Women in Tyler celebrated eight honorees

TYLER (KYTX) - The Women in Tyler Planning Committee honored the 2013 honorees, "Women Who Do Amazing Things," today at a luncheon held at the Rose Garden Center.

Women in Tyler was founded in 1999 as a way to celebrate Women's History Month and to honor women who have contributed to the quality of life in our community.  Each year, a planning committee has gathered to select women who are then honored at a celebratory luncheon held each March.  

"This year we are recognizing women, from all walks of life, who do amazing things," said Jackie DeNoyelles, event co-chair. "Tyler is blessed to have such a diverse community of talented, giving, and hard working women worthy of this special honor."

Past honorees have included women who have made their mark in the arts, in business, through volunteerism, in historic preservation, health care, education and many other areas.

The 2013 honorees are:

Martha Berry – A nationally acclaimed Indian bead artist. She is a registered tribal citizen of the Cherokee Nation and taught herself the lost art of beadwork. She is exhibited in galleries and museums around the country and divides her time between research and creating beadwork that is inspired by the styles of the Southeastern Woodland Native American Indians.

Dr. Jeanette Deas Calhoun – An extraordinary community volunteer as well as Executive Director for Tyler AIDS Services. She has a master's degree in counseling and a doctorate in administrative services which made her the ideal candidate for leading the AIDS Services in Tyler. Among her many accomplishments since moving to Tyler with her husband, Dr. Kirk Calhoun, is her role as the founding chair of Jack and Jill of East Texas.

Betty Edwards – Leads the North Tyler Day Nursery which has been serving Tyler for 74 years to provide a safe, clean and educational day care for working parents and parents attending Texas College.

Dawn Franks – President and CEO of Fourth Partner Foundation where she works primarily with individuals, couples and families interested in philanthropic giving in Tyler. She also serves as the executive director of the Ben and Maytee Fisch Foundation. Dawn was co-founder of the East Texas Crisis Center and served as its executive director for 15 years and also served five years
as the president of the United Way of Tyler/Smith County.

Mary Ann Girard – Under her leadership, she has made Champions for Children a premier early childhood center that is recognized across the state for is quality pre-school curriculum. Ms. Girard was the primary author and developer of these effective therapeutic techniques that are used throughout Texas.

Christy Roach – Grew up two blocks from Douglas Elementary School and dreamed of going to college and becoming a teacher at Douglas. She did earn a bachelor's and got the opportunity to teach third grade at Douglas. After completing her Masters of Education at UT Tyler, she was promoted to assistant principal. She has now been the principal for five years and is making a difference in the lives of her students.

Ella Tucker – Dazzles her fellow church members with her extensive hat collection. Ella's hat collecting began when she was 12 – wearing her first hat to Easter service. By the time she was 18, she was a serious collector. Now she owns more than 200 hats which fill up most of her closets and some of her rooms. One of her most extraordinary hats was captured by the Tyler Morning Telegraph in April of this year in an article titled Hattitude. That hat is almost as big as Ms. Tucker herself!

Dr. Syntha West – An alumnae of Baylor University, Dr. West was a head majorette for its band. Today, she hasn't let go of that ability and continues to perform at Baylor homecomings, even at age 73. Dr. West is also a counselor and helps children caught between divorcing parents. She taught for 36 years in the public schools before going into private practice. In 2008, Dr. West was crowned Ms. Texas Senior America as well as Ms. Congeniality. She continues to travel the state giving motivational speeches and entertaining groups with her music and twirling.


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