Maryann Mihalopoulos was a driving power in Dallas fundraising

Friday afternoon, officials of Cristo Rey Dallas College Prep lower the ribbon on the school’s…

Friday afternoon, officials of Cristo Rey Dallas College Prep lower the ribbon on the school’s new $14.5 million Innovation Heart, which incorporates a gymnasium, arts classrooms, a eating facility, and counseling and administrative places of work.

It completes the school’s current development program and is the crown jewel of its Pleasurable Grove campus, according to Richard Joyner, chair of the school’s board.

But it was also a bittersweet second for a college acknowledged for its function-study courses for underserved college students.

Maryann Sarris Mihalopoulos, a driving force in raising cash for the key addition, wasn’t there. The effectively-known Dallas attorney and philanthropist experienced died considerably less than a week previously from issues pursuing sudden cardiac arrest in September.

“Maryann gave us big momentum,” mentioned Joyner, president of Tolleson Wealth Management. “She brought in so several new people into the Cristo Rey neighborhood, it would have been definitely difficult for us to complete that building without having her.

“It’s tough for me to describe how impactful she was to the complete college community.”

Joyner lately appointed Mihalopoulos to chair the search committee for a new Cristo Rey president.

“She experienced big energy,” he reported. “Always favourable and optimistic. Never experienced a hard time building decisions. Had excellent instincts about everything. What a ball of existence. Glowing persona. This is so unfortunate.”

Mihalopoulos, who was 60, wasn’t an individual you’d assume to have heart difficulties. She was in good shape and an avid walker.

But on Sept. 10, she was sitting at her business office desk when she obtained up to show a young lawyer colleague a photograph on her cellphone. She explained she felt faint, then collapsed. She invested 6 months in intensive care at Baylor University Healthcare facility ahead of dying on Oct. 24, surrounded by beloved types.

“It was a total shock,” reported Reena Morris, a shut friend considering that childhood. “Due to the fact she’d created it 6 weeks, we considered she’d turned the corner.

“Maryann was the glue for all of us. I inform all people, ‘She was the bus driver, and we were the passengers on her bus.’ She informed everyone what to do, and we all did it.

“She was a fighter. She was fierce. I usually claimed, ‘Don’t at any time undervalue Maryann.’

“She cherished entertaining. She could normally come across an excuse to throw a get together.”

‘Mr. Maryann’

Her premature demise shocked Dallas’ business, religious and philanthropic communities. For many years, she and her partner, Frank, have been the go-to few for finding factors carried out.

Mihalopoulos was an alumna of The Hockaday School and Southern Methodist College and the guide identify of Brousseau Naftis & Massingill. Brousseau was the identify of her very first husband, and her qualified identity was recognized in advance of her marriage 26 decades ago to Frank Mihalopoulos, a Dallas real estate developer.

Frank appreciated to simply call himself “Mr. Maryann” since any time they went to an event, she dispatched him to operate the home when she built a beeline to the person who essential her support the most.

She was multidimensional and a consummate multitasker.

Maryann was the to start with and only girl president of the board of trustees at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Dallas, serving from 1990 to 1993.

She was on the church council in the late 1980s when it resolved to go from Swiss Avenue in East Dallas to Hillcrest and Alpha roads in Significantly North Dallas.

“Imagine in a Greek group exactly where women of all ages really do not typically fill some of these critical roles,” claimed Morris, a fellow church parishioner. “Maryann overfilled them.”

She and Frank turned the Greek Food stuff Festival into one particular of Dallas’ most common once-a-year activities.

The Rev. Mark Pakes and Maryann were contemporaries increasing up at Holy Trinity. She adopted the direct of her mom and dad, who ended up devoted to the church not only monetarily but in skills and time, Pakes mentioned. “Maryann did so a lot for the church, things we know about, as perfectly as assist for parish initiatives that we never know about,” he reported.

Wicked smart, folks competencies

In accordance to Maryann’s biography on the regulation firm’s web page, her favored quote was: “Remember the 3 A’s: capacity, availability, and affability.” It was a declaring she adopted from her father that served as a reminder to do her ideal academically and skillfully whilst staying available and pleasant with every person she fulfilled. Schooling may possibly make for a decent lawyer, but it took people today techniques to treatment for clients.

I initial interviewed Mihalopoulos in 2007, when she experienced a profitable aspect hustle marketing aroma sticks. She named the goods Xela, which is Greek for wooden sticks and Alex, the title of her eldest daughter, spelled backward. She figured the identify was divine intervention.

The final time I interviewed her was a few many years back when I wrote a profile of Karen Katz, who was retiring as CEO of Neiman-Marcus.

Katz considers herself blessed to have been 1 of Mihalopoulos’ most effective buddies. Their bond was founded 25 several years in the past, when both of those had sons commencing to start with grade at St. Mark’s University of Texas.

Karen Katz (left), retired CEO of Neiman-Marcus, with Maryann Mihalopoulos.
Karen Katz (left), retired CEO of Neiman-Marcus, with Maryann Mihalopoulos.(Owen Kolasinski/ / Owen Kolasinski/

“She was wicked clever, nonetheless she was pragmatic,” Katz said. “That combination produced her a actually outstanding thinker.

“Her family meant almost everything to her — both her extended relatives and her nuclear family. I feel so lucky to have been aspect of that.”

In addition to Frank, Mihalopoulos is survived by her three small children, Alexandra Sarris Halbardier, Arthur Tingay Brousseau and Meredith Foster Mihalopoulos, and two grandchildren. She is also survived by her mother, Linda Foster Sarris, and her sister, Thalia Sarris, and her loved ones.

Mihalopoulos was previously a trustee of Hockaday when Jeanne Whitman Bobbitt joined the non-public girls’ university as headmistress in 2004. They turned shut friends and confidantes.

“Maryann was absolutely, cheerfully and pragmatically relentless in her help of the city, important causes and instruction for anyone, particularly women,” Whitman Bobbitt explained. “I seemed at the picture that ran in the obit — a bit sardonic with just a minimal ‘who-are-you kidding’ smile. She would get this sort of a kick to hear that people are talking so positively about her.”

Whitman Bobbitt has a exclusive memory from 2011.

She and Mihalopoulos, who was chairing the school’s centennial marketing campaign at the time, were on the auditorium stage even though philanthropist Lyda Hill was spinning yarns about her lifelong association with her alma mater.

The expectation was that Hill would announce a $10 million reward to the faculty.

Whitman Bobbitt had gotten wind that a more substantial reward might be in the offing.

“But Maryann didn’t know that,” Whitman Bobbitt claimed. “When Lyda designed the announcement that she was doubling her reward to $20 million, Maryann was flat-out shocked. She was dumbfounded, and I was overwhelmed with joy. It was an amazing instant.”

Personnel author Maria Halkias, who is a parishioner of Holy Trinity, contributed to this column.

Maryann Mihalopoulos' family includes (from left) son Arthur Brousseau, youngest daughter Meredith Mihalopoulos, oldest daughter Alexandra Brousseau Halbardier holding grandson Louis Halbardier, son-in-law Ford Halbardier, Maryann and husband Frank.
Maryann Mihalopoulos’ loved ones features (from remaining) son Arthur Brousseau, youngest daughter Meredith Mihalopoulos, oldest daughter Alexandra Brousseau Halbardier holding grandson Louis Halbardier, son-in-regulation Ford Halbardier, Maryann and spouse Frank.(Courtesy of Mihalopoulos relatives)

An previously model improperly referenced a preceding identify of Maryann Milhalopous’s regulation firm.