women of the year

El Paso Herald-Post “Women of the Year” 1965

In 1965, El Paso Herald-Post awarded its first “Women of the Year” to women in each of seven fields. The awards were announced in the newspaper’s March 20, 1965, edition.

Business: Dess Metcalfe was a member of the first group of the Women’s Army Corps who were deployed overseas.  She also served as assistant chief of research for the U.S. Army at the Pentagon. She was honored by President Truman for her work in helping achieve integration of the Reserve and National Guard. She also served as president of R.M. Metcalfe Co. and was one the first members of the International Bluepoint Association. Metcalfe was active in the El Paso Republican Party.

Civic Endeavor: Margaret Marsh was the only woman executive member of the El Paso Mayor’s Advisory Committee in 1963 under Mayor Judson Williams. She served on the city charter commission in the 1960s. Marsh served as secretary under Mayor Ray Telles in 1957. Marsh also served as president of both the El Paso and Ysleta Woman’s Clubs.

Education: Dr. Marguerite Smith was a native of Tulia, Texas, and graduated from El Paso High School. Smith taught at Crockett Elementary for 20 years. She earned her teaching degree from Sul Ross State University. Smith served as principal at Travis Elementary and was an education supervisor for EPISD for 18 years. Smith also served as a consultant for a publishing company.

International Relations: Hedwig Mathias Schwartz served as chair of the foreign relations committee of the El Paso Women’s Department of the Chamber of Commerce. She served as program chair for the Council for International Visitors. Schwartz also served as president of the local chapter of the National Council for Jewish Women, El Paso Lighthouse for the Blind, El Paso Women’s Department of the Chamber of Commerce and the Texas Western College Women’s Auxiliary.

Art: Nan Collins was an artist who painted landscapes, seascapes, abstract pieces and portraits. Collins’ work was shown at the Green Fields Galleries. She was awarded first prize for painting in the Arts and Crafts annual contest sponsored by the El Paso Art Museum. One of her paintings was hung for the 1964-65 Sun Carnival.

Medicine: Dr. Rita Don was a pioneer allergist in El Paso. She also served as medical director for Southwest Blood Banks.

Music: Adela Seamon was a concert soprano and was active with the UTEP Community Opera. Seamon also studied music at UTEP. She sang at the Salzburg Festival in Austria. Seamon studied German in Switzerland to be better  prepared for German opera roles. She served as a violinist in the El Paso Symphony. Seamon was married to Robert Seamon, who was concert master for the El Paso Symphony Association. She also helped her husband start his own school of music.

Joseph Longo

Since 1954 the El Paso County Historical Society has been a driving force in the historic scene of El Paso. EPCHS strives to foster research into the history of the El Paso area; acquire and make available to the public historic materials; publish and encourage historical writing pertaining to the area; and to develop public consciousness of our rich heritage.