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Nancy Poulos

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Nancy Poulos Obituary
Nancy Johnson Poulos

POULOS, Nancy Johnson

A life terrifically well spent in the arts, the community and with family. Nancy died of lung cancer on 3 November 2018.
A daughter of the Marina District who entered the San Francisco Opera Company Ballet at age 12, Nancy eventually assumed roles at the Opera as a Principal Dancer and later in life as a Choreographer and Teacher even as she enrolled in and rose through the school of the newly created San Francisco Ballet. Nancy who appeared in the American premiere of the Nutcracker went on to be a Principal Dancer and Teacher at SFB. She was always the favorite student and protégé of the Christensen brothers. In the early 1960s Nancy was invited to co-found and chair a Dept. of Dance at a small university in San Diego. She very soon moved to co-found the first professional ballet company and school in San Diego, the San Diego Ballet. Her work in San Diego resulted in a resolution by the city of San Diego in 2014 to recognize the house that Nancy lived in as a "Designated Historical Resource" in recognition of "…important contributions to the performing arts in San Diego..." Returning to San Francisco at the beginning of the 1970s, Nancy worked in theatrical presentations and artist management until joining the San Francisco Symphony in the mid-1970s as Operations Director. Aside from the management of various staff areas and the logistics of SFS, Nancy was the Symphony's point person for the construction of Davies Hall (hard hat included). Nancy moved in 1982 to become the founding director of the Archives for the Performing Arts (now Museum of Performance and Design) whose collection of astonishing West Coast materials Russell Hartley had collected over a lifetime (but didn't know how to manage). Russell had been very avuncular to Nancy as a youth and she was determined as he reached the end of his life to assemble the materials appropriately. Nancy and Alan Becker put together a board; got the War Memorial to give them space; hired staff and created an archive that is unparalleled for West Coast materials. In 1985 Nancy returned for her final act in the arts as the Director of the School of the San Francisco Ballet where she remained for ten years before retirement.
Nancy served on the Board of the Friends of the El Cerrito Library; took a great interest in the development of SFJazz and the El Cerrito Library Foundation. She loved the ocean and we took many trips up and down the Pacific Coast as well as in recent years the Atlantic Coast. A major gourmet and cook, Nancy's friends will remember her table well.
Nancy will be incredibly missed by her husband, Dr. Steven M. Poulos; her children, Noel Degnan, Erik Carter, Kirk Carter (Seung Kwan Lee). Nancy leaves her brother Alan Johnson and sister-in-law Evelyn Johnson, her brother-in-law Eric Poulos (Ellen Yaroshefsky), nieces, nephews, 8 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren.
In accordance with Nancy's will there will be neither a funeral nor a memorial service. Notes of remembrance can be sent to [email protected]
Published in San Francisco Chronicle from Nov. 6 to Nov. 8, 2018
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