Not all the news today is wonderful. One of Dallas’ legendary leaders died Tuesday, January 24 — former Mayor Robert “Bob” Folsom. His 89 years of life bridged generations with successes and accomplishments.
There were his years at SMU where he played football alongside Doak Walker and Kyle Rote and lettered in four sports (basketball, football, track and baseball). There was his more-than-successful career in real estate that provided a wealth of experience and knowledge that would serve as a catalyst later. There were his years on the Dallas Independent School District’s school board, where he was first a board member and then president. And there were the years (1976-1981) when he was mayor of Dallas, during which his business acumen helped him energize the community’s growth for both the corporate and nonprofit sector.
And the city and university recognized and saluted his contributions with numerous awards and acknowledgments: the SMU Edwin L. Cox School of Business Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1995, SMU Letterman’s Association Silver Anniversary Mustang Award in 1991, J. Erik Jonsson Aviation Award in 1990, Dallas Commercial Real Estate Hall of Fame – inductee in 1989, Entrepreneur of the Year – SMU School of Business in 1984, Headliner of the Year – Dallas Press Club in 1981, James K. Wilson Art Award – Contribution to the betterment of the arts in 1980, Distinguished Alumni Award of Southern Methodist University in 1975, and NCAA Silver Anniversary Award – College Athletics’ Top Ten in 1975.
It was only appropriate that the Robert S. Folsom Leadership Award was established by Methodist Health System Foundation “to recognize individuals whose demonstrate commitment and excellence in community leadership emulating the achievements of former Dallas Mayor Robert S. Folsom.”
But most importantly there was his family. From his marriage in 1949 to his “childhood sweetheart” the late Margaret Dalton Folsom to his three children (Steve Folsom, Diane Frank and Debbie Jarma) and their famlies, Bob knew he had the best in his life right at home. In turn, his children have carried on the legacy of giving back to the community and celebrating the greatness of Dallas.
* Photo courtesy of Methodist Health System Foundation