Delos founder Amelia Haygood dies at 87


Amelia S. Haygood, a former psychologist whose passion for classical music propelled her to found the independent record label Delos in the '70s and become a leader in digital recording, has died. She was 87.

Haygood died on March 19 at her home in Santa Monica following a decade-long battle with breast cancer, said Harry Pack, her longtime friend and Delos' creative director.

"She was a very strong-willed and creative woman, to come into the industry and start a record label in her 50s," Pack said.

The Los Angeles-based label, once called Delos Records and now named Delos International, became the first independent classical label to issue its own CDs in the United States, said Carol Rosenberger, Delos' vice president for artists and repertory, and also a violinist.

The company has recorded a variety of top artists, from baritone opera singer Dmitri Hvorostovsky to conductor Constantine Orbelian and cellist Janos Starker.

Born Amelia Da Costa Stone on July 15, 1919, in Gainesville, Fla., Haygood took on several professions before becoming a record label executive.

After earning her bachelor's degree in history and international law, she moved to Washington, D.C., to work for the state department, where she became editor and director of publications for its Interdepartmental Committee on Cultural and Scientific Cooperation.

She then married J. Douglas Haygood, a clinical psychologist, and did graduate work in medicine and clinical psychology. The pair later went into practice together in Beverly Hills.

Following her husband's death in 1956, Haygood left her private practice to become a psychological consultant to the Los Angeles County Probation Department.

"She had a wonderful gift of bringing all kinds of people together," Rosenberger said.

In 1973, after rethinking her life following a friend's terminal illness, Haygood took $150,000 of savings and started Delos in her home, Rosenberger said.

She named the label after the Greek island of Delos, the mythological birthplace of Apollo -- the god of music, poetry and healing.

While the company filed for bankruptcy in 1988, it re-emerged and grossed millions in the mid '90s, Rosenberger said.

Haygood is survived by her stepson Robert Haygood of Scottsdale, Ariz., 13 step-grandchildren and several step-great-grandchildren.

"We thought she was going to live to 100. It's a shock. We've been crushed by this," her stepson said.

Haygood's friends and family plan to get together at her Santa Monica home on April 1 for a private tribute.