San Antonio icon Edith McAllister dies at age 100

Memorial service to be held July 9

SAN ANTONIO – One of San Antonio’s most iconic leaders, Edith McAllister, died Sunday of congestive heart failure.

McAllister, who lived to be 100, was a longtime philanthropist and volunteer.

She was San Antonio's first lady for five terms, as her husband served as mayor, but it's what she did with her free time — volunteering on dozens of boards — that she is best known for.

In fact, McAllister was often seen in the company of two other important fixtures in San Antonio public work: Rosemary Kowalski and Lila Cockrell.

Together, the powerful, strong women made up a power trio, helping to shape the city we live in today. They worked together, played together, and grew gracefully old together, remaining relevant well into their 90s and beyond.

But there were hints a change might be underway when McAllister was not up to celebrating Kowalski’s lifetime achievement award in May.

She was with them in spirit, though.

"Just think, Edith just had her 100th birthday and she doesn't even use a walker like I do,” Kowalski said, laughing.

"Optimists tend to enjoy their lives, and optimists usually are people who enjoy contributing to their community,” Cockrell said. “My friend Rosemary is certainly a good example of that."

As was McAllister, who liked to tell people she was born happy.

“Do good by day and dance by night” was her motto.

McAllister was even water skiing at the age of 92. She eventually had to leave the sport behind, but she never stopped “dancing.”

McAllister's funeral arrangements are being handed by Porter Loring. A memorial service will be held July 9 at 4 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church.

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