Society / Featured Parties

Houston’s Men of Distinction — Astros Great, Star Doctor and Mattress Mack All Make the Cut

BY // 05.04.18
photography Priscilla Dickson

For a dozen years an impressive group of Houston business leaders have come together to honor like gentlemen “who have made an incredible difference in the lives of Houstonians” and to raise funds for research in the Texas Medical Center. The 12th annual Men of Distinction awards luncheon at River Oaks Country Club  on Wednesday brought the total raised since the event’s founding to $4 million.

Chaired by Scott Schwinger, president and CEO of the McNair Group and Houston Texans CFO, the luncheon honored Houston Astros Hall of Famer Craig Biggio, retired Baker Botts attorney and community leader Rufus Cormier, Texas Children’s Cancer Center director Dr. David Poplack and beloved hometown hero Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale. 

Typically, charitable luncheons are female turf and the honorees are more likely to be wearing stilettos than brogues. That changed when a core group founded Men of Distinction to pay tribute to the city’s numerous leaders who have to shave every morning.

Previously 95 percent of funds raised were granted to various research doctors, thanks to no overhead, no salaries and someone coming forth to pay for the cost of the luncheon. This year, Cathy and Joe Cleary underwrote the cost of the luncheon. And in their endless philanthropy, Tony Bradfield and Kevin Black of Tenenbaum Jewelers stepped up to cover that additional 5 percent (printing, mailing, etc.). The Men of Distinction can now proudly proclaim that 100 percent of all monies raised goes to medical research.

The 2018 recipients of $100,000 checks are Dr. Manish Shah of McGovern Medical School and Children’s Memorial Hermann, Dr. Sanjiv Harpavat of Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital, Dr. Mary Elizabeth Tessier of Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital and Dr. Ennio Tasciotti of Houston Methodist.

Power Players: Don Sanders, Dr. Bud Frazier, Gary Petersen, David Solomon, Haag Sherman, Butch Mach, Steve Mach, Paul Loyd, Michael Mithoff, Tony Gracely, Ned Holmes, Charlie Thomas, Jim Crownover, John Eads, John Riley, Scottie Anoldy, John Havens, Keith Mosing, Welcome Wilson, Jesse Tutor, Scott Evans, Ed McMahon and emcee Channel 13 ABC Tom Koch. 

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And what would a country club luncheon be without the ladies? Among them on this day were Patty Biggio, Jan Duncan, Debbie Daugherty, Yvonne Cormier, Molly Crownover, Mary Eads, Diane Riley, Brenda Love, Jana Arnoldy, Regina Rogers, Lora Clemmons, Claire Cormier-Thielke, Tara Wuthrich and Christina Stith.

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