Maxine Mesinger, a Houston Chronicle columnist, died Jan. 19, 2001, from medical illnesses unrelated to MS. From 1964 right up through her last days, slowing down only slightly when she wrote from her wheelchair, she covered the lifestyles of the rich and famous in Houston and around the world.
She coined such unique phrases as "swankienda" and "playcation." She was the first to report details of the first heart transplant performed by Dr. Denton Cooley and regularly came up with other scoops. Among her close friends, she included celebrities such as Barbara Walters, Carol Channing, Liza Minnelli and Shirley MacLaine.
Named in Her Honor
A clinic named in her honor is a part of the Baylor College of Medicine Multiple Sclerosis Center. Fundraising for the new Maxine Mesinger Multiple Sclerosis Clinic was launched exactly a year after her death.
"Very Happy and Proud"
Emil Mesinger, her widower, said, "Maxine would be very happy and proud to know the clinic is being named for her because it will help people with the disease. It also means a lot to me because even though it's too late to help her, it will help MS patients in the future."
Telling the World
In one of her 1996 columns, Maxine Mesinger announced that she had MS. At first, even after she publicly announced that she had MS, she was low-key about it. Then the MS Society got her involved. From that point on, any time she spoke in public she mentioned MS.
Her Legacy Continues
She soon began lending her name to a series of "Dinner of Champions" fund-raising events that raised almost $2 million for the Multiple Sclerosis Society. In the spring following her death, participants in the MS 150 Bike Tour from Houston to Austin paid tribute to her by wearing ribbons inscribed "In Memory of Maxine Mesinger."