phil Cobb

Bob Miller

Bob Miller

Honoree Bob Miller came with Dallas Morning News gal pals Laura Jacobus and Cheryl Hall. Wife Shirley was home. Claimed she was slow moving. After all she’s 97 years old. A shocked friend voiced amazement. Then Bob fessed up that his “child bride” was still in her 70’s.

Speaking of at-home-wives, Kristi’s buddy Richard Eiseman came straight from work. Said wife Betsy was home “ailing” about being an empty nester. Someone laughed that Betsy still had one child at home – Richard.

But even before the plates and honorees were recognized on stage, Kristi had to dash off to Traffic LA where her Affair of Art client was partying. Only hitch? Kristi found herself along with Tiffany and Paul Divis doing what has become known as “Doing the Ritz” — waiting for extended period of time for vehicles.

Reality check: The Ritz porte cochere seems to have been designed for NYC traffic. The designer didn’t take into account that Texans rely heavily on their autos, especially SUVs,  more than mass transit or cabs. As one person commented, “It’s not the valets’ fault that it takes forever to get your car. But they’re the ones who always are stuck apologizing for the delay.”

Just In: Les Femmes Du Monde Reveals Six To Be Celebrated At Women Of The Year Awards Luncheon At Harlan Crow’s Library

The Les Femmes du Monde gals have been dropping hints of change in the air about their annual Woman of the Year Award L. Tonight the waiting ended and Luncheon Chair Regina Bruce and Les Femmes President Alyce Heinrich let the cat out of the bag. Or, rather they revealed a collection of impressive kittens at Ka and LL Cotter’s home. Instead of doing a solo honoree, they’re breaking with tradition and celebrating six outstanding women, each representing a decade of Les Femmes du Monde.

Drum roll, please.

Virginia Chandler Dykes (File photo)

Virginia Chandler Dykes (File photo)

Gina Ginsburg (File photo)

Gina Ginsburg (File photo)

Lynn McBee (File photo)

Lynn McBee (File photo)

Margaret McDermott (File photo)

Margaret McDermott (File photo)

Pat Smith (File photo)

Pat Smith (File photo)

Nina Vaca (File photo)

Nina Vaca (File photo)

The six are Virginia Chandler Dykes, Gina Ginsburg, Lynn McBee, Margaret McDermott, Pat Smith and Nina Vaca.

And to add to the “Wow!” factor, the Women of the Year Awards Luncheon will be at the Harlan Crow Library on Thursday, October 16, with Faye Briggs and Yvonne Crum as honorary co-chairs.

During Les Femmes du Monde’s 54 years, the organization has donated “more than $2M to the Dallas Council on World Affairs, now called the World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth and more than $670,000 to Children’s Medical Center.”

In the past the following women have been named Les Femmes du Monde’s Woman of the Year: Doris S. Dixon, Ruth Collins Sharp Altshuler, Caroline Rose Hunt, Annette Strauss, Vivian Castleberry, Mary Kay Ash, Ebby Halliday, Catherine Crier, Kay Bailey Hutchison, Laura Bush, Juanita Miller, Nancy Brinker, Gloria Campos, Florence Shapiro, Liz Minyard and Gretchen Minyard Williams, Karen Hughes, Billie Leigh Rippey, Dee Wyly, Anita Perry, Yvonne Crum, Geraldine “Tincy” Miller,Dr. Gail Thomas and Mary Lee Cox.

Along with sponsorship availability, ticket information is available at the Les Femmes du Monde website.

11th Airborne Division’s Jim Holzem Recalled Freeing WWII Prisoners At Les Femmes Du Monde’s July Soup And Salad

As part of Les Femmes du Monde‘s Soup and Salad Series, World War II vet and POW Jim Holzem was the guest speaker at the Tuesday, July 29 event. The series has really grown in popularity with Garland Cohlmia‘s home filled to the max including Tincy Miller, Regina Bruce and Les Femmes du Monde President Alyce Heinrich. Here’s a report from the field on Jim’s talk:

Alyce Heinrich, Jim Holzem and Garland Cohlmia

Alyce Heinrich, Jim Holzem and Garland Cohlmia

“The speaker, Jim Holzem, was a 92-year-old retired architect who graduated from Rice University and served with the 11th Airborne Division in World War II. He was fascinating and everyone just loved him.

