CONNIE SWINNEY • PICAYUNE STAFF
HORSESHOE BAY — To admirers, Cecilia Abbott, the first lady of Texas, exemplifies “the true spirit of a woman.”
“It’s her kindness. She’s just so congenial, so personable, and she has such a wonderful personality. She reaches out to so many people,” said Gail Teegarden, president of Burnet County Republican Women. “She’s a mother and a devoted wife. She believes strongly in giving back to the community. That’s why we’re so fascinated by her.”
Abbott will be the guest of the BCRW, the STAR Republican Women and the Highland Lakes Republican women at the groups’ combined annual luncheon May 19 at Escondido Country Club, 9090 FM 2147 West. The event starts at 11:30 a.m. Tickets are $25 each.
In 2014, Abbott made history by becoming the first Latina first lady of Texas when her husband, Greg Abbott, Texas attorney general at the time, was elected governor of the Lone Star State.
Her biography describes her as “a product of the American Dream” and the granddaughter of an immigrant and educator from Mexico, who instilled the importance of education in the lives of her, her sister and two brothers.
Abbott, who was raised in San Antonio, has a bachelor’s degree in psychology and two master’s degrees — one in education and another in theology.
She attended the University of Texas, where she met her husband, and eventually earned her degrees from the University of St. Thomas in Houston.
During her career, she’s been a teacher and a school administrator, including a stint as principal at Cathedral School of St. Mary in Austin from 1996 to 2001.
“She’s a very godly person and very strong religiously,” Teegarden said.
Also, for nearly a decade, she served as managing director of community relations at Harden Healthcare, which handles senior citizen adult health care facilities and services.
She and Gov. Abbott, who is confined to a wheelchair, have been married 33 years and live in Austin with their daughter, Audrey.
“Gov. Abbott is very brilliant, and she is, too. She’s a very strong woman,” Teegarden said. “She has a lot of courage knowing that for the rest of his life, he’s in a wheelchair. There’s a lot of challenges out there.”
Cecilia Abbott currently serves on or has served on boards and advisory boards for entities including the Holy Trinity Seminary, the Women’s Symphony League, Ballet Austin, Dell Children’s Women’s Trust, the Austin Diocesan School and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
She is also a classical music devotee and pianist.
In her biography, Abbott shares that she nurtured a number of dogs as a child and teen and raised a variety of pets, including a Nubian goat named Petunia.
“She’s also an animal lover, and you know she’s a special person if she’s an animal lover,” Teegarden said.
The visit will give attendees an opportunity to gain more insight into a woman who has dedicated her life to faith, family, education and service of others.
“She’s a true woman. Someone I definitely look up to,” Teegarden said. “That’s a perfect role model for my granddaughters, for anybody’s daughters or granddaughters.”
SEE PHOTOS FROM THE EVENT HERE
To purchase tickets for the luncheon in advance, email Janice Estill at firstname.lastname@example.org or call Mary Lou Kromer at (830) 596-7061.