NEILMA Gantner of Bermagui passed away peacefully on June 15 aged 92 years old.
She was surrounded by her family and friends in a place she loved: her home in Bermagui.
A published author, avid sailor and long-term resident of Barragga Bay, Ms Gantner was devoted to the region.
She founded the Four Winds Festival in 1991, helping change the way the local community engages with music.
Ms Gantner, along with John Ellingworth and Michael Brimer, first conceived the idea to bring high-quality classical music from around the world to the Bermagui region.
Over the 24 years since the first concert was presented in an outdoor amphitheatre in 1991, Ms Gantner oversaw the transformation of Four Winds from a biennial festival to a cultural hub for the region.
The ambition to build a permanent amphitheatre and then an indoor creative space with world class acoustics - the Windsong Pavilion – reflected her lifelong motto “when in doubt – do”.
Ms Gantner was committed to creating opportunities for young people to become involved in the arts, and was keen that Four Winds offers ways to participate in music making for people of all ages.
In February 2015, she was one of four outstanding Australian authors featured at the Four Winds: Four Writers Literary Event.
Ms Gantner’s latest book, “My Travelling Life”, which presents a collection of pieces and extracts from her personal journals, was launched at that event.
Both the local community and Four Winds audiences were blessed with and inspired by Ms Gantner’s belief in the power of music and love for the Far South Coast.
She was also a founding member and life governor of The Myer Foundation, a member of the Sidney Myer Fund’s Arts and Humanities Committee and co-founder of the Kenneth Myer Asian Performing Theatre Series at the Arts Centre Melbourne.
Ms Gantner was daughter of Sidney and Merlyn Myer and sister of Kenneth Myer, Sidney “Bails” Myer and Marigold Southey.
She was born in San Francisco and later graduated with a degree from the English Faculty at Stanford in the United States.
Ms Gantner was mother to Carrillo and Vallejo, grandmother to Cassandra, Vallejo, Dashiell, Yannis and Carlos, and great-grandmother to August, Salinger and Rueben.
A service to honour Ms Gantner’s remarkable life and enduring legacy was held at the Four Winds Windsong Pavilion on June 18.
Neilma Baillieu Gantner 7.11.1922 – 15.6.2015.