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America Guillen

Annette Strauss: A tribute

Updated: Apr 22, 2024

Annette Strauss headshot

Annette Strauss served as the 55th Mayor of Dallas, Texas—being only the second woman mayor and second Jewish mayor. She spearheaded the monumental Family Gateway coalition in Texas which assisted in providing housing to low-income families in the Dallas area. She is a distinguished alumna of the University of Texas, where she has become the namesake for the Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life. Annette Strauss made a powerful and everlasting impact on the Texas political and philanthropic scene. This is our tribute to her.

Annette Strauss was born on January 26, 1924 in Houston Texas. As a child, Annette aspired to help people around her community. She was an only child. Her father taught her to help and serve the country that offered them so much. When Annette was only six years old, she was already working her hardest to raise money.

While in school, Annette studied public speaking. She was the only woman who had won speech championships at her school. Many women did not have this kind of opportunity around this time. Following primary school, Annette went on to attend two different universities. She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 1944 with her bachelor’s degree in liberal arts. She later received her master’s in sociology and psychology at the University of Columbia.

Annette met her future husband Ted Strauss while in Austin. They both moved to Houston and got married in 1946. Annette began working as a social worker in Houston. Months after getting married, they decided to move to Dallas. Annette had two daughters, Nancy and Jane.

Annette loved volunteering in her community. She loved to help people who were truly in need. She served many organizations like Dallas Symphony, the Crystal Charity Ball, Southern Methodist University, the United Way of America, the United Jewish Appeal, the Dallas Black Dance Theatre, and Baylor University Medical Center. She won many volunteer awards for her service to these organizations. Every moment was so special to her because she knew she was doing the right thing when helping others.

When Annette became involved in politics, it was new territory for her. She wanted to do so much more for her community. Annette was elected the 55th mayor of Dallas. All the hard work she had done in the past years had prepared her for that very moment. The citizens of Dallas knew that Annette had the knowledge and power to turn Dallas into a great city.

Annette Straus died in 1998 with her family by her side at 74 years old. In 1988, the Annette Strauss Square was opened in Dallas, Texas with the ability to hold 5000 people inside. She will be remembered for making her community better.

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