Louise Eiseman, 91, president of Eiseman Jewels at NorthPark Center, died peacefully of natural causes on August 9 at her home in Preston Hollow, where she had lived for 56 years.
I wrote a typical obituary, noting her commercial success, first with her husband, Dick, who died of Parkinson’s disease in 1996, then with her son, Richard Eiseman Jr.
But there was nothing typical about Louise Eiseman.
I became his friend thanks to my late, tall and somewhat cranky colleague, Bob Miller, who adored him – and he didn’t feel that way for too many people.
They shared an appreciation for the art of gossip – not the malicious kind, but as a recognition of who was doing what, where, with whom and, if they were really lucky, why.
Louise was also an ardent reader of The morning news from Dallas and used what she learned to connect all societal and business dots, which she did with precision.
For those of you who did not know her, I hope you like this posthumous introduction.
For those of you who have, I hope this will cheer you up.
Louise would like that.
Living in high cotton
Louise Rose Freedman was born in 1930 at St. Paul’s Hospital in Dallas and lived on Swiss Avenue until the family moved to the “boonies” – on the corner of Meadowbrook and Ravine Drives in what is now Old Preston. Hollow.
“When my parents moved north from Northwest Highway, people thought they would never see them again,” Louise said in an interview with me in 2014. “The happiest day in my mom’s life was never seen again. was not when I was born or when my sister was born, but when our neighborhood got the plumbing and she was able to get rid of the septic tank. “
She went to Walnut Hill Grammar School on Royal Lane. “When the weather got too hot to stay indoors, we went out behind the school and picked up cotton. We went out together with burlap bags. One would pick it up and the other would stuff the bag.
the belle of the ball
In February 2019, PaperCity‘s Billy Fong introduced her as one of his “Bomb Girls” – girls with style and zest for life. He used a photo of her and her husband who had rushed The news in 1967 to promote the upcoming Beaux Arts Ball, the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts’ major annual fundraiser. The theme was One Thousand and One Nights.
“I was not a gymnast, but here I am in a pose showing the dexterity of my legs,” she told Fong. “I don’t remember, but maybe I held my life with my right hand on that bar, or I slipped. “
Louise wears jewelry and a suit befitting a James Bond girl, and Dick looks dapper in his Bond-esque tuxedo.
“This photo was taken in the middle of the day, and Dick and I were all excited,” she said. “We were hoping to have a puncture [while we were] drive and that the world would see us in these outfits.
His private side
Louise’s daughter Alice Eiseman Adelkind said her earliest, most lasting memories of her mother were the quick click, the click cadence of her high heels and red hair that made her stand out in the crowd.
Her mother was “efficient, efficient and timely” in making community engagements and doing them beautifully, Alice said. “But there was a belly to it. All her life she has cared for the illnesses of others.
Louise first looked after Alice, who spent years in the hospital and on crutches for a congenital skeletal defect. Then Louise took care of her mother, then Dick, both suffering from Parkinson’s disease.
Alice was born with dislocated hips that went undiagnosed for almost eight years.
Today babies are immediately checked for this easily treatable prenatal skeletal disorder, said Alice. But in the 1950s, it wasn’t something doctors were looking for.
“Mom was young and she was faced with a situation where there was no owner’s manual,” Alice said.
Doctor after doctor, he told Louise that there was nothing wrong with Alice – one of them even told Louise that she had to embark on a hobby. But she followed her instincts.
In 1963, a Dallas orthopedic surgeon finally diagnosed Alice’s condition but told Louise it was too late to put things right. Alice would be in a wheelchair at 40.
Today Alice, 66, who lives in Toronto with her husband, thanks her mother every day for refusing to accept this sentence.
Louise found a doctor in St. Louis and convinced him to come to Dallas to operate on Alice at Baylor Teaching Hospital.
After the operation, Alice was put on skeletal traction to lower her hips, then locked in a cast to hold them in place. “They did it over and over again,” Alice said. “I had two solid years in the hospital, and she and my father had two solid years in the hospital with me. I have never spent a night alone.
A decade later, Louise did exhaustive research and found two doctors – one in London and one in Boston – who performed the world’s first total hip replacements. Alice was 18 when she became the third youngest person to have this operation.
“My mom lived with me in Boston for a year. She rented an apartment near the New England Baptist Hospital and was left alone in a town where we didn’t know anyone.
“Maybe someone else raised their hand in surrender, but it made things happen,” Alice said. “She was forced to make things happen again for my dad to keep at home. She ran a small business managing all of her caregivers, driver and physiotherapy.
“So there was this dichotomy. This woman who clicked, clicked, clicked and never missed a beat was faced with extremely difficult personal things at the same time. “
Sassy and classy humor
In 2010, Eiseman Jewels was named the nation’s best independent jewelry store out of over 22,800 unique store owners.
The evening after receiving the award at a banquet in New York City, Louise and Richard absently walked past a cab as they made their way to dinner.
“It literally almost killed us both,” recalls Richard, 62. “Mom looks at me and with her great sense of humor says, ‘It’s only January 10. Can’t I have the whole year before I die?’ “
June Cleaver loved pearls. Louise Eiseman too. She had a dozen locks of different types for each cleavage.
She also had the advantage of borrowing jewelry from the store when she went to a party. She saw it as an economy in more ways than one.
“Mom said she could wear the same dress and change the jewelry, while other women had to wear the same jewelry and change the dress,” said Richard.
Shortly after the pandemic lockdown, she emailed our retail reporter, Maria Halkias, the following: Good afternoon. Fact: in four more weeks 86% of blondes will be gone! Whoever opens beauty salons will get the women’s vote… Better, Louise Eiseman.
Louise was thrifty. She would show up to the store with a handful of cut coupons to give to the staff – in case they missed a good deal for things she knew they liked. “We don’t know yet when or where the service will take place, but you will need to bring a voucher,” said Richard.
She was known as “Weezie” among family and close friends – a beloved nickname given to her by Richard’s son and daughter when they were too small to say Louise.
Over the past few years, Richard III enjoyed lively games of Scrabble with Weezie and often complained that she was making up words because he had never heard them before – only to find out that she was. not.
Never one for the big holidays in her honor, Louise loved to celebrate her milestone birthdays by venturing out with the family to see art. For her 70th birthday, when her grandchildren were young, they went to Paris. Other favorites were Crystal Bridges in Bentonville, Ark., And an exhibit held at the Ayn Museum in Marfa – both via a close friend’s private plane.
Her 90th birthday in December 2019 was a bit missed because her favorite restaurant was too dark and too noisy, recalls Alice. But Louise laughed at the fortune cookies that said, “The first 100 years are the hardest.”
Christmas days were spent together – Louise and all her offspring – going from room to room at the Scottish Rite Children’s Hospital filling out wish lists for children who couldn’t be home for the holidays. “We did it for 13 or 14 years until COVID,” said Richard.
Nancy and Louise
Dallas Mayor Annette Strauss was one of Louise’s best friends. Annette’s daughter, Nancy Halbreich, took on the role after her mother’s death in 1998.
Nancy played bridge with Louise every week at Dallas Woman’s Club for 15 years – despite their 20-year age gap – until COVID.
“She was a better player than I was, but it was a low bar,” said the 71-year-old, who positioned herself so Louise could read her lips. “Do you know what it’s like to play bridge with women who can’t hear?” All the women I played bridge with were her age. They kept me as a translator. It would be like, ‘What did she say?’ ‘She said,’ 2 no trumps. ‘ No one could hear.
He will miss Nancy – like many of us. “Louise was a loyal good friend who has stayed with you.”
As her daughter Alice put it, “She stayed interesting and interested.”