We begin a new year without one of our greatest residents. For decades, Ruth Altshuler worked to make our community better, raising millions for the Salvation Army and other charitable organizations and leading preparations for Dallas’ observance of the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
Her journey to become one of Dallas’ most important civic leaders and philanthropists began in her 20s. She said her early work with the Junior League of Dallas opened her eyes to the great needs in the community.
“I did not choose volunteering and philanthropy. It chose me,” she told D CEO for the magazine’s Dallas 500 Living Legends special section.
Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks and U.S. presidents are glad about that.
“Dallas will be forever grateful for her generosity,” tweeted former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman after news of Altshuler’s passing.
She died Dec. 8 at age 93.
George W. and Laura Bush spoke affectionately of Altshuler in a statement released through their spokesperson.
“Ruth taught us the lessons of philanthropy, service, and friendship,” the former president and first lady said. “She was charming, humble, talented, generous, and funny.
“We loved being with her, and we will miss her.”
While Dallas will miss Altshuler, we can be thankful for other civic leaders who have learned and applied her lessons of service and generosity.
Fittingly, weeks before Altshuler’s death, we at People Newspapers had already chosen to recognize such a leader as our Person of the Year.
Like Altshuler, Lynn McBee joined the Junior League in her 20s and took on increasingly greater challenges and projects through the years. She’s known for her deep devotion and care for those she serves. [Read more about her here].
But never think that the contributions made by the Altshulers and McBees among us are so great that there isn’t more for the rest of us to do.
We don’t have to become Dallas legends to join them in helping others and improving our community.
As Altshuler said, “There are never enough volunteers.”