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Nancy Jane Carlen

1941 - 2013 Obituary Condolences
Nancy Jane Carlen Obituary
Nancy Jane Carlen
September 20, 1941 ~ April 18, 2013

CARMEL ?VALLEY – Nancy Carlen, founder and producer of the Big Sur Folk Festival, died peacefully on April 18, 2013 surrounded by her family and friends. Nancy was born September 20, 1941 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where her father, Robert Carlen, was a prominent early American antiques and art dealer who discovered the works of American painter Edward Hicks and who championed the work of self-taught African American painter, Horace Pippin. Her mother was Alice Serber Carlen, also a native of Philadelphia, who later lived with Nancy in Carmel Valley.
After Nancy attended Boston University where she met folksinger, Joan Baez, Nancy drove across the United States to Big Sur in 1961. She lived in Big Sur and Carmel Valley since that time. Together with Joan Baez and Mimi and Richard Farina, Nancy founded the Big Sur Folk Festival in 1964. It was held each year from 1964 through 1970 at Esalen Institute in Big Sur and moved in its final year to the Monterey Fairgrounds in 1971. Nancy then worked for folksinger Judy Collins and later for Joan Baez, before leaving the music business in the 1980s. Nancy began a new career in law when she graduated from Monterey College of Law and joined the California bar in 1991.
Nancy is survived by her grandchildren, Nathaniel Patrick Stevens of Carmel Valley and Jayla Rose Carlen Smith of Big Sur; her God-daughter, Jennifer Jane Stevens of Big Sur; her niece, Kirsten Brown of Englewood, Colorado; her niece, Sarah Brown and great-nephew, Vassar Gordon-Brown of Boynton Florida; her brother-in-law, Christopher Brown of Delray Beach, Florida; her devoted caregiver and friend, Joyce Tropet; her dear friends, Michelle Welsh, Katherine Stoner, Susan Flannery and Ruth Stevens; and countless friends and admirers. Her sister, Susan Brown, and her parents preceded her in death.
A Celebration of Nancy's Life will be held on May 18, 2013 at 3:00 p.m. at the Carmel Valley Villa, 8400 Carmel Valley Road. Donations may be made in Nancy's honor to the Carlen Prize, which provides art supplies to students who cannot afford them, at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, 128 North Broad St., Philadelphia, PA 19102 or www.PAFA.org.
Published in The Monterey Herald on Apr. 26, 2013
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