News for North Texas
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

The Matriarch Of Fort Worth's Bass Family Dies At Age 95

Diorama Sky

UPDATE:  Statement from Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price:

"Our hearts are heavy today as we learned of the passing of Nancy Lee Bass. She was one of Fort Worth's true treasures.  She left an indelible mark on our community," Price said. 

The Bass family suggests donations in her memory be made to the Children's Education Program of Bass Performance Hall, or to the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra.  

Original Post:

Nancy Lee Bass, matriarch of the philanthropic Bass family of Fort Worth, has died just a week before her 96th birthday. She was the “beautiful star in an all-star family,” said a longtime friend, Fort Worth attorney Dee Kelly.

"She lived all of her almost 96 years in Fort Worth," Kelly said. "She was born and raised in Fort Worth... She really cared about people in this community. She was thoughtful and kind, and genuinely concerned about other people.”

The Bass family fortune began in the oilfields of West Texas during the Depression with wildcatter Sid Richardson, an uncle.

Fort Worth's Bass Performance Hall is named for Nancy Lee and Perry Bass, who died in 2006. And that's just the tip of their generous and profound impact on Fort Worth’s museums, music, schools, and hospitals, Kelly said. They passed that philanthropic legacy onto their four sons: Sid, Ed, Robert and Lee.

Kelly pointed out that Fort Worth has taken a double hit to the heart this week with the passing of Nancy Lee Bass and her friend, piano legend Van Cliburn.

Former KERA reporter BJ Austin spent more than 25 years in broadcast journalism, anchoring and reporting in Atlanta, New York, New Orleans and Dallas. Along the way, she covered Atlanta City Hall, the Georgia Legislature and the corruption trials of Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards.