Zane Carruth and Ed McMahon
Zane Carruth and Ed McMahon

Saturday's Winter Ball, benefiting the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation and honoring the Women of Distinction, was a fitting way to kick off a new decade of glam galas and philanthropic fetes.


More than 500 guests, all dressed to impress in wintry gowns, cozy furs and sharp tuxedos, enjoyed a festive cocktail hour while bidding on silent-auction items before filtering into the ballroom of the Hilton Americas hotel. Event chairs and former honorees Lesha Elsenbrook and Bobbie Nau transformed the space with the help of sleek lounge furniture and eye-catching LED light displays that changed and moved throughout the night.

After an exciting live auction — prizes included IW Marks baubles and a Sewell Automotive Companies car — emcee Tom Koch presented the 2020 Women of Distinction, who were recognized for their commitment to volunteerism: Cheryl Byington, Zane Carruth, Theresa Chang, Elsie Eckert, Myrtle Jones, Brigitte Kalai, Kelley Lubanko, Joy McCormack, Hannah McNair and Mary Tere Perusquia, along with the year's “ambassador," Betty Hrncir. Per the Winter Ball custom, the ladies were presented on the arms notable “escorts," this year including a few young Crohn's survivors, as well as top medical experts in the field. Also, Jeff Gremillion — editor of CityBook, a sponsor of the ball — took part. Several Crohn's patients shared their journeys with the disease and expressed gratitude for the Winter Ball's fundraising efforts.

After a seated dinner, guests packed the dance floor for an after-party sponsored by H-E-B. The evening's total till topped $800,000.

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