Iris and Matt Welcome Family and Friends to Rancho del Arte


When Iris Strauss started planning a party for close friends and family this summer, little did she know what her husband Matt was also up to. Matt, being very clever, smart, and handsome, surprised his beautiful Iris with an intime soiree avec des amies (intimate party with friends) at the Timken Museum of Art in August.

As Iris later said, "a beautiful surprise party and I was stunned!"

Stunning too was the party Iris and Matt threw at their home a sprawling estate aptly named Rancho del Arte.

The art is everywhere. Modern, with quite a lot of it weighing a few tons in the form of beautiful sculptures sprinkled among the garden.

Beautiful Sculptures


Everywhere too are family photos, because as much as the arts are important to the Strauss family, their family comes first. Their second 'family' would be the San Diego Opera, the San Diego Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, The Timken Museum of Art, the San Diego Symphony, the Old Globe Theatre, the La Jolla Playhouse, oh yes and those DOW Divas, that San Diego Opera investment group that Iris is Founder and President of. And that is just the short list.

So with a balmy summer night, Iris and Matt invited guests to their home for a casual and very chic terrace party August 30th. 2009. The reason was to celebrate Iris feeling great after back surgeries, and well frankly the blessings of family and friends.

Amidst the casually chic crowd were Judith Harris and Dr. Robert Singer, Joan and Irwin Jacobs, Robin and Gerry Parsky, Valerie and Harry Cooper, Jeanne Jones and Don Breitenberg, Bea and Bob Epsten, Jennifer and Dr. Richard Greenfield, Candace Cohen, Charles Brandes, UCSD Chancellor Marye Anne Fox, Zandra Rhodes and Salah Hassanein, Karen and Donald Cohn, Sheryl and Harvey White, Anna Sue and John Wilson of the Timken, Lynda Forsha and Hugh Davies of MCASD, Ann and Ian Campbell of the San Diego Opera, and many more.

Poolside drinks were served from the palapa, a music ensemble played perfectly festive music, and Robert Armstrong and the Hyatt La Jolla team provided the great cuisine.

There were very addictive French Fries, sliders, sushi, you name it. All bite size and delicious.

Strauss family members there were many including Lise Wilson and Steve Strauss, grandchildren, Iris's mother, and their daughter Tamara Alter.

Tamara Alter is a gemologist and jewelry designer. One of her designs with rare, colorful stones was a gift to her father. Matt wears it proudly on his right hand. The left ring finger of course is committed to Iris!

Iris remarked "This is a thank you party for all of you, who have supported me, and Matt, thru this past most difficult time in my life. So thank you, thank you, thank you to all."

Cheers to Iris and Matt not only for all they do for San Diego, but for all the examples they set for others.


Iris with her Mother

Valerie Cooper with Mary Epsten ** Jeanne Jones

Tamara Alter ** Valerie Cooper with Candace Cohen

Jennifer Greenfield with Valerie Cooper, Karen Cohn, Sheryl White and Bea Epsten

UCSD Chancellor Marye Anne Fox with Charles Brandes

Dr. Robert Singer with Gerry and Robin Parsky ** Matt Strauss greeting Jennifer Greenfield

Cute shoes abounded!

Karen Cohn with Matt Strauss

Matt Strauss with his daughter Tamara Alter

Dr. Richard Greenfield

Karen Cohn with Sheryl White

Hugh Davies of the MCASD with Anna Sue and John Wilson of the Timken Museum of Art

Joan Jacobs with Judith Harris and Robin Parsky

Gerry Parsky with Irwin Jacobs

Zandra Rhodes in Zandra Rhodes with Don Breitenberg in Versace

Salah Hassanein with Ian Campbell of the San Diego Opera, UCSD Chancellor Marye Anne Fox, and Charles Brandes

A Beautiful Table Centerpiece

The Whimsical Pink Teapot Purse and Glasses of Zandra Rhodes

Iris Strauss with her Mother

Dr. Richard Greenfield with a couple

Matthew Strauss with Richard Greenfield

Matthew Strauss with Jennifer and Richard Greenfield

Richard and Lynda Kerr (they had just come from renewing their vows cliffside in Del Mar) with Iris Strauss and Iris's Grandson

Judith Harris and Robert Singer with Iris Strauss and her Grandson

Candace Cohen with Matt Strauss

Tamara Alter with Richard and Jennifer Greenfield

Steve Strauss with Iris Strauss

Tamara Alter with Harry and Valerie Cooper

reported by Margo Schwab

pictured here with Valerie Cooper


The Buzz


Happy Holidays....


Upcoming Events


October 16th - The Rainforest Alliance will host its gala.


October 17th - Sundt Memorial Fundraiser.


October 17th - The Rancho Coastal Humane Society will host its Animal House fundraiser. For details please visit


October 22nd - The Walden Family Services will host their 6th Annual wine D'Vine event. Please visit for more details.


November 7th - The Golden Hangers / FCC benefit for Make-A-Wish and San Diego Variety Children's Network.


November 13th - Scripps Mercy Hospital will host its 2nd Annual 'Dressed to the Nth Degree' evening featuring San Diego's 10 best dressed women and 10 best dressed men as chosen by Leonard Simpson. Michael Neil will be the Honorary Chair. For details and tickets please visit:


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* Margo Schwab, more formally known as Margaret E. Schwab, has produced, written, interviewed and photographed for various media organizations since 1989. Schwab attended Holton Arms School, La Jolla Country Day School and La Jolla High School. Schwab has a B.A. from Scripps College, spent a business internship with S.A.I.C., Science Applications International Corporation, and earned a Masters of Business degree, M.B.A., from the University of San Diego. Schwab additionally took college courses from Harvard University, and Syracuse University. Schwab volunteers for numerous charity organizations. She also continues to support animal organizations and the prevention of people and animal abuse. Schwab is the editor of The Social Diary.

The Social Diary is pleased to announce new partnerships with the San Diego Humane Society and San Diego News Network.



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