A driving force of the arts in the region has passed away. Tri-Cities Opera co-founder Peyton Hibbit died March 1 according to postings on social media sites.

Hibbit and the late Carmen Savoca founded the local opera company in 1949 and the organization has gone on to train dozens of singers for the world-wide stage.  Hibbit was 93.

Tributes are appearing on numerous sites devoted to opera and the arts.

There has been no word on funeral arrangements.