Nancy Ball

September 7, 1935 ~ July 29, 2023 (age 87) 87 Years Old


Nancy Ball, a brilliant musical artist and adored mother, grandmother, and aunt, died after a

short illness on July 29, 2023, in West Caldwell, New Jersey, with her loving family at her side.

She was 87 years old. Nancy was born in Albany, New York, on September 7, 1935, the younger

daughter of Rose Kulik and Joseph Kulik, the legendary restaurateur and caterer. Her doting

sister, Suzanne, is deceased.


Nancy was first heard singing from her crib—on pitch—before she could talk. Her parents saw

her natural talent and encouraged her along a path to explore it. At age 11, Nancy recorded a

song (on a 78 rpm) for her mother, ending it by exclaiming, “Happy birthday, Mommy!” At 12,

she began singing in summer arts camps in the Catskills. Later, after graduating from Albany

High School, she was awarded a full scholarship for her opera singing by the fine arts program

at Syracuse University.


As a college sophomore, Nancy was discovered by an agent who insisted that she move to New

York City to study with Thelma Votipka, a star with the Metropolitan Opera and renowned voice

teacher, who took the 19-year-old Nancy to perform in Europe. As another of her students

recalled, Votipka was known for her “light attack, pure vowels, and lyrical, legato

phrasing”—qualities that were paramount in Nancy’s own performances, along with the

emotional warmth and gorgeous tone that imbued every aria and show tune Nancy sang.


Nancy lived in Greenwich Village (when The Village was The Village) with roommate and

concert pianist Maris Brody, who became a lifelong friend. She supported herself with singing

engagements until the age of 26, when she met a dashing, music-loving Albany-born

neurologist, Dr. Stanley Ball, at a party. Several years earlier, their mothers had actually

schemed—unsuccessfully—to get them together, and now the young couple made up for lost

time. Less than a month after the party, Nancy told her father they were getting married—and

that they’d need a wedding catered the following week.


They were married on September 23, 1961, and made their home in Albany, where Stanley’s

practice was established, where they had three children in four years. Through the busy years

that followed, Nancy never lost touch with her art. She concertized in the area, gave singing

lessons, and thrilled to hear great music at Tanglewood and the Saratoga Performing Arts

Center. In her fifties, with two of her operatic comrades in arms, she formed a trio aptly called

“Sophisticated Ladies,” which performed locally.


A voracious reader from childhood, Nancy loved reading to her children. She took up tennis,

swimming, skiing. After Stanley taught her to play bridge, Nancy became a life master; they

became a respected team at doubles tournaments near and far. She and her husband threw

wonderful parties for friends and colleagues and huge family gatherings at their gracious home

on Western Avenue—typically catered by Joe Kulik. The evening’s highlight, after a bit of

coaxing, would invariably be an a cappella solo by Nancy.


After Stanley’s retirement, the couple escaped Albany’s winters in Palm Desert, California,

where they had a big social life, played tennis and tournament bridge, attended college courses,

and went to every concert they could. In later years they relocated to Brooklyn, to share a home

with their oldest child, Susan, and her family. Some time after Stanley’s death in 2017, Nancy

moved to a retirement community in New Jersey, where her fellow residents would urge the

guest musical entertainers to “let Nancy sing!”


To the end of her life, Nancy’s kindness, warmth, and sensitivity made a deep impression on all

whom she encountered. To the end, she lived a life in full. She is survived by her three children

and their spouses, Dr. Susan Ball Roane and Dr. David Roane, Karen Spector and Rabbi

Geoffrey Spector, and David Ball and Bonnie Slyn; by six grandchildren, Eli, Arielle, Joshua,

Jordan, Benjamin, and Jennifer.


Services will be held at 2 p.m. Tuesday, August 1, in the Mendleson Chapel on the grounds of the Beth

Emeth Cemetery, 58 Turner Lane, Albany, New York


Those wishing to remember Nancy Ball in a special way may make a memorial

contribution to the Metropolitan Opera, Tanglewood, or the Saratoga Performing Arts Center.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Nancy Ball, please visit our floral store.


Funeral Service
August 1, 2023

2:00 PM
Mendleson Chapel at Beth Emeth Cemetery
58 Turner Lane
Loudonville, NY 12210


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