The widow of industrialist Winton Blount has died. Carolyn Blount passed away Tuesday morning at her home in Franklin, NC.
Carolyn Self Blount was educated at Auburn University and Huntingdon College and for six years was a teacher of literature at Sidney Lanier High School. She married Winton Blount in December of 1981.
Her love of Shakespeare and the classics prompted her early involvement with the Alabama Shakespeare Festival.
Over the years, in addition to serving on the board of directors of ASF, she has also served on the boards of the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, the Alabama Humanities Foundation, the Montgomery Ballet, First United Methodist Church, Rhodes College Art Council for the Moss Endowment for the Visual Arts, Huntingdon College and the Vail Valley Foundation Board. She holds an honorary doctorate from Huntingdon College and received the Alumni Achievement in the Humanities Award from Auburn University in 1989.
The Blounts brought the Alabama Shakespeare Festival to Montgomery. When the original ASF Theatre in Anniston was in financial trouble in the early '80s, Carolyn and Winton Blount made what at the time was the largest single gift ever made to an American Theatre company and brought the Festival to Montgomery.
Construction of the theatre was by Blount Brothers Corporation and was a gift from the Blounts. The $21.5 million Carolyn Blount Theatre is situated in a 250 acre park.
In a 2000 interview with WSFA's Kim Hendrix, Winton Blount told of Carolyn's love for Shakespeare and how he brought the Festival to life, "When we dedicated it I had Carolyn on stage and turned to her and said, 'I want to seal it with a kiss."
There is a plaque dedicating the Carolyn Blount Theatre on December 7, 1985 in the Grand Lobby of ASF and it reads:
Carolyn, in the same interview, talked of her love of the Shakespeare Festival. "I really love it because it's of God. That's when I can feel what God has done for us and so it's my best time." ASF's first Board chairman in Montgomery, Philip Sellers, says "It is because of Carolyn that we have Shakespeare in Montgomery today. She was a sweet, wonderful, lovely person."
The Blount family has requested that gifts in Carolyn Blount's honor be given to Huntingdon College and the Alabama Shakespeare Festival.
Alabama Shakespeare Festival Artistic Director Kent Thompson said, "The entire company of the Alabama Shakespeare Festival mourns the loss of its matriarch - for Carolyn was truly the queen of ASF. Her love, generosity, and graciousness won our hearts as much as Red and Carolyn's gift of this theatre dazzled our sights."