“He was in high school when Pearl Harbor was attacked. He wanted to enlist in the Marines, but wasn’t 18. When he graduated from high school, he was drafted into the Army. When he was given an opportunity to join a paratroop group, he took advantage of it and joined the 11th Airborne, the only paratroop group to operate at that point.

“After basic, he was sent to the Pacific. The Japanese were brutal with prisoners. They had a huge prison in Manila area and they rounded up all of the families that were there, not only American, but families that were working there, missionaries, etc., all sorts of different people. There were so many, the prison didn’t hold them all. Japanese built another prison and transferred 3,000 of them to the new prison. As time went on the rations got less and less, people were sick and dying. Finally, the Japanese realized they were going to lose the war. They dug a huge long trench by the second prison which then held 2,147 prisoners. They were going to line them all up and kill them the next day. US Intelligence found out. The 11th Airborne parachuted in behind enemy lines and all of the prisoners were rescued. The rescue was never really publicized because at the same time, the four Marines were putting the flag up on Iwo Jima and media was focused on that.

“As the former prisoners were boarding the evacuation train, Jim had gone back into the prison and found a toy box. When he opened it up, there were two mini giraffes, which were obviously handmade. He put one in each pocket and brought them home.

“Since this story had not been publicized, The History Channel heard of it and started contacting the 11th Airborne. Half of them are now deceased. He and others collaborated with them and The History Channel published the story of the prisoners rescue.

“As Jim was being interviewed, he talked about the two giraffes that he had taken out of the toy box and put in his pockets. A lady who was one of the prisoners saw the program. She and her sister had played with those giraffes. For three years, that was all they had. Her mother had made those giraffes. She got in touch with Jim and asked him if there was any way she could get those back. He promptly mailed them to her.”

Les Femmes Du Monde’s Black Tie Gala Moved To Spring 2015

Les Femmes du Monde’s black-tie gala is still on, but at a different time of the year. Instead of the November 8th date at Prestonwood Country Club, it will be held in the spring. An exact date is still being picked.

Stay tuned.

Les Femmes Du Monde Reveals Regina Bruce To Chair Luncheon At Harlan Crow’s Library on October 16

Regina Bruce*

Regina Bruce*

The Kathy and Harlan Crow library (File photo)

The Kathy and Harlan Crow library (File photo)

As hinted before, those Les Femmes du Monde gals have been planning for their 60th anniversary. First Les Femmes President Alyce Heinrich has revealed that Regina Bruce will be chairing the October 16th fundraiser for the Child Life Program of the Children’s Medical Center Healthcare Organization and the International Education Program (IEP) of the World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth.

Instead of holding the luncheon at the mainstay places like Brook Hollow or Belo Mansion, the event will take place at Harlan Crow’s library. Quick refresher: When the Dallas honchos were impressing the Republican Convention scouts, Harlan’s “little library” was one of the OMG spots.

Since this year will mark Les Femmes’ six decades of supporting nonprofits, six women will be honored for helping to “make this organization [Les Femmes] and many non-profits in town successful, embracing education for members and youth, while at the same time, helping others in our community.”

* Photo credit: Dana Driensky

Les Femmes Du Monde Launches Summer Soup & Salad Series And Reveals Plans For Luncheon And Black-Tie Gala

The Les Femmes du Monde gals are holding a Soup and Salad Series this summer. They kicked off their first get-together at Olive Coe’s home on Thursday, May 29, with “tomato basil soup topped with parsley; baby spinach and mixed greens salad with walnuts, strawberries, mandarin oranges, feta cheese; homemade breads and rolls, varied selections from a gourmet cheese tray, sweet cakes topped with crème fraiche and raspberries and blueberries on the side.”

Alyce Heinrich, Olive Coe and Jim Falk*

Alyce Heinrich, Olive Coe and Jim Falk*

And while everyone knows the Les Femmes can hold their own when it comes to conversation, the lunches are featuring a speaker each session. For the first one it was World Affairs Council Dallas-Forth President/CEO Jim Falk, who spoke on “Evolution, Revolution and Commotion in North Africa.”

