Norfolk - Morry Reynolds, basso performer, volunteer and avid patron of the arts, died in Norfolk on Tuesday, May 7, 2013.
His death from cancer was preceded by a wonderful day reminiscing with family and friends in his home. On Sunday he hosted one of his famous parties, where friends and colleagues of the Virginia Opera gathered in his honor, around his piano and regaled him with favorite opera and musical theatre choruses and arias. That night will long be remembered by all in attendance. The evening included a sparkler salute to Morry while everyone sang "I Could Have Danced All Night."
Pursuing a lifelong ambition, Morry appeared in nearly 500 performances of 51 productions with the Virginia Opera while singing regularly with the Virginia Symphony Chorus. He also sang with the Hampton Roads Men's Chorus and the Virginia Chorale. He traveled to Italy several summers and performed with the Festival Musica e Arte. He was a member of the Wycliff Presbyterian Church Choir and a former choir member of Trinity Episcopal Church of Portsmouth.
Morry was born in Campbellsburg, Ind. on December 30, 1928. His father Everett Reynolds, a minister, his mother Ruby McClain Reynolds and sister, Arlene Reynolds (Skipper) and he stayed close to their Midwest roots, moving only occasionally from small town to small town with his father's ministry.
In 1948, Morry attended Indiana University in Bloomington earning a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration and Bachelor of Science in Music in 1952 followed by a Master's Degree in Music in 1954. While there, Morry performed with the University Singers, the Men's Concert Choir, the University Marching Band and was a member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia. He also appeared in the U.S. Stage premiere of Billy Budd as the Second Mate and in the role of Klingsor in Wagner's Parsifal in the first performances of what is now an annual tradition at IU.
After college, Morry moved to New York City where he served in management with several firms including the Sterling Drug Company, Parus Export Import Corp. and Windsor Wigs Inc. (a wig factory!) and later became a project leader in data processing and office automation for Sanofi and the United Nations Development Programme.
His job with the United Nations took him to many countries, which suited his love of travel, and he became fluent in Spanish and French. In New York he was a member of the professional choirs of Church of the Resurrection and Church of the Ascension.
Upon retiring in 1993, he moved to Norfolk, Va. and over the next 20 years became well known for opening up his lovely home for weddings and parties where he enjoyed the company of his many friends and visiting performers of the opera and symphony. He fed his passion for music beginning with the opera productions of Simon Bolivar and La Boheme in 1994 and continuing with many memorable performances including Die Fledermaus, Turandot, Rigoletto, The Merry Widow and finally The Pearl Fishers in 2013.
He is survived by a loving family including, Kimberly and Jeffery Laurent, Jeffrey and Debra Marie Skipper, Malia and Gardner Rhea and Kari Foster and Richard Hurwitz; and many great nieces and nephews.
The family will be accepting well wishes and memories in his home on Saturday, May 11, 2013 from 12 noon until 3 p.m. Indicative of his volunteer and patronage spirit, Morry has asked that those wishing to honor his memory donate to the Morry Reynolds Fund of the Virginia Opera. The Fund will provide support for the training of singers with a focus on opera performance.
"A true measure of success lies not so much in what you have achieved but in knowing that you have touched the lives of others."
Published in The Virginian Pilot on May 10, 2013