Dallas County Medical Society Alliance And The Aldredge House To Hold Double Centennial Celebrations With Historic Marker And Luncheon

Margaret McDermott (File photo)

What were you doing 100 years ago? Probably the only one who could answer that is Margaret McDermott, who just celebrated her 105th birthday on February 18. It was when she was a five-year old living in Dallas that two totally different undertakings launched.

First, a stately mansion joined the other grand residences along Swiss Avenue. Taking two years to build by Dallasite Willie (Newberry) and her West Texas rancher husband William J. Lewis, the English Georgian/French Renaissance residence was designed by architects Hal Thomson and Marion Fooshee. Four years later the home was purchased by Rena (Munger) and her husband/banker George N. Aldredge, resulting in the residence being called “The Aldredge House.”

The Aldredge House*

Remember, at this time the population of Dallas was less than 158,000. The Park Cities was just a development in progress and considered by many to be a suburb of Dallas. The Highland Park Village wouldn’t open for 14 more years. Since there was no such thing as air conditioning, these showplaces that fronted Swiss had large windows that would allow the air to flow and fireplaces to warm the rooms with their tall ceilings. Word has it that Swiss Avenue was one of the first to be paved.

The Aldredge House*

Ironically, the same year that the Lewises moved into their home, the Woman’s Auxiliary to the Dallas County Medical Society was established. What most folks don’t know is that it “was the very first permanent woman’s county medical auxiliary in the nation, organized by a group of Dallas doctor’s wives. Mrs. John McReynolds was elected president and the group voted to support Red Cross work.”

Other auxiliaries sprung up throughout the country using the Dallas organization as the model. Over the years, the Dallas auxiliary grew both in membership and mission of supporting the Dallas County medical community. Eventually the name was changed to Dallas County Medical Society Alliance Foundation (DCMSAF).

Rena Munger Aldredge*

Lindalyn Adams (File photo)

It was in the early 1970s that Rena and the Foundation found each other. The 80ish widow of George Aldredge had decided to give her mansion to a nonprofit to “preserve her home and to maintain it as a welcoming part of the Dallas community.” It just so happened that DCMSAF President/historical preservationist Lindalyn Adams was seeking a permanent home for the Auxiliary at the same time. The match was made!

The grand lady on Swiss entered a new phase of life. In addition to serving as home base for the Foundation, it was also the Kappa Alpha Theta show house and provided interior scenes for the TV show “Dallas,” as well as serving as a meeting place for the Auxiliary. In 1982, the House was recognized as a Record Texas Historic Landmark.

But over the years, the old gal needed updating and upkeep and that required funding. So after various efforts, the Auxiliary realized that they had a perfect opportunity to fund-raise coming up — the Double Centennial Celebrations of the Auxiliary and the House!

Such a momentous celebration deserved more than just one event to raise monies and awareness.

According to Foundation President Barenda Hino, “The DCMSA Foundation is seeking community support, so they can continue to preserve the rich heritage of this magnificent house.”

To kick the double centennial activities off, the official Texas Historical Marker will be dedicated at Aldredge House on Wednesday, April 5, with city, county and Medical Society leaders taking part.

The second event will be a luncheon taking place on Tuesday, May 16, at the Dallas County Club.

Barenda has arranged for Sharon and Mike McCullough to serve as co-chairs of the luncheon’s Advisory Host Committee “because of their belief in historic preservation, its importance in an ever-changing society and their great respect for the outstanding preservation of the Aldredge House by the Medical Alliance.”

Mike and Sharon McCullough (File photo)

Ruth Altshuler (File photo)

Lindalyn, who arranged for the Foundation’s acquisition of Aldredge House, and noted author/White House historian Dr. William Seale will be co-chairing the luncheon. Serving as honor co-chairs will be Ruth Altshuler and Margaret McDermott.

Tickets to the luncheon are available by calling 214.521.4108. If you can’t make it to the fundraiser, you can still donate to The Aldredge House Preservation Fund.  

* Photo courtesy of Dallas County Medical Society Auxiliary Foundation

Callier Cares Saluted An Attorney And A Doctor Plus A Mom Helped By Callier Center For Communication Disorders And “Hope”

Being a parent doesn’t offer much if one looks at it as a career choice. The hours are a nightmare — 24 hours a day, 365 days a year for a lifetime. There are no raises, vacations or promotions. Working conditions are rugged. Rarely do you have time to yourself. You are likely to graduate from baby spit-ups to staying up all night waiting for your “child” to make it home safely from a date.

Still the longterm benefits are worth it all — grandchildren, hugs and the smiles that grow with the years. The good news is that over the years, the kids do “grow up” and act…well, like grown-ups.

But there are parents who may not look forward to such self-sufficiency and rewards since their children have autism and, depending upon the degree, may be dependent upon their parents all their lives.

Rhoni Golden

Rhoni Golden

That situation became very apparent at Brook Hollow on Thursday, April 30, as Callier Cares Luncheon speaker Rhoni Golden told of the life journey that she, her husband and three children have taken with 9-year-old son Gray, who was severely autistic. As a former physical therapist, Rhoni and her husband aggressively sought help in dealing with Gray’s situation. She told of countless attempts to discover, diagnose and make the best choices for Gray.

Time and again, their efforts were fruitless and frustrating.

One of their chief concerns was their ability to communicate with Gray in any form. It was Callier Center for Communication Disorders that helped the Golden family work through it. After experiencing healthcare providers and organizations that seemed to just go through the motions, she realized that they needed professionals who had both a passion to assist and a track record of success. She found that combination at Callier, so much so that she ended up joining the board and becoming an advocate.

Another turning point in the Golden family was the arrival of Hope, an autism service dog. Literally tethered together with Hope, Gray was able to “join the family on community outings so that everyone enjoyed themselves.”

In conclusion, Rhoni admitted that her family was not a happily-ever-after story. But with the pride of a warrior, she told that her family had dinner at a restaurant without a problem recently. In their world that was better than a straight A report card.

Sharon McCullough and Marilyn Augur

Sharon McCullough and Marilyn Augur

Libby Hunt

Libby Hunt

For those in the audience like Honorary Chair Marilyn Augur, Event Chair Tiffany Divis, Ruth and Ken Altshuler, Linda Custard, Sara Martineau, Tucean and David Webb, Leslie Diers, Christie Carter, Mary Clare Finney, Heather Furniss, Nancy Hunt and daughter Libby Allred, Elizabeth Fischer and mom Gail Fischer, Patricia Meadows, Jennifer and Coley Clark, Michal Powell, Wanda Farr and Bert Moore, Rhoni was a hero.

Another hero was attorney Mike McCullough, who graciously accepted the Ruth and Ken Altshuler Callier Care Award. Having been involved with Callier since its inception in 1963, Mike thanked the Altshulers for their countless contributions to the community, the Callier team, his firm and his family.

Ken and Ruth Altshuler and Mike McCullough

Ken and Ruth Altshuler and Mike McCullough

Tom Campbell and Laurence Leonard

Tom Campbell and Laurence Leonard

Another hero was Dr. Laurence Leonard of Purdue University, who received the 2015 Callier Prize for his work with children and was called a “leading scholar and prolific scientist in the study of children with specific language impairment, a language disorder that delays the mastery of language skills in children who have no hearing loss or significant delays in other developmental areas.”

For more photos, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.