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A Life Well-Lived

Mary Stern

Mary Stern was a longtime lover and benefactor of the Orchestra.

The very embodiment of a life well-lived was beautifully reflected in that of Mary S. Stern. Born of the Depression, she learned to live a life of frugality and modesty with empathy for others and a desire to give back. And give back, she did. The legacy that she and her late husband, Joseph S. Stern Jr., created over numerous decades will support the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and many other organizations in the region for decades to come.

“My father was at peace with himself when at the Symphony,” shares their son, Peter Stern, M.D. He adds that they loved the CSO their entire lives with a “religious affection,” and that the Orchestra was integral to their lives and culture.

Following the death of her husband, Mary continued to regularly attend concerts and support the Orchestra despite her gradual loss of hearing. According to Peter, she enjoyed just being present. Mary made sustained gifts to the Fund for Great Artists in 2012, which included endowment support for the appearances of Joshua Bell, Midori and Jean-Yves Thibaudet, to name a few. Three years later she endowed the Mary and Joseph S. Stern Chair for French Horn currently held by Duane Dugger. Peter expressed how highly his parents cherished their relationship with conductors and musicians of the CSO, and how extremely proud they would be of the renovation of Music Hall.

We are grateful to have called Mary and Joseph our friends at the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. Please join us in remembering an outstanding individual and couple.

If you knew the Sterns, or know someone like them, giving a gift as a tribute is a wonderful way to honor their dedication. For information on memorial and tribute gifts, please contact Kate Farinacci at 513.744.3202 or

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