In addition to getting up to date on the situation in North Africa, the ladies also heard about plans for the Fall season’s fundraising efforts for the organization’s two projects — the Child Life Program of the Children’s Medical Center Healthcare Organization and the International Education Program (IEP) of the World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth.

Jane Winnett*

Jane Winnett*

On Thursday, October 16, the annual Woman of the Year will take place. But there’s been a slight change. No, make that a big change. Instead of honoring just one individual, they’re honoring “women who have helped make this organization and many nonprofits in town successful, embracing education for members and youth, while at the same time, helping others in our community.” So, there will be a name change to “Women of the Year.”

The location for the luncheon is under wraps for now. Stay tuned.

As for the Les Femmes’ black-tie gala, it will take place at Prestonwood Country Club on Saturday, November 8, with casino, cocktails, dancing, a seated dinner and floor show.

Now, back to the Soup and Salad series. The June lunch will take place Friday, June 27 from 11:30 to 2. The speaker will be the local legend of a speaker, Rose-Mary Rumbley. For information, contact Jane Winnett.

* Photo credit: Dana Driensky

Mary Lee Cox To Be Les Femmes Du Monde’s “Woman Of The Year” During Its 50th Anniversary Year

Billie Leigh Rippey, Mary Lee Cox and Yvonne Crum

Billie Leigh Rippey, Mary Lee Cox and Yvonne Crum

About 100 Les Femmes du Monde gals got together on June 24 at Faye Gould’s home to announce the 2013 Les Femmes du Monde Woman of the Year. With past recipients Billie Leigh Rippey and Yvonne Crum, it was announced that the 2013 recipient would be Mary Lee Cox.

Margaret LaRocca, Barbara Gary and Gwen Huff

Margaret LaRocca, Barbara Gary and Gwen Huff

Makes perfect sense to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Les Femmes with Mary Lee, since she’s been a prototype for the organization, having been president of “almost a dozen Dallas organizations, including the Women’s Council of the Dallas Arboretum, the Dallas Theater Center Guild, Dallas Southern Memorial Association, Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary, Friday Forum and in 1995 Les Femmes.”

Faye Gould, Therese Rourk, Olive Coe and Judy Birchfield

Faye Gould, Therese Rourk, Olive Coe and Judy Birchfield

With Les Femmes President Nancy Smith Becker, Olive Coe, Faye Gould, Marilyn Klepak and Mary Lee’s daughter, Therese Rourk, will chair the October 17 black tie gala at the Dallas Country Club that will benefit the Children’s Medical Center and the World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth.

Nancy Smith Becker

Nancy Smith Becker

Gala advisors include Ebby Halliday, Liz Minyard Lokey, Gretchen Minyard Williams and Florence Shapiro.

In addition to honoring Mary Lee, all “Woman of the Year” and Le Femmes past presidents will be honored including its founders/first two presidents Helen Storey and Dr. Joanne Stroud Bilby.

For more of Mary Lee’s list of accomplishments, follow the jump!

Photos provided by Les Femmes du Monde

[Read more…]

Dr. Gail Thomas Rose Above Technical Glitches Proving Why She Was Les Femmes Du Monde’s “Woman Of The Year”

The variety of folks who gathered at Belo Mansion Tuesday night to honor Trinity Trust President Dr. Gail Thomas was as broad as the Trinity. The occasion was Les Femmes du Monde‘s “Woman of the Year” dinner. In addition to city officials, community leaders and members of her Trinity Trust team, there were even neighbors from the days when she and husband Bob lived on Lorraine who had flown in from California and Florida to pay homage to the lady who continues to lead the massive development of the Trinity corridor.

(Standing, from left) Meg Henry Goulet, Lisa Hammack, Emily Summers, Gloria And Jack Hammack, Terri and John Hammack; (Seated, from left) Ann Henry Mulroy, Murray Henry and Dr. Gail and Bob Thomas

But despite the composed and classy honoree, whose list of accomplishments is not only lengthy but oh-so-well respected, there was a back-scene situation rumbling. It seems that the video/slide presentation that was so perfectly orchestrated and rehearsed last week was not behaving itself. Earlier in the afternoon Trinity Trust’s Tierney Kaufman had done a test just to make sure all things were in sync at Belo. First try didn’t work. Maybe it was Tierney’s computer, so another one was brought in. No luck. After more computers and attempts, it was apparent that flexibility was going to be the order of the night.

