Memorial Scheduled for Nancy Lee Bass

The philanthropist passed away a week before her 96th birthday.

Monday, Mar 4, 2013  |  Updated 4:45 AM CDT
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Nancy L. Bass Dies at Age 95

Bass Family Photo

Nancy L. Bass (left) died Thursday at the age of 95, her husband Perry R. Bass (right) died in 2006.

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Nancy L. Bass Dies at Age 95

Nancy Lee Bass, philanthropist and matriarch of Fort Worth's leading family died Thursday night a week before her 96th birthday.
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Fort Worth will say goodbye to beloved philanthropist Nancy Lee Bass at the performance hall that bears her name.

On March 1, the matriarch of Fort Worth's leading family died at the age of 95, just one week before her 96th birthday.

Nancy Lee Bass and her husband Perry are the namesakes of Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth's Sundance Square. That's where she will be remembered at a Memorial Service on Saturday, March 16 at 2:00 p.m.

According to Bass Hall, the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra will perform at the memorial.

Legacy of Giving Back

Nancy Lee and Perry were known for their charity, the biggest example of which was the $50 million they gave to various charities on their 50th wedding anniversary in 1991.

"That's what you call giving back," said former Fort Worth Mayor Mike Moncrief. "And then they also gave us four wonderful sons who each, who in their own way, have contributed so greatly to this city."

Just last year, Ed Bass was on hand to celebrate the ground breaking of several new buildings in Sundance Square, which the Bass family helped revitalize over the last few decades. Ed Bass helped organize and finally build what opened as Bass Hall in 1998, but it was named for Nancy Lee and Perry by family friend and international Fort Worth musical legend Van Cliburn. In a meeting, Schutts says before the hall was even organized Cliburn said it must be named for Nancy Lee and Perry.

"And how appropriate that those two friends are now together," Moncrief said, nothing both of their passing.

The National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame building also bears her name. Bass also received the first ever Gloria Lupton Tennison Pioneer Award in 1999 for her work in the community.

"I don't know if you could go to a museum or a cultural institution or any institution in Fort Worth and not find her foot print," said Patricia Riley, executive director of the museum and hall of fame.

Nancy Lee Bass sat on numerous boards, serving three decades as vice president and director of the Sid W. Richardson Foundation. She also served on the boards of the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, the Smithsonian Institution National Council and the advisory board of the Van Cliburn Piano Competition, Fort Worth. It is work many people in Fort Worth might not be aware of.

"And she wasn't big on being on camera, talking to reporters, or certainly for taking credit for doing anything," Moncrief said. "Her benevolence and her heart spoke for her and the millions and millions of dollars that she and Perry contributed to so many organizations."

And so, for those that knew her well, Nancy Lee Bass' loss is a big one, but her contributions to Fort Worth will never be forgotten.

"We are just so blessed to have had that family, to still have that family," Schutts said.

"She'll be greatly missed," Riley said. "I don't even have the words to talk about her legacy."

"The beneficiary is the city and all who live here for generations," Moncrief said.

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