Les Femmes du Monde’s 2013 Woman of the Year honoree Mary Lee Cox has devoted the last 50 years of her life serving the arts and charities of Dallas.
She has served as President of more such organizations than any other single Dallas volunteer: Women's Board of the Dallas Opera; Dallas Arboretum & Botanical Garden; Friday Forum; Dallas Ballet Women's Committee, Dallas Southern Memorial Association; Society for Abandoned and Neglected Children; Irish Georgian Society; Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge; Women's Division of the American Kidney Foundation; Highland Park Browning Club; Theresians of Dallas; Jesuit Women's Auxiliary; Public Affairs Luncheon Club; the Conservancy Founding Board of the Dallas Southern Memorial Association; and Dallas Theater Center Guild. She has also been Honorary President of the Dallas Woman's Forum.
For Les Femmes du Monde, she has been one of our most active volunteers of the organization founded in 1961 which now benefits Children’s Medical Center and the World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth. Mary Lee joined Les Femmes 1987 and immediately chaired the celebrity auction. The next year, 1988, she chaired the Woman of Year Award which honored Caroline Rose Hunt with speaker Barbara Bush. In 1990, Mary Lee was social chair; in 1991, chair of programs; in 1993, chair of the annual sale; in 1994, President-Elect; and in 1995, President. In addition, she was 1995 President and member of the board of directors of Les Femmes’ single beneficiary at the time, the Dallas Council on World Affairs. Into the Millennium, she has been Les Femmes’ New Member Chair, 2003; patron party chair of Woman of the Year in 2006 and 2008; and she was underwriting chair of Woman of the Year in 2008, the year during which the honoree was Texas First Lady Anita Perry, accompanied by her husband, Gov. Rick Perry, who was keynote speaker of the event. Since then, Mary Lee has been Victory Party Chair, 2009, and Les Femmes member at large in 2012. She also served on the 2006 Dinner Committee of World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth.
As a chairman or co-chairman, she has planned the following charity and arts benefits: The 2013 Salvation Army Women's Auxiliary Annual Fashion Show & Luncheon; Dickens of a Christmas; Retina Foundation Racing for Sight; Genesis Mother Daughter Luncheon; Science Place Guild, the first benefit of Dallas Baptist University’s Women’s Board, Christ the King Annual Fashion Show and Luncheon; Old City Park’s Candlelight Dinners; Dallas Ballet’s Irish Fair; and the Genesis Mother-Daughter Luncheon in which the speaker was Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison and the emcee was Jane McGarry.
Mary Lee was also a member of Hockaday School’s 2010 benefit committee, and Season Ticket chair for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra League during the first year “sold out” season at the Meyerson, as well as chairman of the Symphony Showhouse. She was a member of the World Cup Committee, planning Frontier Dallas, and chairman of the Science Place Guild’s 25th anniversary gala. She was also Regent of Catholic Daughters of America, Court 1784.
She has also represented Dallas charities in other cities, such as when she was representative at the American Symphony Orchestra Meeting in Chicago and the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge as representative at the FFVF Conference in Valley Forge, Pa.
As a board member, Mary Lee has served Northwood University; Old City Park; the Grace & Storey Stemmons Girls Foundation, the Dallas Knife and Fork Club, the Dallas Summer Musicals; and she was chairman of the advisory board of the Dallas Arboretum and served on the advisory board of the Dallas Center for the Performing Arts-
One of her major activities was to serve as president and president of the President’s Council of Dallas Federation of Women’s Clubs (as well as president of the President’s Council) and President of the Trinity District of Texas Federation of Women's Clubs as well as President of the District Presidents; State Convention Chair; and Hospitality Chair of the General Federation of Women's Clubs International Convention held in Houston.
Mary Lee was State President of her Kappa Delta Association of Texas and president of Kappa Delta Alumnae of Dallas; President of KD House Corporation at SMU; and Chair of KD International Benefit benefitting Crippled Children's Hospital, Richmond, Va.
Mary Lee’s late husband, William Cox, was an attorney, and in fact, Mary Lee herself was enrolled at SMU Law School when they met. She later served as President of Dallas Lawyers Auxiliary and as Guest Columnist of Dallas Bar Headnotes.