Now, that would have sent many folks to their bedrooms with a migraine. Ah, but Dr. Gail isn’t most folks. She welcomed one and all with the graciousness that redefined Southern charm.

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, Peter Payton, Gail Thomas and Janie Bush

Her morning walking buddy/1997 WOTY Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison could only stay for the cocktail reception/silent auction. There’s a policy in the Hutchison household that mom has to be home for dinner with the kiddos. Kay was so popular that people were waiting in line just to chat with her and/or have their picture taken with her.

When asked about her plans after the Senate, the outgoing Republican senator said, “I’ve been so busy, I haven’t had time to winnow all the opportunities there are. I definitely want to be here, in the professional/business world, and be around interesting people.”

Lynn and Allan McBee and Jocelyn White

Of course, there was girl talk. Upon arriving in a Lanvin black cocktail dress that she picked up during the 10 Best Dressed, Lynn McBee wanted to know where emcee Jocelyn White had gotten her form-fitting black lace cocktail dress. The answer: Elements.

Jill Rowlett, Dee Wyly, Carolyn and Bryant Tillery

Former WOTY recipient Dee Wyly was back in town after spending the summer in Colorado and attending a weekend wedding in Washington. . . Other former WOTYs in the crowd included Caroline Rose Hunt,  Billie Leigh Rippey and Yvonne Crum. . . Brenda and Nelson Spencer were catching up with Emily Summers and Nancy Marcus, who hosted Les Femmes du Monde’s patron party last week. . . World Affairs Council head honcho Jim Falk said he had just returned from Grand Rapids, where he interviewed former Mexican President Vincente Fox for the WAC of Western Michigan. It came out that the former president caused a stir when he said the U.S. should legalize drugs. . . Dr. Larry Allums, who succeeded Gail as the Dallas Institute executive director, said they’re planning another forum on sustainability.

Brenda and Nelson Spencer, Emily Summers and Nancy Cain Marcus

Following a seated dinner, Gail took her place at the podium. She opened with, “What a remarkable family reunion this is!” Looking out at the audience, she admitted that due to “technical issues,” the video and slide show weren’t working properly. With that admission and without notes or TelePrompter, she delivered a from-the-heart talk about how Dallas was not a city of the world in 1962, but now it is. She stressed how “love” was a vital ingredient to the city’s development and future growth saying, “A city that nourishes love has these traits:

  1. Education for the soul, not just economics,
  2. Good urban design and
  3. Nature . . . because 82% of all people on the planet today live in cities.   

It was at this point that Gail regretfully admitted that had the technical gods been smiling on them, she would have been able to show a wonderful, lively documentary by Judy Kelly.

Then she updated the audience on the various projects associated with the development of the Trinity — the opening of the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, the conversion of the Continental Avenue Bridge into a pedestrian bridge starting in December, the construction of the Margaret McDermott Bridge, the opening of Trinity Grove and a big event “coming up October 17th at the Four Corners, which is a beer brewery and we’d love for you to come. This opening of the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge showed us that Dallas wants to come together as a community. And all people — all sizes, all colors, all shapes — as Kathleen Raine said in this documentary, which you didn’t get to see . . . you know the people — black, white, drunk or sober [laughter] — we want all these people to come. We want everyone to come. We love our people. And Dallas, I think, has been a little too uptight. . . . and we need each other. We need community. And we need to embrace that spirit of community. And our young people need to live downtown and we’re creating places in downtown Dallas, where I hope  all of you [looking at her children and grandchildren] sitting right here in front of me will want to live. [laughter] You know, not in Highland Park, Bluffview where we live or where we have lived but downtown.”

Connie Rhoades

Following her talk, she was presented with her award by Gala Chair Markita Thompson and Les Femmes du Monde president Connie Rhoades. But before stepping down from the stage, Gail was surprised to learn that Les Femmes de Monde organizers had arranged for her to receive two proclamations — one from Gov. Rick Perry and one from Mayor Mike Rawlings.

