Eleanor Qadirah, founder of the Rowan Blues & Jazz Festival, dies late Monday

Published 12:23 pm Wednesday, August 1, 2018

SALISBURY — Eleanor Qadirah, the woman who created a singular event in Salisbury — the Rowan Blues & Jazz Festival — died late Monday night of congestive heart failure.

She passed away in a Concord hospice house, not long after moving there from Carolinas HealthCare System-NorthEast in Concord.

Qadirah first established the festival in 1999. But she was heavily involved in many other organizations, such as the J.C. Price High School Alumni Association, for which she once was national president; the Rowan Arts Council; Prevent Child Abuse Rowan; Leadership Rowan; the N.C. Central University’s Golden Eagle Society; Monroe Street School; Jazz Interaction NYC; the Rufty-Holmes Senior Center Computer Club; and Black Achievers First at the Hurley Family YMCA.

She was an East Spencer native and N.C. Central University graduate in business and home economics. Over her life, Qadirah lived in Baltimore, New York City, Buffalo and Taylorsville before returning to live in Rowan County.

In her work life, she wore the hats of a therapeutic dietitian, educator, mentor and social worker. But in retirement here in Salisbury, she was best known for the annual jazz and blues festival, usually held in the fall, which brought artists young and old to the city.

Qadirah was a longtime cancer survivor, who in recent years had coped with her heart condition.

The Post will have a more in-depth look at Qadirah’s life in Thursday’s edition.

Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263.