It is with a heavy heart that YWCA shares the news that Myrna Deckert has passed away. Myrna served as CEO of YWCA El Paso del Norte Region for 33 years and was a YWCA staff member for many years before that. It is impossible to measure the impact she had on our organization and the El Paso community. She was an incredible leader who is largely responsible for creating the YWCA El Paso we all know today. She was also an incredible person who supported those around her, empowered others, and loved this city. She will be greatly missed by all who knew her and who were touched by her work and generosity. We send our condolences and best wishes to her family members and loved ones.
Below is a note from YWCA’s CEO, Dr. Sylvia Acosta:
I was heartbroken to learn of Myrna Deckert’s passing. She was an incredible mentor, role model, and friend. To serve in a role that Myrna served in is to truly stand on the shoulders of greatness.
YWCA El Paso has always had a special place in my heart. I grew up attending programs for children and teens and always enjoyed my time here. When I had the opportunity to return as CEO of this organization, I did so excitedly, yet cautiously. This is the largest YWCA in the nation and, at the time, was a 109-year-old organization. There is a lot of responsibility and history that comes in this role!
But Myrna knew I could do this. She believed in me, mentored me, provided me with perspective and the organization’s history, she always answered my calls, and always supported me. She was also always great at witty comebacks and creating joy and laughter. I will deeply miss her, and I am grateful for all she gave to me and to the El Paso community.
Chances are, even if you do not recognize Myrna’s name, you or someone you know has been impacted by her. When she began her role as CEO of YWCA El Paso del Norte Region, the organization’s budget was $100,000. It was $35 million when she left. She grew the organization into the largest YWCA in the country, making it possible to serve even more women, children, families, seniors, and other El Pasoans. Even though she was not a native El Pasoan, she loved this community like it was her home. When I heard the news of Myrna’s passing, I went through our archives and found an interview that was done with her in 2009. She said, “The most important thing is the people. The quality of life is wonderful. And the mountains kind of penetrate one’s soul. I think El Paso is this country’s best kept secret. We feel very lucky to have lived here.”
Just as Myrna felt lucky to have lived in El Paso, I feel lucky to have known from her and learned from her. I feel lucky to stand where she once stood and, on behalf of the entire YWCA Board of Directors and team, I hope we will continue to make her proud.
Our entire organization is sending love and condolences to Myrna’s family and friends.
Thank you, Myrna, for everything.
Dr. Sylvia Acosta