Cara Bryn Saylor Polk passed away on the morning of April 11,2023, from heart failure while asleep in her bed. She was a resident of Legend of Lancaster.
Born in 1943, in Danville, Illinois, Cara grew up in East Petersburg, PA. She graduated from Hempfield High School in Landisville, PA and from Smith College in Northampton, MA. She was awarded a Shubert Playwright Fellowship for an MFA at Villanova University.
Cara devoted her life to the arts. While in college she was a Yale Drama Festival winner as a playwright. She spent several years in New York City acting and modeling before focusing on work as a writer. Notably, she served as head writer for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, scripting the Jerry Lewis Telethon; worked as director of Communications and Development for Hahnemann Medical College in Philadelphia, where she wrote and directed documentaries; and wrote two published novels, Images and Her Mother’s Daughter.
After her marriage to investigative reporter James R. Polk, she moved to the Washington, DC area then to Marietta, GA, where she applied her talent to writing and directing curriculum-based plays. Her musical “The Legend of Chief Sope” received national recognition by the National Association for Social Studies and she was named educator of the year by Cobb County Historical Society. She was involved in the local community theater, both as a writer and director. She also developed an after-school arts program at her local elementary school. She enjoyed painting and gifted many of her family and friends with her flower people pictures.
Cara was full of whimsey and song and delighted in making others giggle. She is survived by her daughter Abigail, stepson Geoffrey, brother Lee, sister Jo Ellen, nine nieces and nephews and eleven great nieces and nephews. She is predeceased by her husband James R. Polk and parents Betty Forney Saylor and Harold M. Saylor
A memorial gathering for family and friends will take place in June.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to American Theater Wing https://americantheatrewing.org/ or any local non-profit that supports the arts.
Christa Huth says
My condolences go out to Caras family. I love n miss her very much as i know her family does. She is definitely missed and always will be in our hearts. I called her my Fairy Godmother. She was like a mother to me. And im so glad she was in my life. I am so glad i got to spend time with her and see her one last time. She is our sweet angel now. And free of pain. My deepest sympathies to all her family .
Judy Smith says
Cara was my neighbor for as many years that she lived in Sibley Forest subdivision, Marietta. She used to drop presents off in my mailbox regularly for my granddaughter. I know she did that for others children as well. She had lots of ideas regarding theatre and worked hard at impletmenting those ideas. She was always friendly and eager to talk to you when we were outside. It is sad to see such and innovative individual like her is no longer with us. She was so giving that there was concern of her being taken advantage. Abigail was about the same age as my granddaughter and Cara talked about her a lot. Wishing the family to remember the joy Cara brought others as they will surely miss this special family member.
Sue Marshall says
Cara was such a fun, loving person and we enjoyed many laughs together when going to dinner, ushering at the Alliance Children’s Theatre, helping her with projects or trying to teach her technology and hints on her phone. She loved to sprinkle everyone with her blue “Dem dust” but differences in politics never stood in the way of our friendship. I can imagine her singing and dancing to Angels above.
Janet Groves Luisi says
I had the pleasure of working with Cara on “The Legend Of Chief Sope” and while doing so, discovering our family’s connection to the two lead characters, the Groves brothers. She was especially excited to meet the real-life granddaughter of one of the leads, Emily Groves Kress, who was 85 at the time of the play. Cara had the ability to make magic out of ordinary things. Every child in the fifth grade had a part in that play, whether they played a child, a chipmunk, or a tree – and she made them all feel like stars. She also brought sunshine into an elderly lady’s life when Cara introduced Emily on opening night, presented her with a big bouquet of roses, and made sure she was featured in the Marietta Daily Journal as a local living legend. Thank you, Cara, for all the joy you brought to so many!