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Getting into the Spirit of Things: The 24th Laura Lee Blanton Spirit Award Dinner will Honor Four Outstanding Houstonians


On Thursday, October 20, 2022, caring members of the Houston community will gather at the River Oaks Country Club for the 24th Laura Lee Blanton Spirit Award Dinner. Named in honor of Laura Lee Blanton, who tirelessly and selflessly dedicated herself to her family and her community, this year’s Spirit Award is being presented to James A. Reeder Jr. (Jim) and Eric Nevil. Dr. Elizabeth Strauch will receive The Heart of Hospice Service Award and Anne Baillio will receive The Heart of Hospice Volunteer Award. Houston Hospice, whose mission it is to provide quality hospice care to patients of all ages, ethnicities, and socio-economic status, irrespective of their ability to pay, will be the recipient of the funds raised during the occasion. Jennifer Tuttle Arnold, Susan Tuttle Lummis, and Emily Tuttle Wilde are this year’s event chairs.

The Reeder family has a 40-year history of support for Houston Hospice. Jim Reeder’s mother, Leone Guthrie Reeder, was an original board member of the New Age Hospice in 1982 and continued on the board when it became The Hospice at the Texas Medical Center. Jim joined the board when his parents moved to Washington, D.C. in 1992 and stayed on through its merger with Houston Hospice. When the Houston Hospice Inpatient Unit, which benefitted from a major gift from Leone and Jim Reeder Sr. in memory of each of their parents, was built, he was chair. In 2010 and 2011, Jim and Eric experienced the true beneficence of the facility when Jim’s parents passed away in its Impatient Unit within 15 months of one another. By their example, Jim Sr. and Leone taught their family a powerful lesson on “dying well” and exemplified their belief that living does not end at the prospect of death. Jim and Eric have continued the Reeder family’s legacy of generosity for Houston Hospice, because, according to Jim “It’s just what we do,” and they are humbled by the honor of receiving this auspicious award.

Dr. Elizabeth Strauch is the medical director and vice president of medical affairs for Houston Hospice. She has provided quality care to hospice patients and their families for the past 30 years. Anne Baillio, is a long-time volunteer. Her compassion and service to hospice patients and their families has been an essential mainstay of the facility for the past 34 years. 

For more information about the Laura Lee Blanton Spirit Award Dinner, please visit

About Houston Hospice

Houston Hospice is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides uncompromising, compassionate, end-of-life care to all patients and families across 13 counties in the Greater Houston Area, regardless of their ability to pay. Established in 1980, the organization is the oldest and largest independent nonprofit hospice in Houston and a member of the Texas Medical Center.

About James A. Reeder, Jr. (Jim) and Eric Nevil

Jim Reeder and Eric Nevil have been active and generous contributors to a variety of worthwhile community resources in the Houston area during their nearly two decades together. Jim was born and raised in Shreveport, Louisiana, attended Harvard College and the University of Texas School of Law, and has been practicing law in Houston since 1989. From 2020 to 2021, he was the chair of the American Bar Association Section of Litigation. Eric is a native of Harris County, graduated from the University of Texas, and spent 17 years as a civil engineer. He has been involved in the planning of much of the storm-water infrastructure addressing flooding across Houston and Harris County. For the last decade, Eric has been head of operations at two interior design firms. Jim and Eric are the proud parents of their adult children, Grace and Jack.


A small sample of the many organizations that have been the object of their focused attention and generosity is: Legacy Community Health Services, where Jim chaired the board and its capital campaign and where both were major contributors to its transformation from a single clinic in Montrose to an array of clinics across the Gulf Coast; Houston Botanic Garden, whose capital campaign benefited from their support and of whose board Jim is chair; San Jacinto Museum of History Association; and C.G. Jung Educational Center.

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