SALT LAKE CITY — Three "inspiring women" were honored at a tribute dinner Sunday night for their influence in the Jewish and local communities.
Irene Stone Tannenbaum, Suzanne Seller Frank Goldsmith and Joanne Spitzer McGillis were honored at the sixth annual Jewish Family Service dinner.
"We call the evening 'Inspiring Women' because they've done so much that we're inspired and they inspire so many others," said Ellen Silver, executive director of Jewish Family Service, a nonprofit social service organization that serves people of all denominations through counseling, care management and community education.
"They truly are inspiring," Silver said.
Irene Stone Tannenbaum
"With all the love in the world, I never knew not to give love back," said Tannenbaum, who attributes her altruistic qualities to her widowed mother.
Some of her accomplishments include serving as the local chapter president for Hadassah, a worldwide women Jewish organization that funds medical care and research, from 1960-62. Tannenbaum and her husband, Fred, were also supporters of the Jewish Community Center, where they established the Early Childhood Center.
Tannenbaum and her husband created a fund for Gay and Lesbian Advocacy and Defenders after their son Marty told her he was gay. The couple was honored as Parents of the Year by the Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbian and Gays at the national convention in Salt Lake City.
"It was very important to Fred and me as young and married with children to serve th Jewish community, to help build a strong and vibrant future through our organizations," she said.
Tannenbaum is a breast cancer survivor, and her diagnosis led to her involvement with the Susan G. Komen walks and races, as well as retreats for Renato Saltz's foundation, Image Reborn.
After being approached to model for ZCMI at 19 years old, Tannenbaum continued to model even after her breast cancer surgery and remained active in the fashion world. She taught at the McCarty's Modeling Agency in Salt Lake City and headed the fashion merchandising department at Stevens-Henager College.
In reaction to the recognition Sunday, Tannenbaum said, "I'm shaking. I'm so happy."
Suzanne Seller Frank II Goldsmith
Larry Goldsmith spoke on behalf of his wife due to her declining health and said she is thrilled about the occasion.
"It means a great deal to have all of the good things that she's done recognized," he said. "She's modest. She doesn't talk about what she's done and what she still does, as a matter of fact."
Larry Goldsmith said his wife visited the Neighborhood House, a house that offers day care services for aging and impaired adults, with a friend as a teenager and that helped her see other people.
"Her own world was a very easy, happy, cloistered world," he said. "Then she began to get interested in other things."
Suzanne Goldsmith began her own preschool at Pioneer Park, served in the PTA and was on the board of the Jewish Relief Society, now known as Jewish Family Service.
While on the Jewish Community Center board, she and Rosanne Gordon decided to start a nursery school.
"It was my goal to integrate new Jews into the community at-large where they could make the world a better place," she said in a previous interview.
She worked to implement Utah's first Head Start program and served many years on the board of the McGillis Jewish Community Center Elementary School in Salt Lake City.
After being diagnosed with the degenerative eye disease retinitis pigmentosa in the early 1970s, Susanne Goldsmith learned there was no local chapter of the National Retinitis Pigmentosa Foundation, so she started one and became president.
Susanne Goldsmith was a leader in fundraising to build homeless shelters in Salt Lake City and has helped raise millions of dollars for shelters.
"It means a great deal to have all of the good things that she's done recognized," Larry Goldsmith said.
Joanne Spitzer McGillis
"Frankly, I'm very uncomfortable with a lot of unnecessary attention," McGillis said. "When I do things in the community, I don't expect any thanks or reward."
McGillis said she loves finding solutions to problems, and she attributed her attitude of serving in the community to her mother.
"I just think it's not fair to criticize and then not do anything about it," McGillis said, adding that she's who is guided by the phrase, "If you see a problem, find a solution."
McGillis was on the board of the Jewish Relief Society and president of the Hadassah, shen she led a campaign and raised funds for the Six Day War in Israel.
She was vice president of the Temple Sisterhood, served on regional and national boards of the Women's Division of United Jewish Appeal, and was an active member of the Salt Lake United Jewish Federation Board.Comment on this story
McGillis and her husband, Dick, established endowed scholarships at Westminster College and the University of Utah. The couple also funds the McGillis School.
McGillis said she believes children are the future, and she is very proud of the school.
"Education is my love," she said. "I think education is paramount to a good life for anybody. Education eradicates bigotry and intolerance and violence. What could be better than that?"
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