LOUISE IRELAND HUMPHREY
Morehead City, NC, November 1, 1918 — Miccosukee, FL, March 18, 2012
Philanthropist Louise Ireland Humphrey dies at ninety-three.
A lifelong supporter of the arts, Humphrey made history in 1986, when she became the first woman president of the Metropolitan Opera Association, succeeding Bruce Crawford in the position when Crawford was appointed the company's general manager. Raised in Ohio, Humphrey was president (1962–84) of the Northern Ohio Opera Association, which sponsored the Met's annual tour performances in Cleveland, and she acted as national coordinator for all of the Met's tour-sponsoring organizations. Humphrey joined the Met board in 1974, and went on to serve as chief executive of the Metropolitan Opera National Council (1980–84). She served as the president of the Met board until 1991 and was an honorary director of the company's board at the time of her death, after a long illness.
The widow of mining executive Gilbert W. Humphrey, Humphrey was a member of a family that valued public service and philanthropy: her parents, Robert Livingstone Ireland and Margaret (Allen) Ireland, her sister, Kate Ireland, and her daughter Margo Bindhardt were all generous supporters of education, conservation and health initiatives as well as the arts. Humphrey's own civic and charitable interests included Case Western Reserve University's Medical School Resources Committee, the Visiting Nurse Association, the National Health Council, the Day Nursery Association, the Tall Timbers Research Foundation and the Wildlife Conservation Fund of America.