Just a year after Northwood Women’s Club President Vaughn Gross married her husband Tex Gross, the NWC was established by nine women, who wanted to contribute to their community while promoting social opportunities. Over the past 50 years, the membership has grown to such a size that they took over Venue Forty50 to celebrate the Club’s golden anniversary just before noon on Thursday, February 28.
Nothing was overlooked. The gentleman at the piano was Doug Montgomery. All types of “pulls” and raffle tickets were purchased to raise funds for the NWC Endowment for Callier Center Patient Care at Callier Center for Communication Disorders. And, of course, a lively live auction with package boasting such names as Fearing and Dirk had hands raised to the rafters. Here’s a report from the field:
With the north wind blowing incredibly cold weather on Thursday, February 28, the ladies of Northwood Woman’s Club pulled out their rarely used fur coats, determined to celebrate NWC’s 50th Anniversary Divinely Decadent Birthday Bash! Arriving at the venue, they were met outside by a very cold all-girl valet service who greeted the ladies including President-Elect Jan Folmar, Peggy Shuman, Judy Weigand, Sharon Protzman, Dottie Stafford, Sandy May, Lorna Burton Crocker, Barbara Riley and Ann Jobe with frozen but friendly smiles.
But inside, as the ladies dropped off their furs at the coat check, they walked into the warmth and excitement of what would be “a birthday party extraordinaire!”
And the purpose of this party is to give a gift rather than to receive one. This birthday bash culminates a year of fundraising by Northwood women. And this year is very special because NWC decided to choose only one major beneficiary. To honor the 50 years of Northwood women giving back to the Dallas community, NWC is establishing the NWC Endowment for Callier Center Patient Care at the Callier Center for Communications Disorders. By choosing to form a partnership with Callier (who matched all the money raised “dollar for dollar), and creating this endowment, Northwood ensures that its legacy will continue for at least another 50 years! This endowment will provide clinical care to patients of all ages who cannot afford treatment, giving them the ability to hear, speak, and connect with the world. Callier Center Executive Director Dr. Tom Campbell thanked all the Northwood women for their generous gift that will change the lives of so many people.
Also celebrating with Northwood and Dr. Campbell were Callier Center Foundation President Tricia George, Callier Senior Director of Development Justin Banta, Callier Director of Development Jennifer Fowler, Callier Board of Trustees Vice President-Development and External Relations Beth Thoele and Callier Board of Trustee Dr. Aaron Conley.
Now, back to the excitement! With a DJ playing music and a strolling magician trying to trick everyone, the party got underway with a whirlwind of fun ways for the guests to spend their money!
Judy Hitch and Carol Bratcher sold out of restaurant certificates within minutes of starting the Fork pull. And, of course, everyone bought tickets for the wine pull. And what woman can resist a beautiful purse? One of the most popular fund raising activities was purses galore … buying tickets to pick your favorite purse … and every purse contained $50 of NorthPark Gold. The purses were gone in an instant! And to go along with the purses, there was a Kendra Scott jewelry box pull. You could hear squeals of excitement as women compared the beautiful pieces of jewelry they won.
The Neiman Marcus Raffle raised thousands of dollars, because who can resist a chance to win a $5000 gift certificate?
One of the most heartwarming ways to raise money was “Fund Frannie,” the Callier mascot. Brenda Gaustad and Wynell Esson manned this area, as MC Deborah Ferguson (NBC 5) strongly encouraged everyone to spend, spend, spend!
But best of all was the live auction with auctioneer, Dean McCurry, rousing the crowd to spend as much money as he could get out of them. Some of the most excited bidding was for Mavericks Flagship Suite Tickets for 12 for the last home game Dirk Nowitzki would play with the Mavericks! Talk about frantic bidding! Everyone wants to be at this game! Needless to say, the package raised thousands of dollars!
And who could resist a personal evening of dining with Dallas celebrity chef Dean Fearing? Once again, the bidding was swift for this six-course dinner for four with wine pairings designed especially for Northwood by Dean Fearing.
Among the many people bidding during the fabulous live auction, Sharyl and John Weber, Sharon and Jim Pope, and Sherry and Ken Goldberg often found themselves bidding friends against friends! Oh well … it’s all for a great cause!
NWC President Vaughn Gross and her husband Tex Gross, along with former president Debor Cassen and her husband Jay Cassen helped to keep the bidding active and exciting by placing bids on many items.
And so the live auction continued with a Galveston Beach Home, a “Mountain High Getaway” at Crested Butte, CO (starting with a suggested bid of $10,000), a “Party in Place” Staycation in Dallas, and a Neiman Marcus New York Fashion Week Fantasy for 2.
There was very competitive bidding on the Double Italian Villa in Positano, Italy. A group of ladies at one table, led by Terry Crane decided to pool their money for this fabulous trip. Also, Stephen Saldanha surprised fiancée, Suzanne Caruso, with his successful bid on the New York Fashion Week Trip!
Once the Live Auction concluded, the entertainment began! The “Wizard of the Keyboard,” Doug Montgomery dazzled the guests with his music. Doug says that he “tells the stories of people’s lives” through the songs he plays. He invited every guest to write down a favorite song to give him to play … which he did … delighting everyone with such diverse tunes as the Bohemian Rhapsody all the way to songs by Frankie Valli. One of the chairs of the birthday bash, Ro Ewton danced to “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You” and ended up sitting on her husband, Maynard Ewton’s lap as the song ended!
And who can sit still when they hear Fire on the Mountain and Orange Blossom Special? Violinist, Elizabeth Young, got everyone to their feet with these rousing tunes … with lots of clapping going on! She also delighted the crowd with beautiful classical music.
Along with all the music, the silent and live auctions, there was wonderful food and beautiful decorations! There was a marvelous lunch, rounded off by an incredibly decorated birthday cake on each table. The cakes were nestled among gorgeous flowers created by Garden Gate. The flowers even matched the invitation and the program.
After visiting with every guest at the birthday bash, Vaughn concluded the Divinely Decadent Birthday Bash with a champagne toast, thanking everyone for their dedication to Northwood Woman’s Club. She especially thanked the three ladies who spent all last year preparing for this birthday party, the event chairs: Rosemarie Ewton, Pam Meyercord and Beth Sutera. These ladies did an amazing job!
* Photo provided by Northwood Woman's Club