SPCA of Texas Senior VP of Development Debra Burns looked downright giddy at the front door of Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones’ home on Wednesday, September 12. And, she had every right to. After all, the Saturday, September 22, 2018 Fur Ball celebrating the SPCA’s 80th anniversary with former first couple Laura and George W. Bush was sold out. And, adding to the home-run effort was having the patron party at the Rees-Joneses’ place overlooking Turtle Creek and the Dallas Country Club.
Looking right at home in the living room were signs reading “Meow” and “SPCA”. Adding to the paw/claw momentum of the coming event was the SPCA’s signature color purple that many guests like Shane Walker and Maura Davies wore.
SPCA philanthropist Rusty Dealey championed the cause of felines and rabbits (he has five cats and two bunnies). On the other hand, his niece Beverly Dealey and her mom Pam Busbee represented pooch power in the discussion.
Phyllis Comu was back on the fundraising scene after battling cancer for a year and a half. She laughed that after a robot did the surgery, she looked a bit like a jigsaw puzzle. But she added that looks didn’t matter when it came to beating cancer.
Meantime, Jan Rees-Jones was showing guests a photo of her four-legged children. One had been adopted after being abused as a puppy. The brunette beauty’s blue eyes narrowed as she said, “And if I ever find out who did this to her…”
Also filling the house and terrace to capacity were Lynn and Peter Dauterman, Mary Jalonick, Katy and Lawrence Bock, CJ Comu, Cathy Veith, Karen Urie, Diane and Hal Brierley, Victoria Albrechet, SPCA Executive Director James Bias and Honorary Co-Chairs Laura and George W. Bush, who settled down on the couch with Joan and Larry Rogers.
For more details about the evening’s program, here’s a report from the field:
The former president and his wife were front and center as James kicked off the night’s festivities. He thanked Chair Cindy Lindsley, Co-Chair Jennifer Lindsley, Auction Chair Julia Howard and Auction Co-Chair Sandra Fite for their tremendous work and effort on making Fur Ball 2018, celebrating the organization’s 80th anniversary, the best yet.
Next to offer thanks to the gracious hosts as well as the auction committee and host committee was Fur Ball 2018 Chair Cindy Lindsley. As she thanked Fur Ball 80th Anniversary Sponsors, Dr. Larry and Mrs. Joan Rogers, Larry surprised everyone with a check presentation, handing his $80,000 check to Mr. Bias. He jokingly admonished the SPCA of Texas to cash the check as soon as possible, adding: “If one has more than they really need, then give part of it away so as to enjoy the pleasure of giving while still alive.”
Next up was Debra Burns, who checked in with President Bush on his very own SPCA of Texas rescue pup, Freddy. Joking with the president, she asked how many shoes the shepherd mix had chewed up. Debra also thanked Fur Ball 2018 Emcee, NBC 5 News Anchor Brian Curtis. Brian thanked Jan and Trevor, adding that their support of the SPCA of Texas helped make possible his eighth shelter adoption, of his beloved dog Ocho.
The night’s surprises didn’t stop there. Jaws dropped as none other than Emmitt Smith, the former Dallas Cowboys running back, also joined the intimate celebration. Even President Bush stopped to shake the Hall of Famer’s hand before heading home for the evening.
Guests chatted and wandered through the gorgeous home, examining the exquisite artifacts and art highlighting the history of the West, while enjoying samplings of delightful nibbles, including a fire roasted crudité in petit savory cones, tomato bruschetta cucumber cups and jalapeno pimento cheese pretzel bites. Guests also dined on light bites, including mini crab cakes with Aioli sauce, grilled beef tenderloin sliders with creamy horseradish and cornbread chicken lollipops from the buffet. Assorted petit sweets and chocolate dipped berries polished off the decadent menu, all thanks to Preston Hollow Catering.
The SPCA of Texas is grateful to the hosts for welcoming the cheerful crowd into their home, which was decorated with various beautiful, earthy and exotic purple flowers and stunning greenery provided by Flower Reign by Shane Walker. The crowd also enjoyed the scenic, tranquil views from the Rees-Jones’ expansive, wrap-around patio. The calming sounds of a breathtaking fountain feature added to the ambiance as they sipped on white wine, champagne and the signature drink of the evening, Tito’s Greyhound, with a fresh lemon wedge and garnished with a sprig of rosemary, provided by Tito’s Handmade Vodka. All the while, they perused the featured live auction items for the Fur Ball.
The star-studded evening wrapped up with one final surprise from Joan Rogers. She gave the evening’s talented pianist, Kevin Sutton, a break and graced everyone with a performance of her own, playing several songs from memory as her fingers danced across the keys of the Steinway & Sons Grand Piano.
* Photo provided by SPCA of Texas