Gretchen and Sonny Williams Named Virginia Chandler Dykes Leadership Award Recipients
DALLAS — Dallas business and civic leaders Gretchen Minyard Williams and J.L. “Sonny” Williams are the 2005 recipients of the Virginia Chandler Dykes Leadership Award, presented by Texas Woman’s University and the TWU School of Occupational Therapy.
The Virginia Chandler Dykes Leadership Award was established in 2002 and is given annually to Dallas residents who represent the caring, commitment and leadership Mrs. Dykes exemplifies.
“Texas Woman's University is proud to honor these Dallasites for their commitment to building a better and stronger community,” said TWU Chancellor and President Dr. Ann Stuart. “They lead by example and demonstrate we all can make a difference.”
A tea honoring Mr. and Mrs. Williams and recognizing the award selection committee will be held Wednesday, Oct. 6 at the Dallas home of Geraldine “Tincy” Miller, 2004 recipient of the award. Dr. Stuart will present the award Jan. 25, 2005, during a luncheon at the Dallas Country Club.
Gretchen Minyard Williams, a graduate of Texas Christian University, is co-chairman of the board and co-CEO of Minyard Food Stores Inc. She is a member of the Baylor University Medical Center Board of Trustees, co-chair of the Leukemia Association of North Central Texas and a member of the board of directors of Marketplace Ministries Inc. and Bryan’s House, a special care facility for children and teens affected by HIV/AIDS. She also is a member of the Crystal Charity Ball Committee.
“My father always taught us that nothing is more important to our society, and consequently our city, than giving back to the community in which we serve,” Mrs. Williams said. “We care about the people who shop with us. We care about the neighborhoods in which we do business. We care about making a difference in the lives of people who live in the same community as ourselves.”
J. L. “Sonny” Williams, president and COO of Minyard Food Stores Inc., began his career with the company at age 13 as a package clerk. A graduate of Dallas Baptist University, Mr. Williams is a member of the State Fair of Texas and Southwestern Bell-SMU Athletic Forum boards of directors, chairman of the Russell H. Perry Free Enterprise Foundation and a member of the Dallas Baptist University Board of Trustees. He also is a minority owner of the Dallas Mavericks.
The couple received the 2004 Neighborhood Partnership Award from the Food Marketing Institute for the Minyard First Class Teachers Program, a teacher appreciation program that awards $1,000 to a different teacher each week and a matching $1,000 to the teacher’s school. They also received the 2003 Obelisk Award for Arts Partnership from the Dallas Business Committee for the Arts, the 1999 Civic Service Award from the Jewish Day School’s Akiba Academy and the 1995 Texas Family Business of the Year-Community Involvement Award from the Texas Institute of Family Business.
The couple has been married 26 years and has a daughter, Claire.
As a health care provider and through her civic activities, Mrs. Dykes has spent a lifetime committed to helping others. She is known internationally for her work in occupational therapy. Locally, she is known for her leadership in many cultural and charitable organizations.
Mrs. Dykes completed the graduate occupational therapy program at Texas Woman’s University in 1954 after earning her bachelor of arts degree in art and psychology from Southern Methodist University in 1952. She was director of the Occupational and Recreational Therapy Department at Baylor University Medical Center for 25 years. Mrs. Dykes developed and supervised the occupational and recreational therapy programs at Baylor in rehabilitation, adult and adolescent psychiatry, eating disorders and hand splinting. She also founded the Boomerang Club, the first support group for stroke patients and their families in Dallas.
Her community service activities include establishing the annual Fanny B. Vanderkooi Endowed Lectureship for the School of Occupational Therapy at TWU; serving on the board of directors for the Dallas Opera, Theater III, Fort Worth Opera, Dallas-Fort Worth Ballet, Les Femmes du Monde and Dallas Theater Center Guild; serving as president of the Diana Dean Head Injury Guild; and chairing the auxiliary board of the Healing Environment Program at Baylor.
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