Skip to Main Content

The Barbara D. Stewart Legacy Society

According to all who knew her, Barbara Stewart had passion for life, and gave her all to those things dear to her heart. She loved to travel, and crossed the globe to destinations including southeast Asia, China, Tibet and India, as well as Canada and New Zealand, which she toured by motorcycle. In her journeys throughout the U.S. and Europe, however, opera was the major focus.

She loved The Atlanta Opera and served on the company's board as Treasurer, Vice President, and President at various times. Thanks to her professional background in economics, strategic planning, and financial analysis, she understood the company challenges, but also its strengths and its potential. She invested both her time and her gifts to ensure the Opera’s future

The Atlanta Opera lost a tremendous friend when Barbara passed away in 2010, and the Company misses the petite, quiet woman with the warm smile entering the theatre before a performance. We miss seeing the little twinkle in her eye as she cast a sideways glance as she walked through the lobby. However, we have learned much from her steely determination to see The Opera succeed, which it has thanks in large part to Barbara’s contributions of her time, her leadership, and the examples she set for the rest of us to follow.   

Here are just three things we learned from Barbara:

  1. If you are going to succeed you must think. Don’t make decisions based on emotion; base the decision on a clear need, a plan of action, then engage the right people, follow through, evaluate the outcome and adjust the plan when necessary.
  2. Invest your time in what educates, entertains and inspires. Opera uses the human voice and glorious orchestration to tell stories. Opera can reflect humanity at its best and sometimes at its worst. Opera can open our minds to different perspectives and ideas. Opera can make our spine tingle, make us laugh, make us feel compassion and empathy, and sometimes it makes us cry.
  3. Give a gift that continues long after you have left this earth, and leave a planned gift in your will. Barbara did what she challenged others to do – she left a gift toThe Atlanta Opera, a gift that allowed the company to survive the recession, helped grow the endowment, provided immediate financial resources for the operations of the company, and set the stage for the company’s future. This became her legacy.

We would like to thank Barbara for the woman she was, the advice and counsel she provided, and the gifts she gave toThe Atlanta Opera.

In honor of Barbara’s many contributions toThe Atlanta Opera, our planned giving division, the Encore Society, has been renamed the Barbara D. Stewart Legacy Society.

How will you like to be remembered?