Bushes React to Death of Ruth Altshuler

FROM LEFT: Ruth Altshuler stands with Pi Beta Phi grand president Paula Shepherd in 2015.

UPDATE: A live webcast of a memorial service Thursday to honor renowned civic and philanthropic leader Ruth Altshuler will be available at smu.edu/live.

Ruth Altshuler, a Dallas icon of leadership and philanthropy, died Friday at age 93.

News of her death drew reaction from the likes of the Bushes, Troy Aikman, and former Dallas Police Chief David Brown, who tweeted, “Our prayers are with her.”

Former President George W. Bush and former First Lady Laura Bush issued a statement on Saturday.

“We are heartbroken by the loss of our dear friend, Ruth Altshuler,” they said. “Dallas has lost an outstanding civic leader in Ruth. Ruth taught us the lessons of philanthropy, service, and friendship. She was charming, humble, talented, generous, and funny. We loved being with her, and we will miss her.”

Aikman, the former Dallas Cowboys quarterback and current Fox Sports analysts, took to Twitter, calling her an amazing woman.

“Dallas lost an icon in Ruth Altshuler,” he said. “Dallas will be forever grateful for her generosity.”

According to news reports, she died at UT Southwestern Medical Center of complications from falling and breaking her hip in October. A service will be at 2 p.m. Thursday at Highland Park United Methodist Church, followed by a reception in the Margaret Mack Ballroom at the Umphrey Lee Center at SMU.

Altshuler has long been recognized as one of Dallas’ most important philanthropists, 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.

She was the longest serving member of the board of trustees for her university, SMU, which describes her online as an “iconic pioneer of campus involvement” with a “distinctive record of imparting inspiration to the SMU community and presenting tireless service at national, state, and civic levels.”

She was listed among D CEO’s Dallas 500 Living Legends.

“I did not choose volunteering and philanthropy,” she told the magazine. “It chose me.”

“There are never enough volunteers,” she said.

She was honored by the national chapter of her sorority, Pi Beta Phi, with the Member of Distinction award in 2015, and received many other awards in recognition of her volunteer work and leadership.

William Taylor

William Taylor, editor of Park Cities People and Preston Hollow People, shares a name and a birthday with his dad and a love for community journalism with his colleagues at People Newspapers. He joined the staff in 2016 after more than 25 years working for daily newspapers in such places as Alexandria, Louisiana; Baton Rouge; McKinney; San Angelo; and Sherman, though not in anywhere near that order. A city manager once told him that “city government is the best government” because of its potential to improve the lives of its residents. William still enjoys covering municipal government and many other topics. Follow him on Twitter @Seminarydropout. He apologizes in advance to the Joneses for any angry Tweets that might slip out about the Dallas Cowboys during the NFL season. You also can reach him at [email protected]. For the latest news, click here to sign up for our newsletter.

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