Kassie Minor had two families. Her husband and six children made up one of them. The other: the entire Charlotte Symphony.
For decades until she died early Saturday at age 90, Minor was the orchestra’s most devoted booster. When her children were growing up, she divided her time between raising them and tending to the orchestra – from serving on its board of directors to chauffeuring guest artists to cooking for post-concert parties.
Minor also found time to model clothes at Montaldo’s when it was Charlotte’s snazziest store. That earned her a nickname, based on her maiden name, that still bubbles up from her children: Sassy Kassie Massie with the Classy Chassis.
“She had that kind of pizazz,” Ettie Minor Luckey, one of her daughters, said Monday. “She was a showoff.”
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That made Minor the opposite of her husband, Bill Minor, a Charlotte accountant. Despite being an introvert, he had to get used to having musicians or members of dance companies in his home into the wee hours of the morning when Kassie brought them home after performances – as she often did.
“She loved to laugh,” said Alan Black, the orchestra’s principal cellist. “I always knew when I was going to her house that I’d be entertained.”
Part of what made it entertaining, Black said, was that Minor always said exactly what she thought – in a gravelly voice that made her pronouncements even more potent.
“She was so hilarious,” Black said. “Kind of cantankerous – but loving.”
Black is one of several Charlotte Symphony players who will perform in the services for Minor at 3 p.m. today at Christ Episcopal Church, 1412 Providence Road.
When Black was hired as the orchestra’s principal cellist in 1986, he said, Minor let him live a couple of months for free in her grandmother’s home – which was unoccupied – until the house he had bought was ready.
“She loved the orchestra and loved us all,” Black said.
Minor was born in Virginia on Sept. 7, 1921, and raised in Charlotte. Because of growing up during the Depression, Luckey said, Minor never got to study music herself.
But she saw that her children had the chance.
Only Luckey became a professional musician. But another of Minor’s children, Hardin Minor, discovered modern dance and mime.
Even though those were unconventional pursuits in 1970s Charlotte, Luckey said, his mother supported him.
Hardin Minor now turns up all over Charlotte as a performer. He sums up his mother’s attitude as one of “passion and joy and celebration.”
Because Minor couldn’t be onstage, Luckey said, she made her contribution to the arts behind the scenes.
One of her favorite roles with the Charlotte Symphony was as chauffeur and helper to guest artists.
She did whatever they needed, Luckey said, from making their favorite sandwiches to washing their clothes.
Her family now has a collection of famous musicians’ photographs that they autographed, thanking her.
“She made the artists happy,” Luckey said. “In turn, they made beautiful music for her.”