CINCINNATI - Local philanthropist Louise Nippert died Monday at the age of 100.
The city icon and art patron died at her home in Indian Hill surrounded by her family and friends.
Nippert is the widow of Louis Nippert, who owned the Reds when they were the "Big Red Machine" in the 1970s and was a Procter and Gamble heir.
The couple sold their majority ownership interest in the club in 1981, but retained a minority interest that was held by Mrs. Nippert until her death.
Reds President and Chief Executive Officer Bob Castellini said, "The Nippert family has been a proud steward of this great franchise for decades, and its influence is woven into the fabric of our long and storied history. No person loved the Cincinnati Reds more than Mrs. Nippert, and her players loved her for her devotion to the family atmosphere she fostered within the organization. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends during this difficult time."
Mrs. Nippert will be remembered for many things, including her generous support of the arts in the city. She donated $85 million to maintain the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and support its continued collaboration with the city's opera and ballet companies.
"If it weren't for that gift, this orchestra as we know it today would simply not exist," said Trey Devey, President of the Cincinnati Symphony and Pops Orchestra.
Nippert graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 1934. She was an accomplished singer and studied voice with Cincinnati Conservatory of Music faculty member Thomas James Kelly.
Mrs. Nippert and her late husband were generous givers to the University of Cincinnati. She wanted to support young people in music education.
"I think she is really an inspiration to my generation because there are not a lot of philanthropists like her around anymore. I've been inspired by her dedication to the community especially to the arts," said Natalie Bieser, co-chair of CSO Encore, Urban Professional Group.
The Cincinnati Symphony and Pops Orchestra released the following statement Monday afternoon:
"We join with the entire community in remembering and honoring the life of Louise Dieterle Nippert. It is difficult to put into words what Mrs. Nippert meant to the Cincinnati Symphony and Pops Orchestra, the important artistic partners with whom we collaborate, and of course the community this great Orchestra serves. Her commitment and generosity were unparalleled, and her remarkable impact will be felt for generations to come."
Mrs. Nippert was often a fixture at Music Hall enjoying the view from her very own box, number 7.
"I was just speaking with colleagues in the pit rehearsing La Traviata saying Mrs. Nippert had becoming to concerts since before the eldest member of our orchestra was even born. This is someone who has been a constant fixture every time we come to a concert. She's there," said Stacey Woolley, a violinist with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.
Evans Mirages is The Harry T. Wilks Artistic Director of the Cincinnati Opera. He just spent time with Mrs. Nippert at her Indian Hill home where she liked to entertain various performers.
"I think what distinguishes the generosity of Mrs. Nippert and the generosity of her late husband Louis was that they were Cincinnatians. Their roots were deep in this city. Generations. Four or five generations," said Mirages. "So that's why they were supporters of the Reds, UC, CCM and various causes including arts institutions."
Mrs. Nippert's support and generosity are expected to be felt for a long time.
"We will feel the impact of her generosity literally for generations, generations to come," said Victoria Morgan, CEO of the Cincinnati Ballet. "Isn't that amazing? She is always with us."