Nancy Vale, 89, who lived in New York City, Stockbridge, Massachusetts, and Pacific Palisades, passed away unexpectedly on January 29 at Berkshire Medical Center due to surgical complications.
Born in Chicago, Illinois, on June 24, 1931, Nancy was the proud daughter of Armenian immigrants, Takvor and Zabel Kafesjian, who moved to the Palisades in the early 1960s. She was preceded in death by her spouse, actor Michael Vale, in 2005, and her brother, Raffi (Reggie) Kafesjian, in 2008. She is survived by her son and longtime Palisades resident Tracy Vale, her daughter Ivy Vale, son-in-law Rick Reil and granddaughter Violet Reil. She is also survived by her two siblings, Yvonne Mehterian and Norma Nahigian, brother-in-law Hampar (Hoppy) Mehterian, and many nieces, nephews and cousins.
Nancy received her MFA from Northwestern University, where she was awarded an acting fellowship and assistant teaching position with Alvina Krause, respected coach and head of the theatre department. Nancy appeared in many lead roles in the University Theatre. She continued her studies with The Acting Company in Chicago and with Lee Strasberg in New York. Nancy appeared off-Broadway and in regional theatre, which is where she met her husband, Michael Vale. Michael became well known for his iconic roles portraying “Sam Breakstone” for Breakstone dairy products and “Fred the Baker” for Dunkin’ Donuts. Nancy and Michael were married in 1957 in New York.
She loved her yearly visits to California not just to escape the cold and snow but to spend time at the cottage she called “Wisteria Lane” close to her sisters, son and “Grandog” Daisy. Never a dull moment, she partook in many events with the “Newcomers Group” such as bridge games, theater outings and concerts. She (like the rest of the family) loved food and was known for her rice pilaf, turkey meatloaf and eggplant parmesan (among many other amazing dishes).
Known for her timeless glamour, boundless energy, larger-than-life spirit, and as a generous and caring friend, a nurturing, devoted wife, mother and grandmother, Nancy will be remembered for living her extraordinary life to the fullest. Her family hopes that her youthful spirit and energy will inspire many to love and laugh as a tribute to her memory.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Nancy Vale’s memory can be made to The Armenia Tree Project, armeniatree.org or Armenia Tree Project, 400 West Cummings Park, Suite 3900, Woburn, MA 01801.
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