Nancy Braunfield Thal died Nov. 4, 2020, at The William Breman Jewish Home due to COVID. She was born April 23, 1928, in Fairfield, Conn., to Pearl and Joseph Braunfield. Her father was a milliner, so she knew style from an early age. Nancy was the youngest child of three and the only girl. Her brothers of blessed memory were Robert, who was shot and killed in World War II and buried in Normandy, France. Her other brother Donald also served in World War II on a submarine.
Nancy met Marshall Jay Mantler as a young girl at Fairfield Beach. He was friends with her older brother Bobby. They married when she was 21 and he was 31. She had been working as a high fashion model and living in Gramercy Park, N.Y. They moved to Atlanta in 1949. She became a housewife, mother and champion golfer at The Standard Club. She not only played in many tournaments but also knew several of the golf pros like Sam Snead.
In 1951 she had her first child, Marcy Mantler Ford, and three years later she had Meg Mantler Roop, of blessed memory.
In 1959, Nancy married Aaron Thal, of blessed memory, and they were married almost 50 years. They had homes in Atlanta, Maine and Palm Beach. She loved antiquing and had an amazing eye for detail. Being artistic and extremely creative, she loved refinishing old pieces of furniture. She was in Connecticut antiquing when she found an unbelievable handcrafted lace wedding dress in an old trunk. It was tinged yellow with age, but she knew not only its value but that it could be cleaned and restored. It was over 100 years old. Having that savvy eye, she casually offered $10 for the dress; it was worth thousands more, and Marcy wore it proudly when she married Dan.
Nancy began clay sculpting in her 50s and created an exact replica of Mother Teresa, which she bequeathed to the High Museum. She was a foodie before it was popular and enjoyed replicating dishes she had tried. She also loved music, dancing, swimming and was a voracious reader. She had a strong sense of style and was known for her stunning wardrobe.
Throughout her 17-year struggle with Alzheimer’s dementia, she retained the wherewithal to laugh at herself. She had a marvelous sense of humor that she interjected into all her conversations.
Nancy is survived by daughter and son-in-law Marcy (Dan) Ford; grandchildren Morgan and Edward Ford, and Jett and Hunter (Brittany) Roop; and great-granddaughters Meg Tallulah and Paisley. She also adored and loved being aunt to brother Donald’s children Martha, Robbie and Peter.
If you would like to do something in Nancy’s honor, be kind.