Opening the governor’s proclamation for the first time, Markita was unable to read it because she didn’t have her glasses. Still, Markita reassured Gail and guests that the governor “was honoring Dr. Gail Thomas.”

Markita then introduced Mayor Rawling’s Chief of Staff Paula Blackmon to present the mayoral proclamation. Before handing the mic over to Paula, Markita added, “It’s a very special recognition for Dr. Gail and I got to help write it, so listen.”   

So, while the video and slide presentation may have not followed the POA, Gail’s grace-under-fire proved to this gathering of family and friends why she was indeed Les Femmes du Monde’s “Woman of the Year.”

Round Robin: Les Femmes Du Monde, TACA Silver Cup Announcement And TREC’s “Giving Gala”

Once again Thursday proved to be a test of making the rounds at Dallas area fundraisers. Here’s the rundown of what happened where with whom.

LES FEMMES DU MONDE PATRON PARTY

Nancy Cain Marcus

The cars were backed up in the driveway at Nancy Marcus’s fabulous estate Thursday for the Les Femmes du Monde patron party.  When you’ve got a draw like Les Femmes’ 2012 Woman of the Year/Trinity Trust President/Executive Director Dr. Gail Thomas, you’re going to have an amazing turnout.  Of course, just having the Thomas clan is sizeable. This time it was Gail in a marvelous taupe and brown Ralph Lauren cocktail jacket with  husband Bob Thomas, daughter Electra Harelson, son Stewart Thomas and daughter-in-law Michelle Thomas. Dotter Tori Mannes was on her way.

Michelle and Stewart Thomas, Gail and Bob Thomas and Electra Harelson

Bob was sporting a black splint under his jacket after a fall on Monday. Initially they thought he’d broken his arm, but after a second look it appeared that it was a nasty sprain. So, don’t be surprised if he opts for not shaking hands at the Tuesday night Les Femmes du Monde dinner at Belo Mansion.

While some thought Gail would take the year off after the opening of the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, they totally misjudged Gail. She’s been concentrating on getting work started on the conversion of the Continental Bridge into a pedestrian bridge. Construction gets underway in December.

Martha and Bob Gillikin

Speaking of her Trinity Trust mission, folks like Martha and Bob Gillikin and River Rat Ramrod Tierney Kaufman were on hand to honor Gail.

Talk of the night varied from the presidential debate the night before and the cold front preparing to invade Dallas this weekend.

TACA SILVER CUP ANNOUNCEMENT

Nancy Carlson, Roger Nanney and Peggy Sewell

The art lovers, both visual and performing types, gathered at Jennifer and John Eagle‘s home to learn who the 2013 TACA Silver Cup recipients would be. As reported earlier, they will be Peggy Sewell and Roger Nanney.

As guests drove the circular driveway, they couldn’t help but notice the :Ode to Matisse” sculpture by Tom Friedman in the elevated round grassy terrace. Jennifer revealed that, yes, it was made of steel but wrapped in roasting pans.

Maxwell Anderson and Jeremy Halbreich

With a “lifeguard”” posted on the dining room island warning guests not to fall in the pool/moat, everyone stayed dry. A couple recalled post occasions when an “oops” took place. Jeremy Halbreich told of a very very “proper” local attorney who was one of the Eagle pool victims.

Lee Papert, Jennifer and Doug Houser

Dallas Film Society’s Lee Papert was poolside with Jennifer and Doug Houser, who will be chairing the November 16th “Art of Film.” And who will be this year’s headliner guest? Even the threat of a splash in the pool couldn’t pry the news out of Lee, but he did reveal that Elvis Mitchell would be returning as the interviewer.

In the back of the Eagle home, John told Maxwell Anderson of the two eye portraits by John Holt Smith of his daughters Amanda, 15, and Alexandra, 28. When a nearby portable keyboard was draped with a sheet, John kidded that it was another piece of the family collection.

Actually, it was part of the surprise entertainment. TACA Executive Director Becky Young had arranged for members of the Turtle Creek Chorale to stand around and down the home’s spiral staircase and serenade the group.

