Mary Street Montague

October 6, 2019


CHARLOTTE - Mary Street Montague of Charlotte died on October 6, 2019. Mary was born in Charlotte on January 10, 1930 to Clarence Parke and Ruth Wallace Street. After attending Charlotte's Central High School and graduating from Virginia's Sweet Briar College in 1951, Mary returned to Charlotte with a commitment to enhancing cultural understanding and appreciation in the Queen City, with the ultimate goal of making Charlotte a cultural arts center for the southeast.

Soon after returning to Charlotte, Mary joined the Charlotte Junior League and would later serve as its President. She went on to serve as a member of the Symphony's Board of Directors, Chairperson for the Charlotte Symphony Women's Association, and as Chairperson of the women's division of the United Arts Fund Drive. She later also served as Chairman of the Symphony Guild and advised in the formation of Friends of the Opera. In addition, she served on the boards of Charlotte's Education Foundation and the Charlotte Nature Museum, and as the Nature Museum's Chairman.

As founder and chairperson of the Cultural Arts Committee for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, Mary led development of a vision for the arts in CMS. In 1971, a much broader project charged with formulating a long-range plan for Mecklenburg county in all major areas of interest was undertaken with Mary as chairperson of its Cultural Activities Committee. Out of this committee, the idea for Spirit Square Center for Arts and Education, which opened in 1976, was born.

As Spirit Square's interim Director, Mary took on major responsibilities for the opening and was instrumental in the development of Actors Contemporary Ensemble, later Charlotte Repertory Theater, one of the region's first professional theaters. She then went on to assume full responsibility for implementation, scheduling and administration of all programs as Spirit Square's Program Director.

Mary's achievements at Spirit Square led to her being hired as Executive Director of Children’s Theatre of Charlotte in 1979. With her guidance, Children's Theatre strengthened its management and financial base, allowing CTC to focus on increasing the professional quality of its performances and on expanding its offerings to include a full-scale, in-house educational program and outreach classes throughout the community. Under Mary's leadership, Children's Theatre developed a multifaceted production program dedicated to exposing children of all ages to a broad variety of theatre and performance experiences. And in 1989, she led CTC's adoption of Tarradiddle Players as its Resident Touring Company, enabling Children's Theatre to extend its performances beyond its own stages to towns, schools, and community centers throughout the Southeast.

In 2005, after more than fifty years of heartfelt dedication to the arts and education in her community, Mary's many contributions to the arts and education in Charlotte were honored with a portrait that hangs in the Playhouse Lobby of ImaginOn. Mary was preceded in death by her husband of 53 years, George E. N. Montague. She is survived by sons, Buck and his wife Amy of Charlotte; Bob and his wife Julie of Aptos, CA; Bill of Middletown, RI; sister, Jane Steele of Raleigh; grandchildren, Eli, his wife Mary, daughter Laurel and son Reid of Denver; Addison and his daughter Charlotte of Charlotte, and Parke and her husband Alex Vickers of Denver, Bailey of Aptos, CA, and Brennah of Woodland, CA.

A memorial service will be held at First Presbyterian Church of Charlotte on Thursday, October 10, 2019 at 11:00 AM. The family will receive friends in the Church Fellowship Hall after the service.  Memorials can be made to First Presbyterian Church, 200 West Trade Street, Charlotte, NC  28202.

Arrangements are in the care of Kenneth W. Poe Funeral & Cremation Service, 1321 Berkeley Ave., Charlotte, NC 28204; (704) 641-7606. Online condolences can be shared at


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