Triangle Opera Studios Mourns The Loss of A Great Friend

Posted by admin on March 11, 2013

We have just learned of the death of Florence Poyner, one of the most remarkable human beings it has ever been our privilege to know! Our shock and sadness is such that it will take us several days to get to the hard, bottom-lined truth – how much we will miss her.

Florence was a great friend to us and to our fledgling Triangle Opera Studios. She had a special place in her heart for artists – perhaps partly because her daughter, Margaret, was such a fine performing artist. But I suspect deep inside of Florence’s soul was a special love of the arts regardless of how she or her children conducted their lives. Florence made things happen for the arts in our community. Florence underwrote the Opera Company of North Carolina – sure, partly because her daughter and son-in-law were heading up the project – but even more because she wanted opera of quality to be a part of our local community life. So she continued to support the off-spring of OCNC even after it evolved into NC Opera under different management. She was a generous donor to the NC Symphony, as well. She even found it in her heart to contribute to our Triangle Opera Studios. And I expect there are numerous other arts organizations in our area who owe her thanks.

I have so many Florence stories I could write  here – stories of her personal consideration for other people – her concern for those not as well off as she was – her incredibly generous spirit in general. But there are others who will be in a better position to tell such stories – those who have known her longer than we. I will only say that it didn’t take long for us to realize what a very special human being this lady was.

My God, we are going to miss that dry sense of humor, that challenging but sympathetic  concern for our well-being, that probing interest in what was going on around her, that charming and warm (in spite of herself) demeanor which greeted every visitor to her home. I think maybe Florence was ready to go. But, damn it Florence, we weren’t ready! What are we going to do without you! (She would answer me, “Suck it up and get on with your life!” OK, Florence. We will do our best.

We ask singers and performing artists all over our community to join us in paying tribute to a great lady – in celebrating her life, mourning her passing and extending to her family our deepest condolences.

Vaya con Dios, Florence!

Ken Smith and Christine Weidinger