In Memory of Nancy Thompson Call, Niece of Virginia Robinson

On Saturday, August 17, 2019, at Virginia Robinson Gardens, a memorial was held for Virginia Robinson’s niece, Nancy Thompson. Nancy, a native of Beverly Hills, grew up close to Virginia, up on Benedict Canyon on another 13-acre parcel of land. Most special to Nancy were her horses. On occasion, she was known to ride one of her horses to see her Aunt Gigi.

Virginia and Nancy were both descendants of Leslie Brand of Brand Library in Glendale where Nancy will rest. The same architect designed Brand Library as well as Virginia Robinson’s house. He was Virginia’s father, Nathaniel Dryden.

Nancy remained in Beverly Hills the major part of her life. She attended Marlborough School for Girls and USC. She was instrumental in initiating projects for the Junior League, the Docent Council at LACMA, Otis Art Institute, and the Philharmonic.

She married Ted Call, one of three sons of Margaret and Asa Call. They had three children — Candice, Edward, and James.

Nancy was a particularly accomplished and talented artist. She painted an oil painting of the house at Robinson Gardens which will remain there.

It is my understanding, although I could not find it in the book, The First Estate: The House and Gardens of Virginia and Harry Robinson, that when Harry and Virginia Robinson were married, Harry’s parents gave them a trip around the world. On this voyage, Mrs. Robinson acquired a plethora of unique trees, flowers, shrubs, and even a couple of monkeys, all of which she sent back to the Gardens, where for twenty-five years, Tim Lindsay has been nurturing them.

I, Carrie Ketchum, have had a particular closeness to Nancy, so close that we adopted each other as sisters. Like Virginia Robinson who played tennis into her 90th year, Nancy also loved the sport. She and I enjoyed her aunt’s tennis courts from time to time. In Mrs. Robinson’s era, ‘Luxury’ was The Thing. One day, when Nancy and I were on her courts, she sent her butler down with a silver tray of champagne. Oh my! We would have been happy with just water.

Edward Call, Nancy’s son, is choosing to become involved at Robinson Gardens, possibly as a Docent…another Legacy.

Oil painting by Nancy Thomas Call of the house at VRG

Post by Carrie Ketchum
Fellow member of the Friends of Robinson Gardens

3 Responses

  1. Shelley
    | Reply

    Beautiful painting of the home. I thought it was a photograph!!

  2. Alan Buster
    | Reply

    In the 1970s, when I taught English at Marlborough, there was a girl in my class named Nancy Call. I don’t think she could have been this Nancy Call. Maybe a daughter? Anyway, she was a charming girl. I didn’t know her lineage was so distinguished.

  3. […] very closest, dearest “sister” friend is Nancy Thompson Call who was the great-niece of Virginia Robinson. She and I used to go up in our youth and play tennis […]

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