Attending even half the social events in Dallas would be like a full-time job.
For Agness Robertson, it was just that.
For nearly 20 years, Agness was the People Newspapers’ society editor. Along with her photographer husband, Tom, the two often attended up to five events a day.
Her weekly columns, which were all branded with a caricature of her and Tom, detailed exactly what happened at those events; from what someone wore to what the small talk was, she knew it all.
Tom took the pictures – Agness covered everything else. They were a staple not only to the newspaper but also to Dallas society.
“We were constantly on the go,” Agness explained. “We enjoyed all the events. It was all work, but to me it was fun.”
With so many events under their belts, the Robertsons developed quite the portfolio of friends. People such as Gene and Jerry Jones, George and Laura Bush, and the Staubach family became some of their closest friends. Although Tom died in 2006, the friendships they made live on through Agness.
On May 13, friends gathered to celebrate her 100th birthday. It was clear Agness was still an adored member of society as former coworkers and big names filled the dining room at her residence at The Reserve at North Dallas senior living facility.
Some in attendance included: Cindy and Chuck Gummer, Malcolm Reuben (who she described as a “really sweet potato”), Suzanne Bock Grishman, Lynn Dealey, Pat Martin, Yvonne Crum, Mary and Leonard Critcher, Helen Martin, Ann Alexander, and Jo Ann Holt.
Even at 100 years old, Agness is an energetic social butterfly with her wits about her.
“Isn’t that something? And I can walk!” Agness said.
Lynn Dealey, Dallas philanthropist and professional illustrator, said the party was a “reunion of longtime friends, family, newspaper coworkers, writers, PR people, media people, society friends, a few residents, sweet aides, and also neighbors from the old Royalton neighborhood.
“Everyone waited their turn to speak to the queen for a day, perched in a tall chair in the beautiful Reserve dining room,” Dealey said. “Agness was alert, excited, and so touched with every hug and greeting. She never got tired! She loved her party. She would emit a loud, ‘Oh my, oh!’ when she would be greeted by an old friend she’d not seen in years.”
Dealey said Agness continues to be a “treasure” in her life.
“She is full of life, still, even with the aches and pains of 100 years on earth. I wonder if she’s so bright because she keeps her mind active and stimulated, or the other way around.
“Even now, living a protected life in her retirement home, she constantly surprises me by knowing more dish about Dallas than I do. She is just plain interested. For her to be 100 and still the same, it’s just amazing.”
People Newspapers’ Publisher Pat Martin reminisced on Agness’ time working at the paper.
“There are several folks who are super loyal to her,” Martin said. “She was sassy in her columns, but she did it in a way that wasn’t offensive.
“She knew who did what and who was who. People would say, ‘Oh my gosh, I love Tom and Agness!’ They were just a staple of the paper.”
Despite not being able to attend events anymore, Agness makes sure she stays updated on what’s happening in the society world. Because she is now blind, a friend comes to read for her the latest newspapers and magazines every week.
And of course, people like Gene and Jerry Jones still send letters and drop in from time to time.