Closing Chord: Doris Stovall

Doris Edwards Stovall (1934-2014)

As a General Manager of a major theatre, she might have been the best friend ATOS and a great theatre organ ever had.

Doris Edwards Stovall, former general manager of the Pasadena Civic Auditorium and the Embassy Theatre in Fort Wayne, IN, passed away in Snellville, GA on February 1, 2014. She was 79.

A Georgia native, she never lost that famous Southern charm. She was graduated from Toccoa High School in 1951, and the Harrison Draughon School of Commerce in 1953.

In the late 1970’s, Ms. Stovall was named General Manager of the famous Pasadena Civic Auditorium, and it was she, with lead input from J.B. Nethercutt and Gordon Belt (Mr. Nethercutt purchased and donated the organ) who helped champion the installation of the great five-manual Moller “touring” organ made famous first by Reginald Foort. The late David Juncheon installed that one-of-a-kind instrument, which premiered April 23, 1980. And while Doris was running the show, that organ was heard, and heard often.

Confessing that her fear of earthquakes made living in Southern California too difficult, Ms. Stovall moved to Ft. Wayne, IN and took over the reins of the Embassy Theatre. Her efforts led to major fundraising that paid for a massive, multi-million dollar renovation of the stage house and dressing rooms, allowing for the biggest Broadway productions to play the Embassy. Her leadership and forceful personality led to many major successes at the Embassy Theatre during her tenure there, including major restoration work on the Grande Page theatre pipe organ.

Upon her retirement from the Embassy Theatre, Doris returned to her native Georgia. She is survived by her son William B. Stovall and four grandchildren. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Embassy Theatre Foundation in Fort Wayne, IN.

(pic: Doris Stovall with Embassy Theatre usher at theatres 75th anniversary celebration.)