Mary Anita Dittmar Calvert, |
January 31, 1930 -
June 30, 2013
Mary Anita Dittmar Calvert, beloved wife, mother, and community volunteer, passed away June 30, 2013 after a seven-year struggle with Alzheimer's. She was born on January 31, 1930, the eldest daughter of Elmer and Anita Deutz Dittmar. She was a 5th generation descendent of German immigrants to New Braunfels and Castroville and was proud to be a 4th generation San Antonian. Her great-grandfather, Ludwig Mahncke, was San Antonio's first Park Commissioner. Other than Col. Brackenridge himself, Mahncke was the person most responsible for the existence and development of Brackenridge Park, and was also personally responsible for procuring and planting the large cypress trees that line the Riverwalk.
After schooling at St. Mary's Hall, she attended college at both Bryn Mawr in Philadelphia and Incarnate Word in San Antonio. During her year as a San Antonio German Club debutante, she met James Spencer Calvert. They married on January 30, 1951. Together, she and Jim raised six children during moves to Greensboro, NC, Houston and eventually back to San Antonio. During her time in Greensboro, she invested her energies into the training and development of children with Cerebral Palsy.
She was a devoted and loving wife, a wonderful hostess who enjoyed entertaining friends and family, and an equally devoted mother described by one of her three sons as "the family dynamo who Made Things Happen with endless energy and creativity." One of her most lasting contributions to family unity and many happy memories was organizing annual camping, hiking, and backpacking expeditions in New Mexico, Colorado and Wyoming.
As a mother, she was not only heavily involved in all her children's school activities, but also as an active contributor to several organizations in San Antonio. Mary Anita had a sharp wit and a strong mind that she used to complete her Bachelor's degree in History, graduating with honors in 1982 from the University of Texas at San Antonio. That year, she was selected for inclusion in "Who's Who of College Graduates" in the United States.
During the late 80s and early 90s, she boldly embraced the AIDS cause by investing all her resources to help the San Antonio AIDS Foundation. Her efforts were critical in providing personal compassion and care to those who suffered. Without her, the Foundation's doors would have closed.
Her children and grandchildren are her most valued legacy. The richness of their relationships now would make her very pleased and proud.
She is survived by her husband of 63 years, James Spencer Calvert, and her six children: Carolyn Calvert Phipps and husband, Steve, of Philadelphia; James Spencer Calvert Jr. and wife, Sherrill, Elizabeth Calvert Hickman and husband, Greg, and Richard Elmer Rice Calvert-all of Houston; Joseph Dittmar Calvert and wife, Rhonda, of San Antonio; Lucy Calvert Higginbotham and husband, Robert, of Dallas. Her beloved grandchildren are Sarah Phipps Wanancek of Baltimore; Paul and Emma Phipps of Philadelphia; Catherine and Andrew Calvert of Houston, and Mary Jane, Maggie, Anne and Robert Jr. "Tex" Higginbotham of Dallas. She is also survived by her brother, Joseph Dittmar of Bozeman, MT; Betty Stone and husband, Leland, of San Antonio; brothers-in-law Richard Calvert and wife, Peggy, Jonathan Calvert and wife, Betty of San Antonio, and numerous nieces and nephews.
The family wishes to thank Karen Kosub and the skilled, compassionate staff of the memory center at The Forum for their care during her last year. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in her memory to the San Antonio AIDS Foundation (txsaaf.org) or the
The family will receive friends at The Argyle Club, 934 Patterson Ave. in San Antonio on Thursday, July 11 from 5pm to 7pm following a private family service at Alamo Heights United Methodist Church.
You are invited
to sign the Guestbook
1101 McCullough Ave.
SAN ANTONIO, TX
Published in Houston Chronicle on July 7, 2013