A Gradual Affair

Kingston Fletcher smiling

Kingston Fletcher prior to his "Angel's Call" speech at the home of Larry and Rhonda Sheakley.

After graduating from Yale University and working in the advertising and automobile industries, Kingston Fletcher began a sterling career with Procter & Gamble in 1952. During his 34 years with P&G, his assignments carried him around the world.

His assignment in Venezuela brought him together with his late wife Doris. They enjoyed opera together in Caracas even before their 1953 marriage. When P&G responsibilities took him to Italy, their "gradual love affair" with the art form was solidified. King had had a flair for drama dating back to his youth in Minneapolis, where he was president of his high school drama society. But his love of arts and business expertise converged in 1982 when he joined the board of Cincinnati Opera.

At that time, the Opera was succeeding artistically, but the finances were unsteady. In 1985 King's leadership skills, financial acumen, and dedication earned him the presidency of the Opera's board of trustees. Capable financial management was the cornerstone of his leadership. "The key thing was to get opera on a break-even basis," he said straightforwardly to the Cincinnati Enquirer in 1987.

When King concluded two three-year terms of leadership with Cincinnati Opera, he was troubled that the company's endowment remained small. In 1991, he founded the Society of Angels, an assemblage of like-minded supporters who cared about securing the Opera's future.

He drafted rules and regulations to manage the endowment, including the investment and spending policies that remain in effect in 2009.

In 1992, Kingston Fletcher was one of the first donors to step forward and announce his gift to the Opera's endowment, turning his "gradual love affair" into a legacy that will last for many generations. Today he remains a steadfast leader and promoter of the Society of Angels.

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