Friends and family of Myrna Deckert, with the generous support of Southwest University Park, are hosting a meet and greet at the Downtown ballpark from 10 a.m. to noon this Saturday, June 26, to celebrate Myrna’s life. Myrna was the long-time El Paso nonprofit leader who built El Paso’s YWCA into the largest in the nation.

The invitation is for anyone who wishes to gather and honor the life of this amazing woman, who died last September in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She retired in 2015 after nearly 50 years of dedicating her life to the betterment of El Paso.

Myrna is best known for her work with the YWCA, which she headed for more than 30 years, taking over as CEO in 1970 and serving until her retirement in 2002. During that time, Myrna grew the El Paso YWCA into that region’s largest provider of transitional housing for women and children and the largest YWCA nationally with a budget of about $35 million. The YWCA also became one of the largest providers of child care in the city, making it possible for thousands of women to participate in the area’s workforce.

After a short retirement, Myrna was lured back into community leadership when she became chief operating officer of the Paso del Norte Group, a private economic development agency of civic and business leaders working to promote growth in the region. During her time there, the organization helped create the Downtown Redevelopment Plan.

She subsequently served as CEO of the Paso del Norte Health Foundation, a private foundation that promotes better health for people of the El Paso, southern New Mexico and Juárez region through its leadership and grant-making in health education programs and advocacy.

Myrna embraced every project she undertook with passion and a single-minded focus, which was largely why so many of her programs succeeded.

She was skillful in bringing people together from diverse groups, leveraging their talents and resources to build a better community.

Jacob Cintron, CEO of University Medical Center, remembered that “Myrna had a way of seeing the potential in someone before that person knew it was there. She developed and guided many individuals to reach their full potential and instilled in all the need to serve our community.”

Diana Natalicio, the UTEP president emerita, said, “Myrna Deckert was an extraordinary leader, role model, mentor and motivator for women of all ages and ZIP codes across this Paso del Norte region. She was an astute strategist, an adroit tactician and, most of all, a tireless doer. An inspiration to all of us, she stepped up without hesitation to tackle many of this region’s toughest issues and engaged a broad range of community partners to address them.

“The Paso del Norte region is a far better place today because of Myrna’s leadership, and the many women across this community who are confidently following in her footsteps represent her most powerful legacy.”

So, to those thousands of you who were touched by Myrna and became better for it, please join us Saturday, June 26, to celebrate her wonderful life. The event will take place in the WestStar Club on the 2nd floor of Southwest University Park.


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