MACON, Ga. — The woman who kept sugar plum fairies dancing in the heads of Central Georgians for decades, Jean Weaver, passed away earlier this month at age 95.
The Founder of the Nutcracker of Middle Georgia is missed dearly by the people she worked with.
Weaver founded the organization for the Nutcracker in 1985 with a team of people she trusted could help bring her vision to life.
Marianna Gebara was a part of that team as a stage manager.
"I remember it was a Sunday and she invited some of us to come to the dance studio on Poplar Street and she said 'I want to do Nutcracker,'" Gebara said.
Tony Long is the production chairman. He says when he joined on he thought it would be like his work with other Macon theaters.
"I kind of thought that it would be like shows at MLT or Theatre Macon that I was involved in, that I'd do that and be through. I never envisioned that it would be 37 years later," Long said.
He says working with Weaver and the Nutcracker just sticks with you.
Other board members say she was wonderful to work with.
"Jean was a person who connected with everyone," board member Donna Williams said. "She had strong opinions, she was not reluctant to share them but she never held a grudge."
Williams says the Weaver was a positive person.
"There's a person on our board who has always called her sunshine for that very aspect of her personality," she said.
Gebara says that Weaver was a perfectionist and this aspect of her personality made them a good team.
"We would argue, discuss strongly but our goal was always the same and that was to give Macon and this Middle Georgia Community the best production we could do," she said.
During the decades the Nutcracker performed in Central Georgia, Weaver helped mold generations of young dancers. Her funeral was held Saturday and many former students attended.
"That's one common thread they all said is how she was able to give them confidence and self-esteem," Gerbara said.
Weaver and Gerbara worked together until they both retired from the Nutcracker in 2016.
A few years ago, Weaver's children told Gerbara that she was to manage one last thing for Weaver: her funeral.
"I was in shock because it was something we never discussed. But I had to laugh after I thought about it because I thought 'this is our last production together,'" she said.
Long says that even with her gone The Nutcracker of Middle Georgia is in good hands and he's sure the show will go on even when he is done with the show.
"So with her gone with know that she will be there in spirit and we will still do the show for Jean Weaver," Long said.