Yellow Rose Gala Blooms Again

Preeminent gala returns to Dallas charity circuit in memory of fearless philanthropist

Preeminent Dallas gala returns in memory of fearless philanthropist

Yellow Rose Gala, Dee Wynne
Yellow Rose Gala founder Dee Wynne, around the time she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1985. Photo courtesy of Fallon Wynne Way
Yellow Rose Gala, Dee Wynne
Presenting a $182,000 check to Clifford Goldsmith and Thor Hansen of the National MS Society in New York City after the 1987 Yellow Rose Gala. Photo courtesy of Fallon Wynne Way
Yellow Rose Gala, Dee Wynne
In 1992, the gala had an "Under the Sea" theme. Daugher Fallon Wynne Way says she and her mother wore mermaid ball gowns and her "poor brother" was dressed as a lobster. Photo courtesy of Fallon Wynne Way
Todd Wynne, Katie Wynne, Nancy Harte, Jimmy Wynne, Fallon Way, Wesley Way
Dee Wynne's family — (from left) Todd Wynne, Katie Wynne, Nancy Harte, Jimmy Wynne, Fallon Way and Wesley Way — are bringing back the Yellow Rose Gala in her honor. Photo courtesy of Fallon Wynne Way
Yellow Rose Gala, Dee Wynne
Yellow Rose Gala, Dee Wynne
Yellow Rose Gala, Dee Wynne
Todd Wynne, Katie Wynne, Nancy Harte, Jimmy Wynne, Fallon Way, Wesley Way

As the founder of the Yellow Rose Gala benefiting multiple sclerosis research, Dee Wynne left quite a legacy. Not even a year has gone by since the Dallas philanthropist passed away from complictions of the disease, but her family took her words to heart: Always look forward. Never look back.

“Besides her words, her positive attitude and pure zest for life are what stick with me the most throughout this time,” says daughter Fallon Wynne Way, whose family is resurrecting the gala that meant so much to her mother, to Dallas and those impacted by MS. Joining her in the endeavor are dad (and Dee’s husband) Jimmy, husband Wesley, and brother Todd and his wife Katie.

 The last Yellow Rose Gala, in 2001, raked in $2 million, with help from performances by The Eagles, Stevie Nicks and Trisha Yearwood.

The Yellow Rose Gala started in 1985, not long after Wynne’s diagnosis, and became one of the most prominent social events in Dallas, raising funds for MS research at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. Eventually Wynne’s disease prevented her from continuing with the gala. But that final fundraiser, in 2001, was one for the record books, raking in $2 million, with help from performances by The Eagles, Stevie Nicks and Trisha Yearwood.

Now Wynne’s family is on a mission to bring back the gala that could help find a cure for the disease that took her life but not her spirit.

“She didn’t speak to an individual; she spoke to their soul,” Way says. “By bringing back the Yellow Rose Gala, I feel this precious spirit that touched so many will continue to live on.”

A kickoff party has been set April 30, at the home of Patrick Sands, where past major donors will be reunited. Although the next Yellow Rose Gala isn’t scheduled to happen until April 2016 (a date has not yet been announced), the Wynne family promises it will feature the same outstanding entertainment, auction and raffles that made the original event so memorable.

“Bringing back the gala has been a major goal in my life,” Way says. “There were many discussions with my mom, as she was always touched with the desire to pass on the torch to my generation.”

Speaking of a new generation, two important attendees will be front and center to celebrate their grandmother’s legacy at the Yellow Rose Gala 2016: Way and sister-in-law Katie Wynne are expecting — and they share the same July due date.

“That’s just my mom,” Way says, “up in heaven working her magic.”