1918 – 2018
Edith McAllister died peacefully in her sleep July 1, 2018 at the age of 100. Cause of death was congestive heart failure.
Edith was generally described as a “philanthropist,” but was also known as a great beauty, an accomplished dancer, a gracious entertainer, an animal lover, and a remarkable fund-raiser/ problem solver/ trustee for a long list of community organizations.
Born in Madisonville, Texas to Rosa Wilson and Reece W. Scott, she also lived in Davenport, Iowa before her father moved the family to San Antonio so that he could develop the Hot Wells Hotel and Spa, a venture that fell victim to the Great Depression.
Edith was married to Walter W. McAllister, Jr., son of Walter W. McAllister, Sr., the beloved five term Mayor of San Antonio. Edith and Walter, Jr. met at Jefferson High School in 1933 and were married seven years later. They had four children: Walter III (“Bo”), Taddy, Reagin, and Eloise.
Walter, Jr. was the long-time President and later Chairman of the Board of San Antonio Savings Association, a company founded by the Mayor. Not content to be merely a stay-at-home mother, Brownie troop leader, and President of the PTA, Edith began doing volunteer work with the Junior League. She soon expanded her efforts to the San Antonio Art League, the San Antonio Symphony, the Battle of Flowers Association, the Children’s Service Bureau and the San Antonio Art Institute, to name a few.
With experience came a string of “firsts,” including being the first woman on the Boy Scouts board and the first woman in the United States to be a Campaign Chairman for the United Way. She was a founder of the Southwest Craft Center, now the Southwest School of Art, and its Club Giraud; a founder of the Cancer Therapy and Research Center, now part of the UT Health Science Center; and the founding chairman of the advisory board for the Center for Medical Humanities and Ethics. She also served on the Centennial Commission for UT-Austin and was the Vice Chairman of the UTSA Development Board for 20 years. As a passionate lover of animals, she was pleased to serve on the Board of the UT Marine Science Institute in Port Aransas, whose Animal Rehabilitation facility was named in her honor. At her busiest, Edith served simultaneously on 22 boards and was honored countless times by local groups.
She always said that she was “born happy,” and this quality, along with her intelligence, courage, equanimity, curiosity, tolerance and above all, energy, attracted many admirers. She danced until the band stopped, swam every morning regardless of weather, and slalom water skied through her 92nd summer. Her Christmas party for community leaders and old friends held every year on December 21 was an institution. Her generosity of spirit, bright eyes and beautiful smile will be missed.
Edith is survived by her four children, their spouses, seven grandchildren, and eleven great-grandchildren.
Memorials may be made to the Southwest School of Art, 300 Augusta St., 78205, the San Antonio Symphony, P.O. Box 658, 78293, The ARK, UTMSI, 750 Channel View, Port Aransas 78373, or the charity of your choice.