Nancy Bell McAllister
Nancy Bell McAllister, age 65, passed away peacefully in her home surrounded by her husband and close family on Tuesday, March 30, 2021. She was born December 29, 1955, in Berkeley, California, to The Rev. James B. Bell and The Rev. Susan W. Bell. From a young age, Nancy was the groovy big sister to Margaret and Marian and the apple of her parents' eyes. She lit up every room she entered. She had a brilliant business mind, coupled with boundless creativity that she effortlessly expressed in every corner of her life.
Nancy graduated in the Class of 1974 from C.E. Byrd High School in Shreveport, LA, and went on to graduate from Sewanee: The University of the South, Class of 1978. She fell in love with and married her college sweetheart, Michael Lee McAllister, in July of 1980.
Nancy famously turned down an offer to Harvard Business School to attend Tulane University with Mike. Mike and Nancy were the king and queen of Tulane Business School and took their star turns in New York City where Nancy became an advertising executive on Madison Avenue at a time when women -- especially those with Southern accents -- were a scarcity in the high ranks of a male-dominated business world. She spearheaded national campaigns for Proctor and Gamble and other blue-chip companies before hanging up her silk suits and pumps to pursue an entrepreneurial path. After obtaining a degree from Parsons School of Design in New York, she moved to Dallas and started her own company, McAllister Designs, which she ran for 30 years.
Nancy and Mike were blessed with two children, Nina (born 1988) and William (born 1991), who brought an abundance of love and light into their lives. Nancy planned the most extraordinary birthday parties for each of them every year, accompanied by hand-designed, mailed invitations. They spent many summers at the McAllister beach house in Port Aransas with close-knit families on both sides. A self-taught gourmet chef and unofficial Austin food critic, Nancy was known for her homemade, white tablecloth Sunday lunches and five-star dinners.
A devoted philanthropist and self-professed "church lady," Nancy gave generously of her time, talent and treasure to her beloved Episcopal church communities, Helping Hand Home for Children, The Gladney Center, Hospice Austin, and Docents of the Texas Governor's Mansion.
Mike preceded her in death in 2011. She later met the next great love of her life Will Jones IV at The Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd, and he was her cherished companion into her last moments. Their partnership was full of joy and laughter, beautiful food, and countless friends.
The world is forever changed -- more bright, more beautiful -- because she lived.
She will be missed and is survived by husband Will Jones IV, her children and their partners, Nina and Andrew Brenneman, Will McAllister and Karen Hatfield, her sisters Margaret Badgley and Marian Bell, her brother-in-law Jerry Badgley, stepdaughter Annabell McNew, stepson Will Jones V and his wife Margaret Jones, and grandchildren Clara, Dean, Wally, Dudley, Mae and Lola. Also brothers- and sisters-in-law David and Cecile McAllister, Steve and Susannah McAllister, and Elizabeth McAllister Curtis; nieces and nephews Amanda and Stephen Calhoun, Andrew McAllister, Whitaker Elledge and Jillette Johnson, Samantha Curtis, James Elledge and his fiancée Ashlee Newman, Mary Frances Cypher and her fiancé David Grove, Annie McAllister and her fiancé Patrick Dwarica, Sallie and John Christie, Grace Elledge and Matt Nunn, Adam Curtis, Alex Curtis, and Samuel and Kelly McAllister; and beautiful great nieces and nephews.
A small memorial service will be held at The Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd on Saturday, April 10, 2021, at 1:30 pm, to celebrate her life and gifts to all. In lieu of flowers, please consider a contribution to Helping Hand Home for Children or the charity of your choice
Remembrances may be shared at www.wcfish.com
Published by Austin American-Statesman from Apr. 3 to Apr. 4, 2021.