Since TACA Chairman of the Board was unable to attend the event, Chair-elect Nancy Carlson took over the microphone to announce the recipients. She admitted that she had to refer to notes, since the accomplishments of both were so lengthy.

The lunch is at the Hilton Anatole on February 22, and chaired by perfectionists Jan Showers and Sharon Young.

THE REAL ESTATE COUNCIL’S “GIVING GALA”

Live auction for playhouses

Unlike Cattle Barons, The Real Estate Council‘s “Giving Gala” held its own in dealing with the weather. There was no rain nor mud, but there was wind and a lot of it.  How strong was the wind in the Hilton Anatole Sculpture Park? The huge screens on either side of the stage rippled throughout the speeches and the live auction of “pint-size playhouses” that sold for scads of money. At one point the lips of one poor woman in the video looked as if she was going to kiss the entire front row of tables in one massive sweep.

Pint-size Playhouse

The mini-mansions were built by members of TREC for the sole purpose of raising funds for the TREC Foundation. As each went up for bidding, so did the bidding with the Mousetrap going for $4,000, Jenga for $4,500, Jumanji for $7,000 and Candyland for $12,000.

Mark Gibson

Even headliner Chris Cagle came on stage early and got into the auction action: “If this goes for $5,000, I’ll take a picture in my underwear and my boots. … I’ll do the double-check dance.”

It went for $5,500 to TREC Chairman Mark Gibson, who was front and center but took a pass on the underwear, boots and double-check dance.

Chris Cagle

Then Chris and his crew took hold of the stage and the party continued into the night raising loads of money for The Real Estate Council Foundation’s good works in four key grant areas–housing, education, job creation and the environment.

MySweetCharity Opportunity: Les Femmes Du Monde

Connie Rhoades (File photo)

According to Les Femmes du Monde President Connie Rhoades:

Markita Thompson, Gala Chair, and I are so excited and honored to have Dr. Gail Thomas, President and CEO of The Trinity Trust Foundation, as our Woman of the Year.  We’ve all seen the stunning Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, but do you know about all the other plans in store for the Trinity River corridor?  Dr. Thomas is not only our Woman of the Year, but also our speaker for the gala.  Guests will hear all about the plans for the Trinity River and how Dallas is on its way to becoming a 21st-century city.

“All proceeds from the Gala will go to support our two beneficiaries – the Child Life Program at Children’s Medical Healthcare Organization and the International Education Program at World Affairs Council.  The Child Life program helps patients and their families cope with their medical condition.  They use art, music, and even pet therapy to take a child’s mind off of their being in a hospital environment.  Play rooms are provided where no medical personnel in white coats are allowed to enter – they are strictly for fun! Clowns drop in to lift spirits and field trips are taken to add a sense of normalcy for the patients. Child Life specialists use special dolls to illustrate how a procedure or surgery works. Once a child is ready to go back to school, Child Life specialists may go to the child’s school and explain to fellow classmates what has been happening with their friend so they will have a better understanding when their friend returns.  This wonderful program depends solely on contributions, and Les Femmes is happy to be a part of that.

“Our other program is the International Education Program of the World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth.  This program reaches over 30,000 students a year in over 92 school districts in our area.  Its goal is to give students and teachers the opportunity to know more about world events and how they affect us through all types of events and activities.  Teachers and students are invited to speaker events throughout the year at no charge. Visiting professionals, diplomats, authors, and politicians visit area schools at no cost.  At International Career Day, students learn about careers in international affairs, studying abroad, becoming a Fulbright Scholar, and organizations such as the Peace Corps. In this time of budget constraints in education, we realize how important this program is to these students and teachers and are glad we are able to help.

“Your support allows us to continue to help in funding these two programs. Our Gala will be held on Tuesday, October 9, at the beautiful Crescent Hotel Belo Mansion.  Starting at 6:30 we will have a cocktail reception with silent auction and raffle.  Dinner begins at 7:30, and our program and award presentation will begin at 8:30.  Sponsorship and Underwriting opportunities are available.  Individual tickets start at $250.00.  We would love to have you share this evening with us.  More information is available on our website:  www.lesfemmesdumonde.org or email us at [email protected]”